The Ralph Stephens Story
The history of Tampa's Goody Goody drive-in restaurant starts
nearly a decade before Ralph Stephens established the first one in
Tampa in 1925.
Little did Ralph
and Amanda Stephens know that when they opened the first Goody
Goody sandwich shop in Tampa in 1925, they were
establishing an iconic Tampa restaurant that would last 80
years, hibernate for 11 years yet remain in the hearts and
memories of Tampans near and far, then reawaken in Tampa's Hyde
Park Village in grand style in 2016, thanks to Richard Gonzmart
and the Columbia Restaurant Group.
Family in Eaton, Ohio
Stephens was born on Oct. 17, 1892 in Eaton, Ohio, the youngest
of three children born to Eaton grocer Henry King Stephens and
Sarah J. Fraley.
Marriage of Ralph's parents, Henry and Sarah, married in
May Township, Taylorville, Christian
Co, IL on Dec. 10, 1884.
Henry was 20, Sarah was 18.
Henry was a farmer, living in May township, age 21 on his next
birthday, born in Christian Co. His parents were Nicolas
Stephens and Sarah Coulters.
Sarah J. Fraley age 19 at her next birthday, born in Christian
Co, her parents were John S Fraley & Sarah J. Wiley.
1900 U.S. Census
of Ohio, Preble County, Eaton town
Ralph Stephens at age seven
& Sarah's children were Grover H., Nelle, and Ralph. In
1943 Henry provided certification of info for a replacement or
delayed birth certificate for his daughter Nelle. At right is
the source for Henry's middle name--KING. Henry was a
grocer in 1900.
Nelle married William D. Muir on
Jun. 8, 1914 in Chicago.
in Eaton, Ohio, After the 1900 Census
Henry Stephens took the family
camping for a week on Aug. 1, 1903
right: Henry was co-owner of the well known
grocery store on Barron Street, "Blue Front "
Grocery. In Jan. 1904, his partner sold his
interest to Ed Lincoln, one of Preble County's
infirmary directors. Henry remained co-owner.
At left: Eight months later, Sarah Stephens sold their home
in Eaton. By this time she probably knew what
happened to Henry. E. D. Lincoln, Henry's
recent partner at Blue Front grocery, bought the
Stephens house on E. High St. from Mrs. Stephens.
1904, Henry was chosen to be a director of a local
cemetery, the time having expired for the current
one. (Which is somewhat of an ambiguous
way to put it.)
Henry Stephens's Mysterious Departure From Eaton
3rd week of Jan. 1907, Henry Stephens suddenly ran
off, without explanation, abandoning his grocery
store on N. Barron Street, as well as his home and
family. But not before withdrawing all he had
in the bank: $480. The Stephenses were a
well-known couple in Eaton and had many friends;
nobody could imagine why Henry would have done this.
cause for Henry's departure will be revealed in the
next section when his son Ralph gets a job at the
Western Hotel in Oklahoma City.]
not known at this time where Sarah Stephens went.
Ralph would have been about 14, his sister Nellie
would have been around 16 or 17, and Grover would
have been around 20 to 21.
far, a record of her death has not been located.
She may have moved back to her hometown of May in
Christian Co., Illinois.
Ralph Stephens in Kansas City, Mo.
the time Ralph Stephens was 19, he had gone out
on his own to Kansas City, MO where in 1910 he
had a job as a presser in a fabric dye house.
on the 1910 Census,
Jackson Co., Kansas City, MO.
Ralph rented a room at 1208 Paseo in Kansas City.
This building is still in
existence today, and is known as one of the
historic "Colonnade" apartment buildings of early 20th Century
Kansas City, Mo.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
A crop of a circa 1920s
Postcard of Troost Ave looking north towards 31st St.,
contributed by Mrs. Sam (Mildred) Ray to the Missouri Valley Special
Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri.
The west side of the street shows
the new 6-story Joseph C. Wirthman building housing Wirthman's
Drugstore on the corner and the offices of many physicians and
dentists; the Isis Theater, (built in 1918); the Isis Cafeteria,
in the basement at 3104; Louise W. Winter Millinery Shop; Mary
Lane Dry Goods; Humfeld-Orear Floral Company; Dinty Moore's
Restaurant; Baldwin Piano Store; and the Monkey Steam Dye
Times - Feb. 12, 1909
This is just a
small sampling of help wanted ads for pressers in the last half
of 1909 in the KANSAS CITY (Mo.) TIMES. Some of them
specifically wanted women pressers and "strong women."
Ralph could have been working at any of these places, or the one
1208 Paseo in Kansas City
This building is known as one of the
historic "Colonnade" apartment buildings of early 20th Century
Kansas City, Mo.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
See it on Google Street View
Ralph Stephens Marries Amanda Ogle
It was in Kansas
Ralph married Hannibal, MO native Amanda Ellen Ogle. She
was one of six children of Missouri native carpenter Jesse L.
Ogle and his wife, Catherine.
Ralph and Amanda
married in Kansas city on Oct. 19, 1912.
Amanda in Chicago - Birth of Robert E. Stephens
A short time
later, they went to Park Ridge in Cook Co, IL where their
first son, Robert Emery Stephens, was born on Dec. 4, 1915.
Park Ridge is now a suburb of Chicago. Maybe
Ralph's mother, had moved there after selling their
house in Eaton, Ohio. Ralph's parents and sister
were all born in Illinois.
Photo courtesy of
RetroMetro Oklahoma City
The Ogle Family in
Hannibal, Mo. - 1910
1910 U.S. Census of
The Jesse and Catherine (O'Keefe) Ogle family at 611 N.
Jesse was 53 and working
as a carpenter at a saw mill. Nineteen year old
Amanda Ogle worked as a bookkeeper at a daily newspaper.
All members of the Ogle family were born in Missouri.
Jesse's parents were from Kentucky, Catherine (O'Keefe)
Ogle's parents were German Irish and German English.
Jesse and Catherine
married on May 27, 1889 in Spalding, Ralls Co. Missouri.
In 1910 they had been married 21 years and all six of
their children were living in their home.
Ralph Stephens in the Hotel Business at the Western
Hotel, Oklahoma City
By 1917, Ralph,
Amanda, and their baby son Robert moved from Park
Ridge, near Chicago, to Oklahoma City where they
lived at 1504 W. First street. Ralph and Amanda's
second son, Vincent Ralph Stephens, was born in
Oklahoma City on Jan. 24, 1917.
Ralph's WW1 draft registration on June 5, 1917 shows
he was in the hotel business at 810 W. Main St.
He says he was self-employed and claimed exemption
with a wife and children.
Ralph's father, Henry
Stephens, had moved to Oklahoma in 1907 after his hasty
departure from Eaton, OH, remarried in 1908 and
opened the Western Hotel in Oklahoma City at 810
Main St. in 1914.
Ralph took a job there
(This may have been the reason for their move to Ok.
1920, Ralph was the Assistant Manager at the
Western, and had moved to a new home at 23 W. 10th.
Now they even had a phone.
Stephens family on the 1920 Census, Oklahoma City
family was enumerated at 23 W. 10th.--the same address given in
their 1920 city directory listing.
was listed as being a hotel proprietor, which usually
means the owner, and it's possible that he was at
least part owner. The "R" to the left
of Ralph's age means they rented their home.
Their sons, Robert and Vincent were 4 and 2
months old, respectively. Everyone in the
family was born in different a different state.
U.S. Census, Oklahoma City
Ralph, Amanda, Robert and Vince (Ralph)
Locations of the
Stephens Home While He Worked at the Western Hotel
Aerial View of Downtown Oklahoma City
and the Former Location of the Western Hotel Today
Henry Stephens, Founder of the Western Hotel on Main
St., Oklahoma City
(Not an actual sign.)
At Left: A view of Broadway Ave
looking north in 1907.
Postcard photo from eBay seller.
April 5, 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt traveled
through Indian Territory on his way to a Rough
Riders reunion in San Antonio, Texas, making short
speeches at several towns along the railroad between
Vinita and Durant. After attending the
reunion, Roosevelt returned to Oklahoma Territory,
arriving in Frederick on aboard a private five-car
train on Saturday, April 8, 1905.
giving a speech to the thousands gathered to greet
him, he noticed Comanche Chief Quanah Parker and
called him to the speaker's stand to shake his hand.
Immediately after the speech, the hunting party left
for the Big Pasture, an area of 480,000 acres of
open range in present Tillman, Comanche, and Cotton
counties. When he departed on April 13, 1905,
the President promised to make Oklahoma a state.
That is a promise that he kept more than two years
later on November 16, 1907, when Oklahoma Territory
and Indian Territory were merged into the State of
Oklahoma, becoming the 46th state of the Union.
Oklahoma was the only state admitted to the Union
during Roosevelt’s presidency.
and photo courtesy of
Tillman County Chronicles
Henry Stephens's Second Marriage
two years after his mysterious departure
from Eaton, Henry turned up in Oklahoma.
settled in Frederick, Tillman Co, Oklahoma and
there, on Dec. 17, 1908, he married Rena Hinshaw of Tuttle, Grady Co, Oklahoma.
Henry and Rena were both 43, according to their
application for marriage, license and certificate.
Bird's-eye view of
street and commercial buildings at Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma during the 1910 Glidden Tour. Sign for
Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. in foreground. Spooner
& Wells, Inc., photographers, Detroit, Mich.
Detroit public library digital collections
of Main Street in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma during the
1910 Glidden Tour. Mellon's department store and the
Kerr Dry Goods Co. in background
Detroit public library digital collections
View of A street in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma during the
1910 Glidden Tour
Detroit public library digital collections
Henry and Rena Hinshaw Stephens on the 1910 Census,
The record shows that this was a second marriage for both
of them, and they had been married for a year.
Rena was the mother of two children, both living
at the time. One was her son
Virgil Hinshaw from her previous marriage;
Virgil was 15, and her and Henry's
daughter Agatha was 2 months old. Rena was
born in Texas, her parents from Missouri, her
son born in Missouri.
1910 Census, Henry and Rena Stephens were living at
their boarding house at 129 W. 2nd St. in Oklahoma City.
proprietor at a boarding house. There
were 22 roomers listed in their
dwelling, so they likely were living at their
Henry & Rena Stephens Start the Western
1914, Henry and Rena Stephens, along
with William E. Kirby, incorporated as
the Western Hotel company in Oklahoma
City with capital stock of $3,000. Their
hotel was located at 810 Main St.
