Thursday, April 05, 2007

Another Old Memory

This rambling post probably won't be of much interest to anyone except me and my sisters. It actually ties into two other things I have written about here. I have mentioned traffic circles in earlier posts, and yesterday talked about logos. While surfing around the Net, I came across this old logo:

People in most of the country, and younger folk, won't know what it is. Here in Colorado, there is a Deep Rock Water Company, but that is not related to this one. This is a logo used in the latter days of Deep Rock Petroleum (eventually bought out by Kerr-McGee), which operated gasoline stations. I found this on an extremely interesting web site, It has photos and scans of all the old stations I remember. You'll find Derby, Clark, DX, Skelly, Apco, Champlin, and many, many more there.

In any case, this one brought back a vivid memory. As a child living in Houston in the late 1950s and early 1960s, we made the occasional trip to Oklahoma City to visit my grandparents. One milestone along the way that always stuck in my mind was a Deep Rock station north of downtown Dallas. Deep Rock didn't market in Houston to the best of my knowledge, and I really don't recall seeing them anywhere else but the station in "Big D", but it is indelibly burned in my memory. The station was located on a traffic circle, and to the best of my recollection, it was at the intersection where Harry Hines Boulevard (Old US 77), Northwest Highway, and Storey Lane meet. I seem to recall a "Circle Motel" was also located on the circle. That traffic circle has since been replaced by a more modern interchange. When we got gas at the Deep Rock, I knew we were over halfway to Oklahoma City.

The current interchange where the old traffic circle was located.
Credit: Google Maps

Same area on a 1960 street map. Notice 114 as a 2-lane road, the
partially completed Stemmons Freeway, and the Humble logo (now Exxon-Mobil).

In those pre-Interstate Highway days, the Stemmons Freeway (I-35E) which today parallels Harry Hines didn't exist. Neither did any of the other freeways. The route was all two-lane US Highways . . . US 75 from Houston to Dallas, US 77 from Dallas to Oklahoma City. Today, the route is the same, but it is I-45 from Houston to Dallas, and I-35E from Dallas to Denton, then I-35 from Denton to Oklahoma City.

It is also interesting thinking back to those trips, how huge the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis, Oklahoma seemed. The winding, hairpin road of US 77 seemed very high and scary. Today, I-35 makes the Arbuckles seem like a bump in the road. Another favorite stop along the way was the Little Brownie cookie factory in Marietta, Oklahoma, just north of the Texas-Oklahoma border at the Red River.

On one particular trip, my oldest sister (a little less than 3 years younger than me) and I got some candy cigarettes at a store along the way. We were sitting in the back seat and found that after dark when we held them up, lights from cars behind us made the orange-colored tips of the candy look like they were glowing from fire like a lit cigarette. Of course now, things like candy cigarettes and bubble gum cigars are not considered good things for kids. In those days, it was different. Those candy cigarettes came in packs made to look like real cigarette brands, but slightly modified...brands like Winsom instead of Winston, or L&N instead of L&M. Kids would hold them between their fingers and pretend to smoke them, but really ate them slow so that they seemed to be burning down shorter. They are still made and can be ordered on the Internet, but you don't often see them in stores. They also had bubble gum cigarettes that were wrapped in white paper. Curiously enough, neither I nor any of my siblings smoke. So much for the insidious tobacco industry using them to hook us on smoking!

Those trips were always exciting, and we made them many times in our 1950 Ford and later our 1957 Chevy Bel-Air. I would really like to have either of those cars today!

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