Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Shamrock is burning

Once again wildfires are burning the little bit of what's left of Shamrock, OK, basically a little ghost town in Creek County.

Today the old school burned to the ground.

There may not be more than a handful of people still living in Shamrock, but it is important to me. Much of my family history centered here.

Shamrock was a boom town during the oil boom of the 1920s and 1930s. My grandparents worked and lived on the oil lease, where they raised a family of six children, including my dad.

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The Museum in Shamrock, OK. (2001)

In my lifetime there's never been much to the town, which at one time had up to 30,000 residents overnight. There's one two-story building in town, painted bright green. It's most recently been a "museum" of sorts, but that's a whole different story.

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Postman at the Shamrock Post Office. (2001)

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The Shamrock Volunteer Fire Department. (2001)
There's small volunteer fire department; a post office about the size of my living room, and a bar.

And a cemetery.

There are two days during the year which swell the population of Shamrock considerably. One, of course, is St. Patrick's day. Rather, it's the Saturday before St. Patrick's day; anyone who wants to come can be in a parade, or watch it. There's usually some sort of community meal, maybe a few activities for kids.

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Say hello to my Dad, who is next to his brother and my grandparents at the Shamrock Cemetery.

The other boom day is Memorial Day, when the descendants of those who lived here gather at the cemetery. Now and then you'll hear one of the older survivors refer to the day as "Decoration Day." Graves are tidied up and decorated with flowers and flags; tombstones polished to remove the red dust.

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The Shamrock jail.

There are bits and pieces of other structures -- car dealerships, banks, a jail -- all long gone. There's just enough left to identify what they used to be, decades ago, when people actually strolled along the sidewalks and Saturday nights were wild.

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Remnants of a former bank (2001).

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An early-day auto dealership.

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One of the last businesses of Shamrock; it looks like one day they just walked away and never came back.

5 comments:

FrenziedFeline said...

It's looking like Shamrock had all the luck it's going to--I'm sorry.

That is so interesting to see what's left and the business where they "just walked away." I wonder if that's what they did. Stuff like that always intrigues me.

How many still live in Shamrock?

Trixie said...

The 2000 Census reported 125 people living in Shamrock. I think I met most of them in 2001 when I was there writing a couple of stories and taking these photos. There are a very few houses there -- of those, several were surrounded by rusted-out vehicles, piles of tires and thin, vicious dogs.

Some day I will tell y'all the story about the "museum" and my experience with the guy who created it. It's one of those I should write a book about.

TECH said...

This makes me so sad. I always hate to see a small town go. A little bit of us goes with it into that long night.

jeannie diane said...

I so love the history of our
lives. I wish I could hear what
walls could tell.
I have watched as they tore down
beautiful old homes. Grand pillars
on the front porch that rapped
around the front and sides.
All for the dollar. Building
codo's. I watched as they dozed
over the tree's.
Yes it is very sad to see history
go up in smoke or the dust of a
dozer..

Mark said...

It is so sad when a town dies. Especially ones with so much historical significance. One of my favorite things to do is to learn about the history of old towns that were once great but no more. I hope they can save the remaining buildings