Motor Company Causes a Stir in Oklahoma
In July of 1915, the Ford
Motor Co. planned to build an assembly
plant in Oklahoma City and some
confusion led to the mistaken belief
that Ford had purchased the Western
Hotel on Main St. in order to build
their plant there. To clear up the
matter, an article in the July 9, 1915
DAILY OKLAHOMAN, titled WESTERN HOTEL NOT IN
FORD'S PURCHASE stated:
descriptions of the property
acquired by the Ford Motor company
for its proposed assembling plant in
Oklahoma City, the Western Hotel on
Main street was mentioned when, in reality,
it was not one
of the places included in the
transfer. It is
located one block east of the Ford
site. There was some confusion
concerning the identification by
name of the Ford property and the
Western hotel was erroneously linked
with the deed. That hostelry will continue to
operate as usual, its management
having no intention of retiring from
a satisfactory and profitable
business. The Junction Hotel, one
block west, however, has been taken
over as part of the Ford purchase
and, of course, when building
operations commence will have to be
Patrons of the
Western hotel were somewhat alarmed
over reports that their abiding
place was going out of business
when, as a matter of fact, such is
not the case.
The Oklahoma City Ford
Motor Company Assembly Plant is a
four-story brick structure in downtown
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Opened in 1916
by the Ford Motor Company as a Model
T manufacturing facility, it was one of
24 such plants built by Ford between
1910 and 1915.
Photo courtesy of OKLAHOMAN gallery
early day Oklahoma City collection.
photo was described as
streets east from 600 block on Main
However, this couldn't be before
1924 because that's when the 2-story
Ford assembly plant seen at right which
was ADDED on the west end of the
this couldn't be Main Street because the
west end of the building is seen on the right, so the
photo was taken looking NORTH.
way to take a photo showing only the
2-story Ford plant on the right looking
straight down the middle of a street
would have been 1924 or later and shoot
from the south looking north before the
street became Classen Bl. when it must
have been a straight street (Olie St..)
The Oklahoma City Ford
Motor Company Assembly Plant (Oklahoma
City Plant) is locally significant under
Criterion C for the area of
The period of significance is 1916 and
1924, the construction completion dates
for the four-story building and the
two-story addition, respectively.
Info from the National
Park Service - National Register of
THE LARGER PLANT BUILT FIRST
Completed in 1916, the
building is an excellent example of a
manufacturing facility designed
specifically for the assembly of
automobiles through a process pioneered
by the Ford Motor Company (Ford).
In an unprecedented expansion, Ford
constructed twenty-four regional
assembly plants, including the Oklahoma
City Plant, between 1910 and 1915.
Smaller, Two-Story Building Added in
Ford's FRED JONES Assembly Plant,
of north face looking southeast from
Main St., FRED JONES ASSEMBLY PLANT,
Ford Motors, Oklahoma City.
Photos courtesy of the Oklahoma
Historical Society Wesbsite
1939 view of north face
looking southeast on Main St.
the Western Hotel appears to have begun in March
of 1917 with the first ad located shown below.
Since Ralph Stephens was working there that year,
it may have even been Ralph's idea to advertise.
Ads for the Western Hotel were basic and
straightforward, often timed with various events
that were taking place in Oklahoma City,
such as conventions or the State Fair
Now and then they ran a promotion such as this
one seen at right.
Cut the High Cost of
This ad appeared
FIFTEEN times in the month of Dec. 1918.
It was the only ad run
that month except for the one
on Dec. 24, 1918 shown below it.
This article shows that Henry Stephens was the hotel's
owner. It is a listing of places citizens could
register to vote. The list was grouped by
district, each district listing the different
locations by voting precinct number. The article has
been edited to show the relevant Precinct, 12, where
Henry Stephens's Western Hotel is listed.
Honeymoon is Over for Henry and Rena Stephens
appears that Henry's
marriage to Rena ended by January 1919,
Rena had a long career in marriages
after Henry Stephens. Her maiden name was
Glover, concluded from the surnames of
her surviving brothers.
Glover Hinshaw Stephens Smith Burdge
marriage information is from
Finda-A-Grave posted by Janet
LaMotte, MHR. It hasn't been
everything Ms. LaMotte has shared
concerning Henry appears accurate
(except possibly Henry's middle
Oklahoman, Saturday, Feb 24, 1945:
Services for Mrs Rena Cunningham, 77, of
704 NW 3, who died at the LaMont nursing
home Thursday, will be 2 pm Monday at
Garrison Funeral Home.
Collin County, TX, Mrs Cunningham came
to Oklahoma in 1905. She settled in
Oklahoma City and lived here for 39
years. She was a member of the Nazarene
Church, American Legion Auxiliary Post
35, Rebekah Lodge, and the WCTU.
survived by two sons, W. E. Hinshaw,
1010 NW 22; and V. J. Hinshaw, 628 NW 6;
two brothers, J. H. Glover, Tuttle; and
John Glover, Bentonville, AR; and four
grandsons, all of whom are overseas.
Burial will be in Rose Hill.
#1: William Clark Hinshaw 1855-1900
Ethel M. Hinshaw 1887-
William Elmer Hinshaw 1889-1971 Tuttle, OK
Joel F. Hinshaw 1892-
Virgil J. Hinshaw 1895-1968 Tuttle, OK
Newton M. Hinshaw 1895-
#2: Henry Stephens 1865-1956
Child: Agatha Stephens 1910-1929
#3: James T. Smith 1855-
#4: Thomas W. Burdge 1848-1931 marr.
Jun. 13, 1927, Ok. City
#5: William H. Montgomery 1866-1952
Child: Mary Josephine Montgomery 1904-1972
Husband #6: Samuel T. Cunningham 1863-1942
Henry Stephens Marries a Third Time -
23, 1919, Henry married a third time,
this time to Lena Muller of Oklahoma
City. Henry was 52, Lena was 40.
Typically, "Lena" would be a shortened
version of "Magdalena."
Henry and Lena (Muller) Stephens were on the
1920 Census, Oklahoma City, 810 W.
Main St, occupation: Hotel Proprietor:
Lena, was the hotel housekeeper in 1920.
She was born in Missouri, her parents
were from Germany.
this Feb. 13, 1921 ad, Henry Stephens of
the Western Hotel, among others, is listed as having
bought orange groves in Florida.
Clermont, Florida is the home of the Citrus Tower,
which USED TO overlook orange groves as far as
the eye can see.
Condos and apartments have replaced the groves.
the only hotel ad that names
the owner of the Western Hotel.
Oklahoman lists 56 hotels, their
addresses and phone numbers, in their
Sep. 27, 1925 issue.
Tragedy in the Stephens Family -
Suicide of Agatha Stephens
1929 - Miss Agatha Stephens, 19,
1234 N. Western, died Saturday at Tulsa.
Survivors, her parents, four brothers,
W. E. and Virgil
Ralph Stephens, Tampa, Fla.,
and Grover Stephens, Dayton, Ohio,
and one sister, Mrs. Nellie
Kansas City, Mo. Services
will be conducted from the Hahn funeral
home Monday at 2 p.m. by Rev. J. Frank
Montgomery. (THE OKLAHOMAN)
TampaPix note: Agatha
Stephens was the daughter of Rena
Glover Hinshaw Stephens and Henry
Stephens. She was a half-sister of
William Elmer Hinshaw, James Virgil
was a half-sister of Ralph Stephens,
Grover Stephens and Nellie Stephens
by Barbara Linnane Ryan Guest at
Henry & Lena Stephens on the 1930
Census, Oklahoma City
Lena (Muller) Stephens were living at
their Western Hotel at 810 W. Main
St., where Henry was the Hotel Proprietor.
His wife is Lena, b. in Missouri, her parents from
3rd wife, Lena Stephens, died a few
months after their 1930 Census was taken.
The article states she owned and operated the hotel for
the past 11 years, which dates it back to 1919,
the year she married Henry. Notice
her age is the same as given on her 1930
The hotel continued on after the deaths of
Henry's daughter and wife Lena, but there's no
indication as to whether or not Henry still
owned it until 1945.
article below is evidence that Henry
Stephens was no longer the owner in
March of 1945, as the sellers here
are Barney & Anna C. Mohr.
hotel was apparently situated on the
2nd floor with a cafe on the first
that after the Stevensons bought the hotel
from the Mohrs, they
continued the use of the
building as the Western Hotel at least until
Feb. 20, 1948.
research finds no immediate family connection of
Guy M. Murrah with
Judge Alfred P. Murrah for whom the Murrah
Federal Building in OK City was named.
and son Robert were in L.A. because they had opened a Dolores
of Henry Stephens in Los Angeles
The Daily Oklahoman,
Sunday, Nov 11, 1956:
Graveside services for Henry Stephens,
Oklahoma City resident 30 years, will be
Monday, 2:30 pm in Rose Hill Cemetery.
Stephens, 91, died this week in Los
Angeles. He had been living in a rest
home there two years. He is survived by
two sons, Ralph A. Stephens., Los
Angeles, and Grover Stephens,
Dayton, OH; a granddaughter, Mrs.
[Dolores] J Phillip Boyle Jr, of 1113
Belford; three grandsons, Vincent R., 5
NW 16th and Robert Stephens, Los
Angeles; and Jerry Muir, living in
Louisiana. Hahn-Cook Funeral Home is in
charge of arrangements.
(Buried next to Lena Stephens
Sarah J. Fraley 1866- (Marr. 10 Dec
1884, Christian Co, IL) died aft 1900
Grover H. Stephens 1885-1968
Nellie Stephens Muir 1889-1954
bur. Rose Hill Burial Park Ok. City
Ralph Stephens 1892-1983 bur.
Rose Hill Burial Park, Ok. City.
Rena Glover Hinshaw 1867-1945, bur.
Rose Hill Burial Park, Ok. City
Agatha Stephens 1910-1929 bur.
Rose Hill Burial Park, Ok. City
Wife #3 Lena Muller
c.1874 - 1930 bur. Rose Hill Burial
Park, Ok. City. N/C
Contributed by Janet LaMotte, MHR at
site of the Western Hotel at 810-812 Main
St. is the home of Dagwell Dixie
Company, an automotive repair shop and
It might even be the same
building, it appears to be two stories
Western Hotel in Oklahoma City
another Western Hotel before Henry's,
but at a different location. The first
Western Hotel in Oklahoma
City was one found at 216 California
Avenue in the early 1900s. A short, one paragraph
article in the DAILY OKLAHOMAN on Aug
27, 1902 stated:
Western Hotel] ...is quickly becoming one of
the most popular $1.00 a day houses
in the city. The new managers have
gotten things in good runing [sic]
order and are making it quite
pleasant for their guests, which is
attested by the house being full all
the time. If you want a
pleasant room and good board stop at
the Western Hotel, 216 California.
The new managers it mentions were
probably J. H. Emitt and Jud Cogswell,
mentioned in this next article:
20, 1903, the DAILY OKLAHOMAN reported
Policeman J. H. Emitt last evening
assaulted Jud Cogswell at the
Planters Hotel, on the corner of
Robinson St. and Reno Ave. The
encounter resulted over the
unpleasant business relations
between the men as partners in
conducting the Western Hotel on
day, Jan. 21, 1903, this notice appeared in the DAILY
OKLAHOMAN--Cogswell was out:
Notice: All bills due to the Western
Hotel will be paid to J. Emitt only,
as for Cogswell is no longer
connected with the business.
apparently then closed at some point for
around three weeks until a one-sentence
notice was published in the Feb. 11,
1903 DAILY OKLAHOMAN stating:
The Western Hotel has been reopened
to the public by J. M. Emett and is
ready to accommodate the public.
