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.