Photography: Luther and Wellston

In terms of photography, Luther’s claim to fame is the very large percentage of old buildings. The town sits on the southern ridge above the Deep Fork River and was built around a feed mill up against the railroad tracks. Just beyond the tracks is Route 66. So first up is this old storage shed out behind some historical structures on the main drag.

Where one of those buildings has disappeared, the city made it into a tiny historical park and erected a veterans’ memorial. For a feeble, tiny town it’s not too bad as a shrine to worship of the state.

This old abandoned house sits next to a lot that has recently seen some bulldozer action, but nothing else has been done with it. Given the lack of investment in keeping up these old structures, the whole street might see bulldozers in the next few years. I’m sure it was much nicer in the past.

It’s hard to tell if this one is still occupied, but it’s not collapsing yet. To be honest, there are a lot of old houses just barely standing with people living in them. The economy around this town has been depressed for quite some years. They do have nice new school buildings, but then lots of scandals have dogged their school system. Welcome to rural Oklahoma.

This one had cars parked along the other side, and a small herd of cats ranging across the back yard. It was obviously occupied and has seen a little work on the front side. I gather the city government isn’t too tough on mowing yards. I was limited by the sun being still yet rather low on the eastern horizon.

It was just a short drive to Wellston. I took the old Business Route 66 into town. I wanted to stop and get a nice shot of a lovely valley, but there was no safe place to stop or even pull off the road. Instead, I settled for this shot of a Route 66 themed business. Wellston’s old city center never had much, and there’s even less business these days. Most of Wellston’s business is out near the toll road entrance.

Back toward Luther, there’s a spot near the Deep Fork crossing where the original road bed once crossed a little north of the current bridge. The old concrete abutment on one side still stands complete. Just beyond and not visible is a spot where the river dug out a wide round pool with a slight drop over the bed rock. The map shows another like it about a half-mile downstream. They would have been popular spots for swimming in the old days.

The right half of this building is from the Route 66 heyday, and where I’m standing was once part of the original roadbed that ran up to that bridge. Now the spot is part of a gas station parking lot, with a building added on to the left that would have been right close to the pavement edge of the old Route 66. A chunk of that historic pavement was removed to accommodate the underground fuel tanks. I’m sure they never gave it much thought at the time, and were just glad the new highway took a flatter pass through the valley. Now all the leftovers from the original roadbed are painted with garish murals commemorating Route 66.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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2 Responses to Photography: Luther and Wellston

  1. Iain says:

    Add the Brushy Mtns, some abandoned factories and you would have Caldwell Co NC. The partially bulldozed house looks like what we call a mill house or a 4 square. Hosiery mills, now gone, built them to rent to workers. The more savvy farmers close to the factories built them also. Kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and one bathroom and hard wood floor plus fuel oil furnace. Most are gone now replaced by apartments, middle income housing and trailer park “Barrios” . My wife and I lived in one before we moved to the boonies to escape the growing hoard of Hispanics. The case goods furniture manufacturers brought them in during the nineties to provide a low paying (high wages for a Mexican) and docile workforce. It backfired when the factories became 3/4ths Mexican they walked out over issues like being able to go pee when necessary, the owners had to give in and went out of business anyway. Upholstered furniture still does well because until they develop androids, skilled human labor is required. It takes at least five years to acquire enough experience to be able to work anywhere. I’m not too keen on returning but, it’s where the $ are at and I’ll soon have two kids to put through college.

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  2. forrealone says:

    Yep, i was going to mention how familiar these pictures looked to many small towns in the eastern part of our county. If i ever had the kind of money it would take, i would buy these towns up, revitalize them for the current residents and make them retreats for the likes of folks such as I. Wishful thinking, silly dreams and most assuredly not based in reality am I!

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