On May 3,
1904, an ad in the DAILY OKLAHOMAN
indicated a change of ownership had
WESTERN HOTEL, 216 W. California
announced newly furnished rooms,
excellent board, $1.25 per day.
Mrs. Mauldin, Proprietor, G. A.
19, 1904 article signaled the end for
the WESTERN HOTEL, but in name only, as
it continued to operate as the Pearson
The photo below appeared
in the April 2, 1934 OKLAHOMA NEWS in a
full page feature consisting of several
photos (which were old even in 1934)
submitted to the paper by various
members of pioneer families in the area.
the old Western Hotel on the
corner of California Avenue
and Broadway. This
picture of employees and
guests was taken about 1900.
Mrs. Lottie Bassett, the
owner, is shown in the front
foreground. (Submitted by
Mrs. Susie Dills, Edmond
NOTE: ABOUT LOTTIE
From Feb. 21,
1903 to Dec. 23, 1903, Lottie and J. E. Bassett are
in involved in a divorce at
which time in Feb., Mr.
Bassett placed public notice
that he was not responsible
for debts incurred by Lottie
Bassett. In late March
Lottie filed suit against J.
E. Bassett for maintenance
and alimony. In early
Dec. 1903 a Notice of Sale
was published in re Lottie
Bassett, Plaintiff, vs. J.
E. Bassett, Defendant.
The writ of execution
provided for $30 per month
alimony, for 6 months, as
well as $25 in attorney
fees, and $16.70 for costs
and interest of $2.90, and
$5 in probable costs.
J. E. Bassett's undivided
property was levied upon,
and it consisted of the
Bassett & Co. Livery and the
Reno Wagon Yard Wood and
Feed. The hotel wasn't
listed as one of his assets.
mention was made of the
Western Hotel, it was
probably after the divorce
that she acquired it. In 1900,
the block at Broadway and
Main was known as "Bassett
period from around 1908 to 1913, a hotel
named the "GREAT WESTERN HOTEL" on Nobel
St. is mentioned now and then in
articles relating to persons who have
died or have various other misfortunes
who lived at the hotel mention it but
leave off "GREAT." There were a
few basic ads as well, such as:
GREAT WESTERN HOTEL--Room and board,
$5 per week; steam heat. 318
also a GREAT WESTERN HOTEL SUPPLY
company in the area that advertised
profusely in the early 1910s.
Ralph Stephens Enters the Restaurant Business With the Car Barn
The Oklahoma City car barn yard, 1910s
Photo courtesy of Doug Dawgz Blog: Trolleys Part 2
Ralph opens the Car Barn Cafe / Restaurant
early 1921 Ralph Stephens had two sons and a wife to
support so he decided to try to
make it in the restaurant business. He opened his own
place at 418 Olie and called it the "Car Barn" because it was
next to the car barn where streetcars were
maintained and stored.
On Mar. 19, 1921,
the first ad for the Car Barn Restaurant at 416 N. Olie Avenue ran in the Oklahoma News.
This same Car Barn Restaurant ad ran 20 times in
1921; from March 19 to Sep. 3, 1921 (about 5 ½
months, all in the Oklahoma News.)
The 1921 city directory showed Ralph Stevens was the
proprietor of the Car Barn Cafe. The Stephens
residence "r" was at 1519 W. 2nd. St.
Maple 4150 is the phone number.
After Sep. 3, 1921, there were no more mentions of the Car Barn
Restaurant (or Cafe) found in the newspapers Based on lack of later ads, it appears that
Stephens closed it at that time. But maybe
By this time in 1921, Amanda was expecting their third
child in just three months, and with increasing debt, it
could be that Ralph stopped the Car Barn advertising
and sold the place to someone who continued
operating the it at least until March 1922 but
didn't advertise. (See
why this might be in section to follow.)
Ralph and Amanda's
daughter, Dolores, was born in Oklahoma City on Dec. 14, 1921.
Stephens would later name what is described as his "first
successful restaurant" after her.
Locations of the Western Hotel and the
Stephens residences 1917-1920 (purple) along
with location of the Car Barn restaurant and
the Stephens residence in 1921.
Present day aerial view of the Car
Place your cursor on the 3D view below to see the early 1900s
plans for the Oklahoma street car barns facility overlaid.
construction may have differed somewhat from these plans because
Ralph's cafe sat right on the grounds proposed for
the tracks north of the building that was to
house the dispatcher, motormen and conductors.
1. Inspection pit
4. Service Barn
7. Paint shop
motormen & Conductor's room
5. Shops, master mec.
& office, armature room
8. Store room
3. Storage shed
6. Carpenter shop
In the 1910s photo taken of the men standing on
the tracks you can see in the background
the building for the dispatcher, motormen and
conductor (indicated in red outline.) The
vantage point could be the roof of the service
barn (#4) on the 3D map view on the right, and
the men seem to be standing where the blue oval
is indicated. If so, the building with the
pyramid roof (green) would have been located
around or at the corner of 4th and Olie.
See Doug (Loudenback) Dawgz Blog for detailed history of the OK
City street car system
Trolleys Part 2
Kidnapping at the Car Barn
Sept. 1923 an article appeared in the OKC News consisting of an interview
with Ellis R. Merryman who said he was eating at the Car Barn Restaurant
on March 7, 1922 when he was kidnapped at gunpoint by three (or
was it two, Ellis?) Klansmen
There can be no mistake that the Car Barn was still open.
The question is, did Ralph Stephens still own it or had he moved
on to his next venture?
incident was first reported as a "prank" by "jokers" in the
Mar. 14, 1922 DAILY OKLAHOMAN. Ellis R. Merryman was a
truck driver and a lunch hour waiter at the Car Barn restaurant.
(The date of the article, Mar. 14, 1922 was a Tuesday. It states
happened "Monday night" which would have been Mar. 13 or
previous Monday Mar. 6, 1922. Merryman says it was THREE
article also appeared on Sep. 29, 1923 in the OKC paper "The
Record" with a transcript from a military court testimony.*
Here, Merryman says it happened on Mar. 7, which was a Tuesday.
Not a Monday as the article stated. Also, his testimony
was now two unmasked men.
*No explanation has been found as
to why this was held in a Military Court.
In the Dec. 1923 anti-Klan weekly newspaper "Jack Walton's
Paper," kidnapping victim E. R. Merryman's testimony at a
circuit court trial was
printed in an
article titled "Klansmen free on fake alibi." Merryman,
testified how he was cuffed at gunpoint and taken to a place
where he was flogged. He refers to the restaurant as the
Car Barn Cafe. Only another waiter who was witness testified
and is identified
by name, but nothing is printed as to who the owner or manager
was at the time.
Dec. 23, 1923
issue of the anti-Klan paper "Jack Walton's Paper"
| The headline does not
pertain to this incident.
None of the ads
or articles ever mention who owns the place.
About two weeks after the kidnapping, the property
was up for sale:
Stephens sold the Car Barn in early Sep.
1921 when we see the ads stopped, and the new
owner continued it at least until Mar.
Stephens owned the Car Barn at least up until the
time of the March 1922 kidnapping of one of its
lunch hour waiters.
The outline below
appears to fit the description of the property in
the for sale ad above.
Ralph's attempt at his first
restaurant was deemed a failure in an interview with
him which appeared in the Daily Oklahoman on Jan.
debt was beginning to grow.
Could the kidnapping incident have been "the last
straw" for Ralph Stephens and the Car Barn?
Was Ralph Stephens
First Considering Buying the Puritan Cafe?
Ralph's wife Amanda had a brother named Jesse D.
Ogle and her father was Jesse L. Ogle. On Oct. 10, 1920, this
article appeared in the Oklahoma News. In the
same year, Ralph was still the manager at the
Jesse Ogle was ordered to pay $20 for breaking a
plate glass window at the Puritan Cafe by throwing a
drinking glass through it. The Ogles lived in
Hannibal where Jesse L. Ogle was a carpenter. If
this was Ralph's father-in--law, why was he in OK
Pure speculation: If Ralph was having a
cup of coffee or lunch there with him,
this could be an indication
that in 1920 Ralph was considering buying the
Puritan. There could have been
dozens of reasons for Amanda's father to be there.
Maybe Ralph asked Jesse to check out the place and
give his opinion because Jesse was going to loan him
maybe Jesse didn't think very highly of it (you'll
see why later.) Maybe Ralph
and Jesse were just having lunch there and Jesse had
an issue with the food, like
a fly in his soup--doing the backstroke! (No.) Or maybe this was
Amanda's brother. Maybe it was just a coincidence
and Ralph wasn't even there.
Judge is slang for
Ralph Stephens and
the Puritan Cafe
Stephens again tried
his skills in the restaurant business with the Puritan Cafe
at 102 Broadway. As mentioned in the Oct. 1920 "Jesse Ogle incident" at the Puritan Cafe,
Ralph could have been considering buying it from the
owners at the time. However, there is no
direct evidence indicating this so far.
was located right in the middle of Oklahoma City at
Broadway and Main St. Today it is the downtown business district. Surely Ralph could be a
success in the middle of town during the "Roarin'
Even while Ralph
was still managing the Western Hotel, the Puritan
was cited for health code violations. In Jan.
1919, it was owned by George H. Gurakis and Jim
after the shutdown, Gurakis & Christo
had the Puritan back
in business. But what did it look
like when Jesse Ogle was there breaking
a plate glass window a year and 9 months
This wasn't the only Puritan Cafe around, there were
many so-named eateries scattered all round Oklahoma
City, in an approximate 50 to 75 mile radius.
Puritan was a very popular name in the
area, not just for cafes and
restaurants. There was even a motor
oil named Puritan. It's doubtful that it was a chain, as there appears
to be no similarity among the various ads, except
for the name. Hundreds
of ads for a Puritan Cafes or restaurants from 1921 through 1923
appeared in newspapers at these other places: Bennington,
Bristow, Coweta, Durant, Eufaula, Haskell,
Holdenville, McAlester, Muskogee,
Okmulgee, Pawhuska, Poteau, Slick, and Wilson, and just
about each one was for a cafe in that town.
ads (except the one to the left) have been found for the Puritan in
OK City until Sept. 9, 1921.
First ad for the Puritan in OKC is this Sep. 9, 1921 ad below. Ralph
bought it when he left the Car Barn about a week
earlier when their ads
stopped on Sep. 3, 1921.
The 2nd ad by the
Puritan in OKC gave their address.
There seems to have
been an obsession with purity and American
citizenship in the area in these years. So
much so, that Bert Yale was concerned that readers
would think he wasn't American due to the omission
of his restaurant in the ad seen on the right, so he had an
explanation printed with the list. He alludes to
this "All American" trend by saying...
"We are the heart and soul of this great movement.."
In the month of Dec.
1921 The Puritan was listed in the series of four ads
(Dec. 5, 16, 20, 24) listing eateries that were
members of the recently formed National Restaurant Association where
"EVERY MEMBER IS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN."
Two restaurants not
relevant at this time have been omitted from the ad
at right, in order to
discuss them later in this feature., but the Car
Barn wasn't listed in these ads.
movement" may be attributed to the beginnings of the
National Restaurant Association, which was formed
over a two year period of events in Kansas City, Mo.
beginning in 1917. The "All American" movement was
probably also fueled by the events in Europe related
to WW1, and by the Association
limiting membership to American men in 1919.
FOUNDING HISTORY OF THE NATIONAL
From their website at
egg brokers try to demand a price of 65
cents a dozen, the year-old Kansas
City Restaurant Association, one of
the restaurant industry's earliest
professional associations, organizes an
egg boycott. Egg prices plummet to 32
cents. The seeds of a national movement
City restaurateurs launch a national
organization, holding the first meeting
of what is today's National Restaurant
Association on March 13 in Kansas City.
The fledgling organization represents an
industry of 43,000 restaurants.
Prohibition begins in 1920, kicking off
a 13-year ban on alcohol sales.
Restaurants used to serving free
sandwiches with 5-cent beers develop new
marketing tactics. Despite Prohibition,
the industry thrives, riding a wave of
national prosperity. Howard Johnson's
opens its first franchises, White
Castle's 5-cent burgers grow popular,
and Willard Marriott opens his first Hot
growing National Restaurant Association
moves its headquarters from Kansas City
Prohibition ends, but the Depression is
in full swing. Congress's National
Recovery Act requires each industry to
prepare a "Code of Fair Competition" in
1933. The National Restaurant
Association quickly complies. Membership
doubles. In an appeal to customers in
bleak times, the National Restaurant
Association tries out two advertising
slogan: "Enjoy Life — Eat Out More
Often" and "Take Her Out to Dinner at
Least Once a Week."
The Puritan ads
take on a distinctive Ralph Stephens style:
earliest found direct evidence connecting Stephens with the
Puritan was his 1923 city directory listing and the
article at right about a lawsuit filed against
Stephens and the Puritan. Notice he had a
business partner, E. V. Bodkin. You'll see his
name come up again later in Hannibal, MO, in
connection with Ralph Stephens again.
this time, Ralph probably owned the Puritan
Regardless of which
scenario took place with the Car Barn, it was
probable that Stephens was at the Puritan at the
time of this ad.
This ad clearly points
to Ralph Stephens, specifically mentioning their
steaks, "the kind that will make you come back."
That phrase will come back again later in Ralph's
Nothing further has
been located as to the outcome of this, but if he
lost the suit, it would be one reason he was getting
into a lot of debt. (E. R. Merryman, the Car
Barn lunchtime waiter who was kidnapped by the Klan,
was also a driver for Nu-Way Laundry.)
When Did Ralph Take Ownership of the Puritan?
terms of advertising, there was only a 1-week gap
from the date of the last Car Barn ad (Sep 3, 1921) to
the date of the first Oklahoma City Puritan ad (Sep.
If Stephens sold the
Car Barn around the time the last ad appeared (Sep. 3, 1921)
then he could have gone to the Puritan by Sep. 9,
1921, since the cafe was already established.
2,) If Stephens still owned the Car Barn
through March 1922 when
the kidnapping took place,
then it is unlikely (but not impossible) that he
bought the Puritan
when its ads started in Sep. 1921, six months before
the last known newspaper reference to the Car Barn.
most likely situation would be that Stephens sold
the Car Barn around the time the last ad appeared in
early Sept, 1921 and it continued under a different
owner at least until March 1922. If he knew he had a buyer
for the Car Barn, he and Edgar Bodkin could have been negotiating
with Gurakis and Christo to buy the Puritan
immediately after closing the deal with the Car
Barn, and then could have started the advertising for the
Puritan on Sep. 9, 1921.
which scenario took place from the Car Barn to
the Puritan, the ad below shows that by August
of 1923, Ralph and Amanda Stephens were ready to
step up to a higher class level of cleanliness,
quality, food and service. Ralph completely
remodeled and refurnished the Puritan and changed
the name to "Stephens."
Ralph, FROG LEGS?
They will personally supervise
the serving of all meals.
If you aren't treated as an
honored guest, they want to know
Ralph's want-ad for a chef in the
KC Star on Aug 23,
1923, reveals the restaurant
had a seating capacity for 65.
Notice in the ad below,
Amanda's delicious pies that would be a common thread throughout all of their
difficult to imagine that a place
with ads like this, in the middle of
downtown OK City during Oklahoma
City State Fair week could not
succeed, but according to a 1965
interview in the OKLAHOMAN, this
only drove him deeper into debt
instead of up the ladder of success.
Today, the Puritan/Stephens location would be in the heart of downtown Oklahoma
City's business district.
Locations of all
known places Ralph worked or owned in OK City, as well has
Stephens Family Moves to Dallas -
left town owing everybody."
Competition and a lot of debt led
30-year-old Ralph Stephens to leave Oklahoma City in
late 1923 with his wife, Amanda, sons Vince and Bob, and daughter
WHY DALLAS ?
Jan. 21, 1965 article in the DAILY
Ride to Top
Bit Bumpy, But Worth It, Ralph
was interviewed by reporter Katherine
Hatch. The article mainly focuses
on Ralph and Amanda's most recent
success with their Dolores Restaurants
in OK City and L.A., but pertaining to his
early endeavors, it says:
The year was 1923 and Ralph A. Stephens
had just gone broke with his small
restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City.
He packed up his wife and three children
and, as Stephens put it, "left town
When they left Oklahoma
he took the family to Dallas where they
saw a "Pig Stand with what looked
like a thousand cars around it..."
the forerunners of our drive-in
The Dallas Pig Stands
"People with cars are so lazy they don't want to
get out of them to eat." -- Jesse Granville Kirby
Now over seventy years old
(in 1992) the famous Pig
Sandwich sign manufactured by
the Claude Federal Neon Company
still delights customers.
Four additional pig signs
remain, and owner Richard Hailey
plans to display them at other
Pig Stand locations. When
an infringement lawsuit against
the Hard Rock Cafe (a Pig
Sandwich appeared on their menu)
went to court in the early
1990s, Hailey wheeled the large
sign into the courtroom as
evidence. Judgment for the
plaintiff: the "Pig
Sandwich" belongs exclusively to
the Pig Stands Restaurants!
(The sign was displayed at the
Pig Stand dining room at the
Broadway location in San
The Claude Neon Pig
Altered image of sign and
information courtesy of "The American Drive-in" by Michael
Karl Witzel (1992)
See the sign in its setting at
the end of this section.
Portions below are from
Texas Monthly, "The
History of the Pig Stands" - America's motor lunch
by Daniel Vaughn, "The American Drive-in" by Michael
Karl Witzel (1992), Car Hops & Curb Service by
Jim Heimann (1996). HEMMINGS CLASSIC CAR
Blog: Jesse Kirby & Reuben Jackson
Feb. 2018 by David Conwill,
The History of an American Institution by Robert
Moss, (2010), and "What's
New With The Pig Stands--Not The Pig Sandwich!"
by Dwayne Jones.
now been nearly 100 years
that a Dallas institution built its
mighty restaurant empire on the
foundation of a simple Tennessee-style
barbecued-pork sandwich called
the “Pig Sandwich.” The
Dallas-based chain that started it in
the early 1920s spread like wildfire to
quickly become a nationwide franchise.
But despite its meteoric expansion and
the cult-like obsession the general
public had with it, the Pig Stand franchise faded out
and gradually, like the twinkling stars
at dawn, but dragging out over
The Jesse G. Kirby Story
from the above sources.)
One of the greatest social changes that
affected restaurants in the 1920s was
the phenomenal growth in the number of
vehicles registered by state and
county authorities all over the country.
Dallas County, Texas was no different.
By the 1920s, there were 51, 622 registered vehicles
driving over 1,000 miles of paved,
surfaced or gravel roads crisscrossing
It was this
infatuation with automobiles that
prompted Dallas entrepreneur Jessie G.
Kirby to share an observation with Dr.
Reuben Jackson: "People with cars are
they don't want to get out of them to
had built his reputation as a wholesaler
and tobacco at his business
on South Akard Street, soon
persuaded prominent local physician Dr.
Reuben Wright Jackson to provide the
initial capital to get the venture
didn't know much about the food business
but did understand the appeal of the
automobile. He was duly impressed
with Kirby's practical idea and wasted
no time providing the initial cash
needed to build a prototype pork stand.
Sept. 1921, the American automobile
collided head on with restaurants,
forever changing the nature of dining
along America's roadways. With
$300 Kirby built the first restaurant known in
the U.S. to take orders from cars that
pulled up to the curb. He
named it "Pig Stand" because of its
signature fare was his barbecued
The first stand
modest, clapboard-covered box at the
intersection of Chalk Hill Road and the
Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike (now
Interstate 30) in Dallas’s Oak Cliff
neighborhood, about one-fifth the way to
Fort Worth. This was the
outskirts of the town of Dallas
back then. One by one, drivers
hungry for something new eased off the
throttle to become part of the festive
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN by
Jackie McElhaney, Dallas
Historical Society. Legacies: A History
Journal for Dallas and N. Central Texas,
Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring,
U. of North Texas
(This article is the source of the
misquote of Kirby's, "People
with cars are so lazy..."
stating instead, "crazy." It also
incorrectly identifies the photo of Pig
Stand #2 as being #1.)
With streets on two sides of the
building, it was ideal for curb service.
The server would hop up on the running
board of the car, before it even parked,
and take the order, then run to the
kitchen. When he returned with the
food, he again hopped up on the running
board and delivered it. From this
came the term "Car hop" and the
gender-free name stuck, from the first
teenaged boys wearing white hats and
shirts with black bow ties, to the
uniformed glamorous young women who
replaced them at the start of WW2.
By 1924, the company
began to add professional staff to its
family-based operation. Sid Lake, a
Dallas banker, and others like him,
began to transform Pig Stands into a
first-class business and prototypical
1924, Kirby built a second stand
in Dallas. Pig Stand No. 2 opened near the center of town—1301 Zang
and Bishop, now known as Colorado Blvd.
It followed the same design philosophy
as the first stand--close proximity to the curbside
with car hops serving the arriving cars.
Kirby later sold the
original location and relocated No. 1 to
Second Avenue in Dallas. (It operated
there until 1932 when the lot was
purchased by the State Fair of Texas.)
Kirby and his business
partner Dr. Reuben Jackson, set sights
on Texas incorporation and expansion in Dallas—and beyond.
In late October, 1923,
The Pig Stands Company was incorporated
with $10,000 in capital stock* by J. G.
Kirby, R. W. Jackson, and S. T. Lake, for the purpose
of "manufacturing raw meats into edible
and table products."
As president of the company, Dr. Jackson
preferred to be the silent partner,
deferring to Kirby to manage the
*Sources covering the early
history of the Dallas Pig Stands Co.
attribute the full $10,000 as being
from Dr. Jackson. However ,
none of those sources
make mention of the company's
incorporation date or its third
incorporator and seem to be
unaware that it took place a full 2
years after they say the first stand was
built (Sept. 1921).
Considering the incorporation
date, TampaPix concludes that some of the
capital outlay could have been from
profits made in the first two years--a
period where business appears to have
been excellent. TampaPix is not
entirely convinced that Kirby approached
Jackson before the first
stand was built. After all, Kirby was
no rookie business, being
a successful merchant already.
Considering Kirby only spent $300 to
build the first stand, which he
easily would have had on hand
already being a successful
wholesaler, he could have done so
without the financial backing of
someone else. Sources that
cover this subject claim Kirby and
Jackson were equal partners in the
initial capital stock. They
don't bring up Dallas banker Sid T. Lake
until years later after Kirby's
death, and therefore may not have
figured on what share Dallas banker
Sid T. Lake may
have had in the beginning.
Pig Stands quickly began
popping up in other parts of
Texas and the nation. By
1925, Dallas alone boasted
six locations. Between 1921
and 1934, more than 120 Pig
Stands were built in Texas,
Northern and Southern
Mississippi, New York ,
Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas,
and Alabama. Many of the new
stands were operated as
franchisees, but the Pig
Stand Company maintained
most of the Texas locations
as a family operation.
Pig Stand No. 2,
Near the center of
town—1301 Zang Blvd. and
Bishop, now known as
Colorado Blvd. At first glance the
stand appears quite large,
but the right side of the
photo is actually a very
advertisement that runs
behind the stand.
Place your cursor on the
image to show the Pig Stand
photo, courtesy of
The History of an American
Institution by Robert
shows Pig Stand No. 2 in the
mid 1920s. "Stand No.
2" can be seen on the sign
above the window where the
two car hops are standing.
stand in the photo below appears to have been taken
at the same occasion--the
same cars are parked in the same
position in both photos.
above and below are from
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
by Jackie McElhaney, Dallas
Historical Society. Legacies: A History
Journal for Dallas and N. Central Texas,
Vol. 19, No. 1, Spring,
U. of North Texas
article is the source of the misquote of
with cars are so lazy..."
stating instead, "crazy." It also
incorrectly identifies the photo of Pig
Stand #2 as being #1.)
No. 2 at Zang & Bishop
This is a rear view of
the same stand taken at night from between the stand
and the large billboards seen in the first
Differing angles of the shadows--the BBQ pit,
lit from high angle at its right, as compared to
the slats on the building and the stacked
crates, lit from the photographer's vantage
point, as well as the left side of the building
in darkness, all indicate multiple sources of
light, from the billboards and the photographer.
given to Kirby for creating the
first drive-in restaurant. And
rightly so, if for anything, the
fact that the concept of carhops was
first introduced at the original Pig
Stand. There are plenty of other
firsts attributed to them too: the
first onion ring, the first
chicken-fried steak sandwich, Texas
toast, neon lights. Some of those
claims might be hard to prove, but
they all serve as anecdotal evidence
of Kirby and Jackson’s
and Jackson rarely get credit for it
today, but they may have also been the first
to invent the restaurant chain as we
know it. Howard Johnson restaurants are
generally given the credit for
developing the concept, HOWEVER, the second Howard
Johnson was a franchise location
when it opened in 1932; by that time
there were already more than a
hundred Pig Stands, and the company
had been offering franchises to
hopeful entrepreneurs since at least 1924.
As Kirby once cleverly told someone
of opening a franchise,
a little pig a chance, and it will
make a hog of itself.”
-- J. G. Kirby
Most agree that the
first stand opened in Sept. 1921,
but a few records suggest it may
have been in early 1922. Court
records from a lawsuit against Dixie
Pig Stand from 1929 list the
original opening date as April 15,
1922, and an ad (seen below) celebrating the
achievements of the company
“opened less than thirty months ago”
ran in the Dallas Morning News on
October 12, 1924.
from the ad:
The ad date of 10/12/1924 - 24 months = 10/12/1922 - 6
months = April 12, 1922. Thirty
months before the ad is almost
the exact date referred to in the 1929
Image of the Claude Neon Co. sign courtesy of
"The American Drive-in" by Michael
Karl Witzel (1992)
WAS RALPH WORKING FOR KIRBY'S PIG
Ralph Stephens was hired by a Dallas BBQ chain and
learned the operation in Dallas before going out to
open a stand in Little Rock.
get hired by Kirby's Pig Stand company?
early Nov. 1923, Kirby had incorporated with two
partners, R. W. Jackson and S. T. Lake. Although it wasn't the only "pig
stand" in Dallas, (there were some "mom & pop" ones
around, and later, some who were bordering on infringing on
the Pig Stands trademark and copyrights.)
ads for Kirby's Pig Stands would have spoken
directly to Ralph Stephens's drive for success. Here was
an eatery already tried and proven successful, and the
inventor was selling not only the food, but the formula
instructions to manage their own stand as well. The popularity of
Jesse Kirby's Pig Stands spread like wildfire in all
There can't be much
doubt that Ralph heard of the great success Kirby
was having while he and his family were in Dallas.
Upon arriving in Dallas in late 1923 at the soonest,
he would have seen Pig Stand No. 1 and most likely
Pig Stand No. 2. Kirby's new
concept--drive up curb service, was something Ralph
would later use at every one of his next three
restaurants. The ads were tempting
indeed--learn the process, use the founder's
successful formula, pick a location, open your own
stand, you make money, Kirby and his
associates make money.
According to this Oct.
12, 1924 ad below,
was "Less than thirty months ago" (no earlier than
mid-April of 1922) that Kirby started
his empire, with one stand on the Dallas-Ft. Worth Pike.
Dallas Morning News - Oct. 12, 1924
And now Mr. J. G. Kirby, the founder and the active head
of the Pig Stands Company (incorporated under the laws
of Texas) finds his company one of the biggest customers
of the jobbers and wholesalers who operate in this
territory. Pig Stands are operating most
successfully in other States not only of the Southwest
but also of the Southeast and the North. The "sign
of the pig," guiding the public to the places where the
world's most delectable sandwich may be bought, is seen
in Dallas, Fort Worth, Wichita Falls, Waco, El Paso, San
Antonio, Houston, Beaumont, Denver, San Diego, Los
Angeles, Tulsa, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Fla., and New
Orleans. Every week finds calls coming in for Pig
Stand rights to operate in new fields.
Mr. Kirby has followed the soundest of basic business
principles in establishing and operating this concern.
In the first place, he sells a distinctive and highly
meritorious product and has avoided a multiplicity
of side-lines; in other words, he has "stuck to the one
thing." And, having created a demand, he buys
advantageously in large quantities. He holds down
operating and "overhead" expense by specializing in one
thing and by doing business in simple, inexpensive
buildings of standard design. While they are small
and simple in pattern they are by no means unsightly
"shacks" or in any way detrimental to their
give the reader an idea of how this business has grown,
the ten stands alone are operated by sixty-five employes.
The Pig Sandwiches consumed in Dallas each week use
50,000 Kleber buns (made especially for Pig Sandwiches,
according to specifications).
The customers drink more than 14,4000 bottles of
Coca-Cola products each week (not including other
drinks). With the Pig Sandwiches sold in Dallas
each week there are used 10,000 pounds of the finest U.
S. government inspected meats. Incidentally, this
company has an expert meat buyer who spent six years in
the largest packing plants. All meats used by the
Pig Stands Company in Texas are selected by him.
Pig Stand meats are cooked in Mazola. They use in Dallas 3,640 bottles of Budweiser weekly.
They buy from Dallas jobbers 500,000 to 1,000,000 paper
napkins at a time and between 35,000 and 50,000 paper
The sour relish, which gives zest to the Pig Sandwich
and which Mr. Kirby concocted himself, is made under his
own specifications and delivered in fifty 5-gallon lots
at a time. When Mr. Kirby first started his
business he made this relish at home in his own kitchen,
but the demand soon made this impractical. The
pickle factory which now has this contract manufactures
the relish under rigid specifications as to purity and
The Pig Stands Company takes this
opportunity to thank the public for its
most generous patronage, and wishes the
readers of this paper to know the
concerns of whose products enter into
the world's most delectable sandwich.
represented on this page. The best
is none too good for its customers.
Some parts of this ad (mostly the very
small texts) are digital recreations of
the original which appeared in the
Dallas Morning News on Oct. 12, 1924.
The original ad was spread across the
center fold and was nearly illegible at
that area. The text size of the main
column was extremely small compared to
the rest of the ad, so the text has been
provided here larger in relation to the
whole ad. Fonts are an exact match or
nearly exact. The graphics are the
originals, cleaned up. The NuGrape and
Edelweiss/Orange Crush ads were not part
of this ad. Those are from a 1925 Pig
Stands ad of similar arrangement. They
were added to fill the space created by
the longer center column. The Pig Stand
ads featured different vendors at
The Oct. 12, 1924 ad above
mentions a Pig Stand in Jacksonville, Florida.
This was Pig Stand #71 seen below.
Photo courtesy of
The History of an American Institution by
Robert Moss, (2010).
Notice the signs for "NuGrape" soda with the
distinctive bottle pictured. Ads for the
Dallas-based drink began appearing in Pig Stand
ads there in 1925. This stand appears to be a
walk-up service stand; there are railroad tracks
in the foreground and pig signs on the left and
The only street access would appear to be if
there is one off-camera to the left that runs in
front of the houses seen there. Lack of
curb service or parking signs and no tire tracks also may
indicate this was a walk-up stand.
Photo courtesy of Car Hops & Curb Service by Jim Heimann
This pig stand in
Orlando opened in March of 1925, but
doesn't appear to be an officially
licensed Kirby Pig Stand. It was located around what is
now East Colonial Drive. A
portion of Old Cheney Hwy still
exists in the area between Lake Susannah and Lake Barton. The
highway may have followed the path
of today's Colonial Drive, so this Pig Stand
could have been located inside the
city limits of Orlando today.
No mention of curb service or even a
this was probably a cafe or or small
restaurant taking advantage of the
Pig Stand name.
OF JESSE G. KIRBY - April 9, 1926
Jesse Kirby didn't
live to see the peak of his Pig
Stand empire, he died at age 39 in
on April 9, 1926 in St. Louis. Jesse was taken ill
while on a train ride on a business
trip and he died in a St. Louis
hospital just a four years after the
start of his Pig Stands. He was
survived by his wife, Shirley, and
their two sons who would both become
Locations compiled by Daniel Vaughn
Dallas, the original opened in 1921 or
1922 on Fort Worth Pike (now Davis) at
Chalk Hill Rd.
Dallas at 1400 Second Ave. at Trezevant
(demolished to make way for Fair Park
#2 Dallas at 1301 N. Zang and Bishop
#3 Dallas at 5119 East Grand Ave.
#4 Dallas at 3715 Greenville
#5 Dallas at 3702 Maple Ave.
#7 Houston at Washington and Sawyer
Beaumont at Port Arthur Rd. & Highland
Worth at 643 North Main St.
Worth at 1615 Park Place
Worth at 2736 W. Seventh (became
Randolph’s Bar-B-Cue in the 80’s, then
Stagecoach BBQ in 1991)
at 4605 McKinney & Knox
at 736 W. Jefferson
at Gaston and Grand (air conditioned)
at 1611 Forest Ave.
#29 San Antonio at
1508 Broadway St.
Houston at 4803 Main.
at 4017 Oak Lawn
Beaumont at 1955 Calder
at 1907 S. Buckner
Worth at 2320 E. Belknap
at Abrams and Northwest Hwy. (Last
location in Dallas. Closed 8/25/1985)
#71 Jacksonville, Fla.
at 1801 S. Ewing
at 1512 Main
Above: By Jul. 1, 1926, S.T. Lake
was no longer a partner.
After Kirby’s death, his wife Shirley
continued operating the Pig
Stand company with Jesse's
partner, R. W. Jackson. Under
their guidance, the brand got so
popular that copycats began to
appear. The company took out an
ad in 1927 ad that read
“Imitation Pig Stands are
springing up like mushrooms all
over Dallas.” They would
unsuccessfully sue one of them,
the Dixie Pig Stand, whose
specialty was a “Dixiepig
(Another Dixie Pig
exists in Abilene, Texas. They
have a “Pig Sandwich” on the
menu, but with roasted pork and
barbecue sauce, it’s not one
that Jesse Kirby would
recognize. It’s missing the
“sour relish which gives zest to
the Pig Sandwich.”)
After the company lost its
battle in court, other copycats
used the legal precedent to cash
in on the pig stand fever. Among
those were Van’s Pig Stands in
Wewoka, OK (1928); Ju-Cy Pig
Stand in Denton (1932); Bob’s
Pig Shop in Pauls Valley, OK
(1933); Flying Pig Stand in
Denison (1937); and Pearl’s Pig
Stand in Jefferson (1939).
The Pig Stands company couldn’t
fight back with the law, so it
would...stand out, by design. The company
created a signature building and
layout for its restaurants, one
that would be easily
recognizable to motorists. The
Pig Stands Co. hired architect
F. J. Woerner, the man who
designed the Stoneleigh Hotel in
Dallas, to be in charge of the
company’s new branding. The
prototype was built on the site
of Pig Stand #2 before being
rolled out to other cities and
Menu from Pig Stand #28
at 1611 Forest Ave. in
Society, et al.
A History Journal for
Dallas and North Central
Vol. 19, No. 01, Spring,
2007, Michael V.
: accessed Nov. 9,
2019), University of
North Texas Libraries,
The Portal to Texas
Society, Dallas, Texas.
Pig Stand #2 in
Dallas, after 1928 franchise-wide
"No.2" can be seen on the center
sign in both faces of the building.
this design, the building set back
from the street a considerable
distance, "head in" parking was
possible and curbside service became
Photo is courtesy of Texas
History of the Pig Stands" -- America's motor lunch. By Daniel Vaughn
See another version of the above
photo, full size and uncropped, from
"Car Hops & Curb Service" by Jim
Pig Stand #29 in
San Antonio, TX
Notice the similarity in basic
structure to the early McDonalds
Read more about the history of
Kirby's Pig Stand Company during
the Great Depression, the WW2
years into the Baby Boomer
years, and it drawn-out decline
in the 1980s, at this site where
all the text in italics is from,
courtesy of Texas
History of the Pig Stands" -- America's motor lunch.,
By Daniel Vaughn.
Photo courtesy of Car Hops & Curb
Service by Jim Heimann (1996)
a little pig a chance, and it will
make a hog of itself.”
-- J. G. Kirby
The Stephenses in Hannibal, Mo.
heading to Little Rock to start his own Pig Stand, the Stephenses stopped by Amanda's family's home in
Hannibal, Missouri, where his wife and three children would wait
while he went to Little Rock to get the stand
started. It's not known exactly when they made
it to Hannibal, only that it was before June 1925.
"That first Sunday in Hannibal, I
was talking to Mrs. Stephens's father, a
carpenter, and I told him we should be
able to figure out some kind of
enterprise on our own, without having to
work for someone else."
(Ride to Top Bit Bumpy,
But Worth It,
21, 1965 article in the DAILY OKLAHOMAN)
Lessons Learned in Dallas
If there was anything that Ralph Stephens would have learned
from his experience in Dallas and the success of the Pig
Stands, it probably would have been the popularity of drive-in
curb service, a place with ample parking, advertising, a limited
menu consisting of one to very few specialties, use of the best
meats, the popularity of the barbecue sandwich, and a
tasty, unique sauce to top it with. Kirby used a sauce
based on sour pickle relish.
sour pickle sauce? Not
barbecue sauce? Correct,
barbecue is slow cooking over a low
flame or smoldering fire.
The barbecue flavor comes from the
burning wood, not from a wood smoke
flavored sauce added to it.
Today, we cook meat on an outdoor
grill, a very hot heat source which
cooks quickly, then we cover it with
a wood smoke flavored sauce for the
barbecue taste. That isn't
barbecue, that's grilling!
Keep this in mind when you read
about Ralph and Amanda's "Come back"
It is clear Ralph would have been working for an employer
had he stuck to his plan, due to his conversation with his
father-in-law, which is what a Pig Stand
would have been.
But one thing he surely didn't get
from Kirby's operation was a just plain name. Ralph
Stephens had a better idea--a unique, catchy name.
First Goody Goody Barbecue in Hannibal, Mo.
Ride to Top Bit Bumpy,
But Worth It
In June, 1925, the "Goody Goody"
stand opened in Hannibal, owned and operated
by the Stephens family. He had never
gone back to Dallas. "We
slept in the stand while it was being built,
and finally opened for business"
No doubt his father-in-law, a carpenter, would have
played a major role in designing and building the stand.
decision to go with barbecue could only have come from
his exposure to it in Dallas; none of his prior
restaurants mention barbecue.
Goody Barbecue, Hannibal, Missouri
Photo courtesy of
RetroMetro Oklahoma City
nearly identical design as the early Kirby
Barbecue at 2629 St. Mary's Ave., Hannibal, Missouri
Notice the brick barbecue on the left and the
lattice fence and landscape in the background
indicating that the property dropped off behind the
RetroMetro Oklahoma City
When Did the Stephenses Arrive in Hannibal?
Ralph's idea to start his own lunch stand in Hannibal
came soon enough to make it into the 1925 city
directory. This would typically mean he knew this
in 1924, but not necessarily.
doesn't name the restaurant, and it's possible that he hadn't yet thought of a
name by the time the information for the 1925 directory was gathered. But
the dates of collecting info and publishing city
directories weren't printed in any of the directories
themselves. It is more likely that the early Oklahoma City directories only
provided the owner's occupation and did not provide the name of the
business, as many other restaurants and lunch rooms were listed this
way as well. But whatever the reason no name
appears, the June 1925 opening of Goody
Goody comes straight from Ralph Stephens in the 1965
account Ralph's statement about the first Sunday they
were in Hannibal, when he and Jesse Ogle discussed
finding a way to start his own business, and judging by
the apparent simplicity of the stand, assuming it took a
few months tops for them to build and furnish, a guess
with a considerable degree of uncertainty would be that
they arrived in Hannibal as late as April of 1925.
"Sleeping in the stand" while it was being built would
have been quite uncomfortable if late winter/early
spring is still cold at night in Hannibal.
Meanwhile, Pig Stands Run
Hog-Wild in Oklahoma City
time the Stephenses arrived in Hannibal from
Dallas, the first Pig Stand in Oklahoma City
had already opened. Three months
later, a second one opened.
A third one
opened May 12, 1928. They were all in
the area of the state capitol building.
Probably due to a more affluent class of
lawyers and politicians in the area.
Pig Stand opened April 1929
numbering wasn't consistent with the overall
number of stands beginning with No. 1 in
Dallas. OK City began their own
numbering with No. 1. Some would close
and others would open and the numbers would
This was a fifth one and was
built in the new pagoda design with tile
All these were only the ads
announcing the openings, each stand would
also post new ads almost daily.
Ralph is Lured to Sunny
Florida and Gives Up on his First Goody Goody (Or
Clearly, the catchy name and the Pig Stands
ingredients for success weren't enough for Ralph.
He didn't figure on the cold weather so far north.
In Dallas, it wasn't a major factor, but in Hannibal,
Missouri, cold weather isn't the best condition to be
eating outside in one's car.
boomed immediately, but cold weather brought
a sharp drop in the drive-in business. We
closed, and being sort of soldiers of
fortune, we took off for Florida."
was in the midst of a land boom in the early 1920s; rich
investors were heading there in droves to buy up land.
The state would be booming with travelers, and surely
the weather in sunny Florida would be a paradise for
drive-in dining with curb service. But in 1925,
the land boom had already peaked.
Goody Goody Didn't Sit Abandoned After he Left for
directories of Hannibal reveal a continuous
chain of ownership for Goody Goody through 1959. There
was no 1926 directory available to research,
but in 1927 Ralph's business partner at the
Puritan in Oklahoma City, Edgar V. Bodkin,
was the owner of the stand and lived next
door to it. In 1929, George Buttgen
and his wife Stella lived there and owned
it. In 1931, George W. Silman, who
worked for International Shoe Corp., moved
in with his wife Esther, and owned the lunch
room, still named Goody Goody, up until at
least 1940 when they are shown on that
census as proprietor and assistant at a
sandwich shop at the same address. In
1950, Mrs. Dorothy Y. McCann owned it with
Ivan Yates, her father. Yates was a
partner in Yates & Hagan Clothing Company.
Dorothy and Robert McCann (possibly her son)
owned the Goody Goody at least until 1957.
In 1959 the Goody Goody Sandwich Shop was
owned by Charles F. Savage, a draftsman, and
his wife Peggy was a waitress there.
Dixie Cream donut shop, circa 1962
Photo from Kathy Threlkeld at Bluff City Memories
Sometime after 1959, it became the Dixie Cream Donut
Shop. The graffiti on the front was spray painted by local high
In 1963 it was demolished to build the
new Smith's Funeral home.
At the extreme right edge of the photo
you can see that the structure sat right up against a retaining wall at
which point the property dropped down about 10 feet.
Today, the site of
Ralph's first Goody Goody is the parking lot for Smith's Funeral
The building was approximate where you see the rooftop of the
church to the left of
This rear view below from Hawkins
Ave. shows the retaining wall that was behind the Goody Goody
THE SECRET WEAPON --
IT'S THE SAUCE!
The most important
event thus far in the history of Ralph's first Goody Goody, other than
the actual opening of it, is that while in Hannibal, Amanda
Stephens had picked up a recipe for a unique sauce from a
barbecue stand in nearby Quincy, Ill.
(and Amanda's pies) would be
the common thread for ALL the Goody Goodys everywhere, to this
Later, the Stephenses would call it their "COME BACK
SAUCE" because it kept customers coming back for more.
Oh Goody Goody!
About That Catchy Name
The topic of how Ralph
Stephens came to call his barbecue stand "GOODY GOODY" is
scarce on the Web. Long ago when TampaPix was
researching this topic, there was a comment on a blog or web page, probably the Oklahoma
Historical Society page on Ralph Stephens, or the OKC RetroMetro site, which were comments to their
"Ralph Stephens story" on his success with the
mentioned that they believed it was inspired by
Ralph and Amanda's daughter, Dolores. Amanda
would have been 3 years old to turn 4 in Dec. 1925. Perhaps
an exclamation such as "Oh, goody goody!" or even
that she suggested it. But whether or not it
happened this way is lost to the years.
To anyone's knowledge today, it's a mystery, or at
best, oral folklore.
with that in mind, here is some evidence that
presents an extremely likely source of the iconic
name, "Goody Goody"...
Enter: Harry Earl Grigsby
Grigsby was born in Miltonvale, Cloud
in 1890, the third child of four
of Charles A. and Mary
Grigsby, natives of Iowa and Indiana.
Harry was 10 years old in 1900, so he was about
the same age as Ralph Stephens, who was
2 years younger. At this time, Harry's
father was a bowling alley operator.
1900 Census, Clay
Harry Off to a Rocky Start in OK City
Oklahoma had just achieved statehood in
1907 when Harry came to Oklahoma
city to seek his fortune that same year.
Or maybe he came for another reason.
MARRIAGE OF HARRY E. GRIGSBY
Harry was all set to marry Lillie Motz (or Metz or Matz) and was in the process
of doing so while under arrest at the
county jail, when according to this
article, word came from the
county attorney's office and stopped* the
ceremony. Harry was being held there because
the city was in the process of considering prosecuting Harry
on a "statutory charge."
*The article is misleading, incomplete at
best. Apparently, the marriage had already
taken place and
may be why there seems to have been no
"statutory charge" pursued.
The bride's name on their marriage license is Nellie Motz
and she married Harry on Dec. 11, 1908,
the day before the article was published.
Nellie's guardian Jennie Keith gave the
underage permission, and Harry's father,
C. A. Grigsby, gave permission for
Harry. Harry & Nellie were 17
(or 18) &
16, respectively. Harry's birth
year bounces around at 1890 or 1891 on
GRIGSBY, SON OF HARRY E. GRIGSBY
On Jan. 17, 1909, their
son Harry Orval Grigsby was born in
BELOW: Six months later they were back in court,
this time because Harry was seeking a
divorce on the grounds of desertion.
Looks like Lillie took off
with little Harry O.
eventually granted the divorce
because on May 23, 1910, 18
yr. old Lillie Grigsby
married 22 yr. old Charlie
Hill in OK City.
O. would have been around 16
Ten years later, in 1920,
Charlie Hill and wife Lillie, and her
11 yr. old son Harry O. Grigsby,
were living in Kosoma, OK.
Lillie was from Arkansas, her father was from France and her
mother from Illinois.
Later, Lillie moved
out west with her son. She married
a third time--to Mr. E. L. Ballard.
By 1935, Lillie and son Harry O. had moved
to Salinas in Monterrey Co,
CA, and then to
Chelan, Washington where he
lived in 1940 with his next
wife Edna F, a native of
Oklahoma. Harry O. was
a house plumber.
Around 1945 he moved to San
Bernardino, CA, He died
there in 1961 at the age of
52. He was survived by
his widow, possibly his 3rd
wife, Mae, his mother
Lillian Ballard, his stepfather E.
L. Ballard, his son Robert
O. Grigsby, and four grandchildren.
Harry O. was a WW2 veteran
of the U.S. Navy.
By now there
are probably many
descendants of Harry Earl
"Back at the Ranch"
Census of Harry E. Grigsby, 615 S.
Walker, OK City
By 1910, the whole Grigsby family
had moved to Oklahoma City from Kansas,
except Thurza, Harry's oldest sister.
She had married a Mr. Wilkins by this
This census shows Harry's father had become an
ice cream peddler. His sons,
William and Harry, also sold ice cream
on the streets,
and his daughter Docia, worked as a cook
in a cone factory. Here 20 yr. old
was listed as single.
Harry married Jennie
Humphreys on Mar. 29, 1913 in
Oklahoma City. They were both 22 at the
time. This time no parental
consent was needed.
Has a Row With Pool Hall Owner
OKLAHOMA NEWS reported on Jan. 24,
1916, that Harry had a bit of a row*
with cigar dealer/pool hall owner C. W. Sims on the
previous Monday, Jan. 17. Sims
rented the first floor of a building
for his pool hall, and he sub-rented
a corner of it for Grigsby to run
short order stand.
and Sims had been having trouble over their
lease and when Sims showed up there
he found Harry had partitioned off
his stand from Sims's pool hall, so
he started to tear down the
Harry threw a big chain at him and
Sims went after him with his cane.
At least, this is what they told the
police when they showed up.
Harry was charged with burglary
and assault, because Sims said Harry
broke a padlock in the building so
he could connect to the gas mains,
which Sims had shut off the existing
supply when their dispute stated
Harry charged Sims with assault
and destruction of property.
No outcome of the situation has been
located, perhaps they settled out of
*ROW - Not a term used very often these
days. As a noun - a quarrel,
fight, or disturbance marked by very
noisy, disorderly, and often violent
behavior: affray, brawl, broil,
donnybrook, fray, free-for-all,
melee, riot, ruction, tumult.
Harry Opens Another Short Order Stand -
The California Ave. Market
been in the food service business since
around 1913 (longer, if you count his
job selling ice cream with his father), setting up his short-order
stands in various places.
Initially, they may have been ice cream
stands. In 1915,
this particular lunch stand was to be
his third and it was to be located in
the OK City "California Market House,"
so named because it was on California
Avenue, right in the middle of town on
the first block west of Broadway.
The Market House was like we would consider a flea
market with various booths to rent; a
Put your mouse pointer on the ad to
Harry's Chili sandwich had become somewhat famous
by this time.
Oklahoma Free Pointer was a four-page paper
apparently given out for free. It
consisted mostly of classified ads but
did carry one or two pages of stories.
Unfortunately, not many are online and
the issues are a year or more apart.
Looks like Harry may have been
advertising only in this paper in his
early years so there is no record of
where No. 1 and No. 2 were located
in 1915. However, one of them was his rental space at 5
North Broadway in the pool hall.
Ralph Stephens was either still in KC
working as a presser in a dye shop, or
working at his father's Western Hotel in
or somewhere in between.
month later, Harry went back home to
visit with old friends.
Jun. 5, 1917, Harry registered for
the WW1 draft. His hometown of Miltonvale, Kansas,
is a short distance west of Clay
Center. Harry and Jennie were
living at 418 Reno
in OK City, a location they would
maintain for many years..
was still self-employed in the restaurant
business (his Goody Goody lunch
stands) and listed two places, 5
N. Bwdy and 119 W. California.
The former was a failed attempt to
write "Bdwy"-- 5 N. Broadway, the
location of his short order stand in
the Sims pool hall.
Throughout Harry's ads, his
numbering and locations of his Goody Goodys would
change. But his California
Ave. stand was his longest-lived,
with addresses varying but all on
the 100 block.
THE OKLAHOMA STATE
to statehood in January 1907, Jones
and Colcord led in the organization
of a state fair association. The
organization located a new
fairgrounds on the city's east side
and held the first State Fair of
Oklahoma in early October, a month
before official statehood day
(November 16). Agriculture remained
at the forefront, with prizes
offered for crop and livestock
competition, as well as several
farming and ranching exhibits. Horse
racing (and betting) served as the biggest draw,
and the grandstand at the half-mile
track accommodated fifteen thousand
fans for the Oklahoma Derby.
The city of Muskogee also hosted
yearly state fairs, but theirs had
ran this ad a few times in this time
period, the first one was on Sep. 3,
1919. "The inventor of
those famous Chili Sandwiches."
was his location in the
California Ave. Market Place in 1915.
2 was in Enid, OK which is about 75
miles NNW of OKC.
3 was at the State Fair Grounds,
which back then was on the east side
outskirts of the city. This
location was probably temporary and
only during the State Fair.
Apparently he no longer had the one
at 5 N. Broadway in the pool hall.
this period Ralph Stephens was
working at his father's Western
Hotel on Main St. or getting ready
to start the Car Barn.
Harry & Jennie Grigsby in 1920
their 1920 census, Harry and Jennie
were still living at 418 W. Reno.
Harry was listed as a
Restaurant keeper and an employer.
In their home was his 25 year old
cook, Mr. Stanton.
While Harry was living at 418 Reno,
he was renting out a home in the
Capitol Hill district. Harry
was also into investing in Real
area was about two miles north of the
center of town.
this ad in June, 1922, we see Harry
was renting out the west side of his
Goody Goody Lunch stand at 111 W.
By this time Ralph Stephens was
the Puritan just a couple of blocks
was remodeling to reopen soon
as "Stephens" Restaurant."
A little later, he got a building
permit to build a store on the same
street. No other mention of a
store he owned has been found.
Maybe another Goody Goody.
One and Original Goody Goody Chili
went all out with this ad, even
going so far as to apply for a
copyright, and probably a patent on
the process of making the chili, and trademark
on the name.
"HERE y' are boys! The one
and original Chili Sandwich!
Patented, copyrighted, and what not,
yet none the less palatable. Harry E. Grigsby is the inventor of
this condensed way of handling the
Mexican national fruit.
By a special process invented by
Grigsby, the Mexican jumping bean
and the piping hot
Clip art not an actual rendering
used by Grigsby.
peppers are taught to dwell in
peace and harmony between the top
and bottom sides of a bun. The sandwich filling has all the
advantages of other fillings,
maintains the real qualities of
chili and doesn't run like
The sandwiches have become so
well known that Grigsby has applied
for copyright, patents and trade
mark on his product. The
government has granted the
copyright, but the patents and
trademark still are pending."
So here y' are boys, a piping hot
process could be patented, and the
names of both the process and the
be trademarked, but only if each
(Think "Big Mac.") Harry did obtain a copyright, which
can be issued for images, photos, and
works of art. So the copyright
he brags about here is for the
picture or artwork image of the
right: A report of U.S.
Copyrights for 1923 at Google books
shows Harry obtained the copyright
on Nov. 12, 1923.
would have been competing with the
popularity of Grigsby's Goody Goodys
for at least three years now.
It was around this time of the
copyright to the time of the ad that Ralph
Stephens gave up on his Stephens
Restaurant and left Oklahoma City
for a new occupation in Dallas.
Harry "Goody Goody" Grigsby - The
Long Arm of the California Avenue
Feb. 1928, Harry made an arrest on a
car theft/kidnapping suspect.
The arrest took place on California
Ave. so it was probably right around
his Goody Goody. No. 1.
no other mentions found of Harry
being a law enforcement
officer, however, it
appears that he had some degree of
authorization to act as
one, perhaps what we
would call a
watch" who would
patrol the area
periodically. Harry seemed to have a
bit more authority.
Research of the term
"scout car" in Oklahoma
City newspapers finds
that as automobiles
became more available in
the 1920s, a scout car
officer was an actual
police officer who
patrolled an area in an
automobile instead of on
to have had
some sort of
agency as a
around 38 at
the time of
around 46 at
the time of
Eight years later,
another incident took
place. In late 1936 "Scout Car Officer
H. E. Grigsby" was
arresting a 35 year old
man for drunkenness when
punches were exchanged.
Again, it took place
on California Ave., this
time on the 100 block,
the same block where
Goody Goody No. 1 was
Later in this feature
you will learn the
context of this
event--one of Harry's
1930 Census of Harry & Jennie
was still a restaurant proprietor. Living with
them were 3 other relatives, all
working at a restaurant, probably
Harry's Goody Goodys. Harry's sister-in-law
Lilly Braun was a waitress, his
nephew John Wilkins was a cook, and
John's wife Bessie was also a waitress.
and Jennie were now living
at 809 E. 18th St. (This was a
little over a mile north of where
Ralph's Car Barn cafe was located.)
They probably had made this move
because Harry was having a hotel
built on his 418 Reno property.
Harry Grigsby the Politician - Crusade Against Graft &
June 1932, Harry decided to run as a
Democratic candidate for county
commissioner of the 3rd district.
He would have been around 41 or 42
years old at the time. At his
rally that day, he was going to
speak on "Extravagance of County
June 17, the press had
picked up on Harry's Goody Goody,
using it as his parenthetical middle
June 24, 1932, Harry received endorsements in the Capitol Hill
News. This paper was around 8
pages long and reported news in the area
of the State Capitol building in
Oklahoma City. It, like
Washington D.C's., was built on a
According to the article above,
established the Goody Goody Cafe on W. California
Avenue in 1918, but actually
started as a lunch stand in 1915.
It says that in
1928, Harry was responsible for
great celebration ceremony when new
street lighting was installed on
California Ave. Brightly lit
streets were referred to back then
as "Great White Ways." He also
gave away $2,500 worth of
merchandise (just who's remains to
also built a hotel on the property
where he had been living at 418 Reno, and was
living now at his "Grigsby Hotel."
Harry went into great detail
with naming specific city officials and
examples of their graft & corruption. If you
wish to see the whole article,
In the end, Harry didn't do every well in the
election, he came in 2nd to last place.
The Newly-Opened "Great White Way" was Promoted
During the 1928 Oklahoma State Fair
promotion for the new White Way ran
during the State Fair four years
earlier in 1928.
The ad is damaged exactly where it
says how long ago it opened,
"installed several.... ago."
Regardless, no grand celebration of
the California Ave. White Way or
mention of this opening as Amos
Wilson wrote could be
found in any of 1928 newspapers.
White Way was apparently similar to
our Franklin St. Pedestrian Mall
with emphasis on shopping and ease
of access, but
the California Ave. White Way did
allow vehicles. It had no
street car tracks or traffic signals
and they had rid the area of the
Mrs. Harry (Jennie) Grigsby was
Handy with a Shotgun
Jennie Grigsby was in the news
more often than Harry. She
was an expert markswoman,
sharpshooter and champion traps
shooter. There were always
shooting competition results in
the news, and for each
tournament Jennie's name was at
or near the top
or near of the results.
Here are a few examples.
(Notice that by 1937, Harry and
Jennie were known as "hotel and
night club owners.")
Harry Fights City
Although he lost the
election for county
commissioner in 1932, Harry
continued to play a
leading role in
standing up for the
rights of business
August, 1933, Harry
protested the city's
proposed tax on
had been a "dry"
state from the day
statehood, but it
did allow beer sales
of 3.2% alcohol beer
for consumption at
point of sale and
for take home.
Government as well
as the state, in
legality of the
requiring a city
license and received a
until a local judge
could rule on it.
Harry was backed
by the Oklahoma
assessed a tax
of $15 per year
and $10 per year
City's brief in
defense of the
tax was to be
filed the next
day, Sep. 7,
was counting on
one, as seen by
his WANTED ad of
Dec. 10, 1933
Hooker had heard
both sides of
the argument and
took the matter
(think about it,
render a ruling
forbid the sale
of beer where
the public is
allowed to to
again.) More than one
plan or a
similar one "in
order to combat
the growing evil
of beer gardens
Then there were
some who doubted
that would be
Grigsby and the
Beer Gardens of
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Harry's Next Crusade -- Cot Houses
on California Ave.
On Nov. 7,
1937, in an OKLAHOMA NEWS
article titled "FIRMS TO ASK
COT HOUSE BAN
California St. Owners Say
Establishments Harmful to Business"
it was reported that businessmen and
property owners on the 100 block of
W. California Ave. announced they
would petition the City Council to
exclude cot houses from the retail
article reported that H. E. Grigsby
"who operates a cafe on the block"
and a pool hall owner (J. C.
Thompson) claimed they had
signatures of 100% of the merchants
from the block on a petition.
"They sit out in the front and sun
themselves, some of them only half
Nov. 8 - The City Manager promised
to look into the 10-cent "Flop
houses" after Grigsby presented him
with a petition signed by all the
business owners on the block except
those of the cot houses.
Grigsby said that the situation was
serious and another one was being
"A woman can't walk down the
street and a man hardly dares to."
The city manager said they would
look into it to see if the cot
houses constituted a nuisance.
Nov. 9 - A war of words resulted
before the city council between the
attorney representing the cot house
owners and the attorney representing
the businesses, resulting in a
stalemate and the decision being set
over until the next week.
Attorney Miskovsky said the flop
joints were a menace to health,
safety and morals of the district.
Attorney Showalter for the cot house
owners shot back that one of
protestors operates a beer parlor
(Harry's Goody Goody) and others operate domino parlors in
the vicinity. Then
Councilman Moore responded with "Are
they afraid the cot houses will
corrupt the morals of the beer
joints? Miskovsky "replied
sharply" that the health and morals
of everyone in the area was
endangered. The matter was
then put off for the City Manager
and Health dept. to decide the
24, 1937 City Council Kills
the Petitioned Ordinance, 7- 0
Residents of the cot houses were
presented to City Council both as
"bums and panhandlers" by the
business owners attorney and "good
men down on their luck" was well as
"clean and sober" by the cot house
Ultimately, it came down to the cot
appearances and a report by the city
attorney on exactly whose morals
were being corrupted. He said
that he reviewed police records and
found that "many ladies of leisure
have been taken from the business
houses on the 100 block of
California Ave, and not a one had
been taken from the cot houses.
These places are necessities."
1939, Harry's Goody Goody on
California Ave. was a lunch room
and cabaret, with a floor show and dancing; it
was more like a night club than a
also owned the Grigsby Hotel he had
built where he had been
living in previous years at 418 Reno.
1940 Census of Harry & Jennie
They were living in the hotel.
There were 35 other regular lodgers
living at Harry's hotel at this
time at 418 Reno. No
occupation was listed for Harry,
he was probably retired by now.
His divorced sister Docia May
Price was living with them.
While the lodgers had an "R" for
renting, Harry had an "O" for
owning the place. His
property was valued at $10,000
while everyone else was valued
Harry Registers for
the WW2 Draft in
This was a category
registration for men
born between April
28, 1877 to Feb. 16,
would be men who
were age 45 to 65 at
Harry was 52.
This time Harry
indicated he was
born in 1890.
His WW1 draft
Harry indicated here
for his occupation
"None - retired."
Death of Harry
Harry died at
his home on May
18, 1949 at the
age of 59; he
ill health for
how long the
article says he had
It says he had operated
his Goody Goody
lunch room at
up until his
Based on the
he operated his
Goody Goody at
He was described
member of the
Capital City gun
club, a Mason
and a life
member of the
He was a past
patron of the
of the Eastern
Star Lodge and a
member of the
survived by his
wife Jennie, sisters Docia
Price of OK City
Wilkins of Clay
No mention was
made of his son
Grigsby from his
to Lillie Metz.
Perhaps this was
known or even
was aware of.
Was Ralph Stephens Aware of
recall the previously discussed
National Restaurant Assoc. "All
American" ads of 1921. Every
one of them showed Grigsby's Goody
Goody locations first. Down at
the bottom was found the Puritan.
It was around Sept. 1921 to March
1922 that Ralph Stephens gave up on
his Car Barn and bought the
Stephens ever took a street car ride
from the Western Hotel when he
worked there into downtown, he
passed Grigsby's Goody Goody at 420
W. Main every time. Downtown,
at the Market Place, he would have
seen Goody Goody on the 100 block of
California--which was at the
intersection of Broadway, one
block south of the Puritan.
Surely Ralph knew of the success
Grigsby was having with his "famous
chili sandwich." He
probably had eaten a few in his
years at OK City.
Price was Grigsby's
brother-in-law. His sister was
GRIGSBY'S GOODY GOODY AND
GRIGSBY HOTEL LOCATIONS
The 100 through 300 blocks of
California Ave. today are
replaced by the Myriad Botanical
Gardens and the Cox Convention
Harry's Goody Goody stand
at 5 N Broadway was almost across the street
from the Puritan lunch room location.
was intent on being a successful restaurateur,
and seeing Grigsby's success at it, he must have had
it on his mind when he got to Hannibal.
So in June, 1925, when Ralph Stephens decided to
open his own sandwich stand in Hannibal, instead
of a franchise Kirby's Pig Stand location in
Little Rock, what would he want to call it?
Surely something that he thought would make it a
success, something that had already proven
successful back in Oklahoma City. Was it
Dolores Stephens's "Oh goody goody!" or Harry
Grigsby's success that inspired Ralph Stephens
to go for "GOODY GOODY?"