The Ralph Stephens Story from the Very Beginning

How Goody Goody Got Its Name!


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However, this history IS that of the same Goody Goody.


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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.

The Stephens Family in Eaton, Ohio

Ralph Augustus 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

Henry & 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.



The Stephenses in Eaton, Ohio, After the 1900 Census

Henry Stephens took the family camping for a week on Aug. 1, 1903


At 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.

At left:

In May 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

In the 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.

[The 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.]

It's 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.

So 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.

By 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.

Ralph Stephens 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.


At left: 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 Works.

Kansas City 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 above.


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 City where 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. 

Ralph & 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.


Amanda and Ralph Stephens
Photo courtesy of RetroMetro Oklahoma City

The Ogle Family in Hannibal, Mo. - 1910

1910 U.S. Census of Hannibal, MO
The Jesse and Catherine (O'Keefe) Ogle family at 611 N. 8th St.

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 by 1917.  (This may have been the reason for their move to Ok. City.)


By 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.


The Stephens family on the 1920 Census, Oklahoma City

The Stephens family was enumerated at 23 W. 10th.--the same address  given in their 1920 city directory listing. 

Ralph 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.

1920 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.





On 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. 

While 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.

Info and photo courtesy of Tillman County Chronicles

Henry Stephens's Second Marriage

Almost two years after his mysterious departure from Eaton, Henry turned up in Oklahoma.

Henry 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


View 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, Oklahoma City

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.

On the 1910 Census, Henry and Rena Stephens were living at their boarding house at 129 W. 2nd St. in Oklahoma City. 

Henry's occupation was proprietor at a boarding house.  There were 22 roomers listed in their dwelling, so they likely were living at their boarding house.

Henry & Rena Stephens Start the Western Hotel, 1914

In April 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.


Ford Motor Company Causes a Stir in Oklahoma City

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:

In published 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 dismantled. 

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.
The above photo was described as City streets east from 600 block on Main before 1920.
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 larger 4-story plant.  Also, 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.

The only 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 ARCHITECTURE. 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 Historic Places


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.


The Smaller, Two-Story Building Added in 1924

Ford's FRED JONES Assembly Plant, Oklahoma City

1916 view 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.


Western Hotel Advertising


Advertising for 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 Living

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.

The Honeymoon is Over for Henry and Rena Stephens

It appears that Henry's marriage to Rena ended by January 1919, and Rena had a long career in marriages after Henry Stephens.  Her maiden name was Glover, concluded from the surnames of her surviving brothers.

Rena Glover Hinshaw Stephens Smith Burdge Montgomery Cunningham*

*This marriage information is from Finda-A-Grave posted by Janet LaMotte, MHR.  It hasn't been verified, although everything Ms. LaMotte has shared concerning Henry appears accurate (except possibly Henry's middle name--King.)

The 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.

Born in 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.

She is 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.

Husband #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-

Husband #2: Henry Stephens 1865-1956
   Child:   Agatha Stephens 1910-192

Husband #3: James T. Smith 1855-

Husband #4: Thomas W. Burdge 1848-1931 marr. Jun. 13, 1927, Ok. City

Husband #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 - Lena Muller

On Jan. 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:

His wife, Lena, was the hotel housekeeper in 1920. She was born in Missouri, her parents were from Germany.


In 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.

This is the only hotel ad that names the owner of the Western Hotel.

The Daily Oklahoman lists 56 hotels, their addresses and phone numbers, in their Sep. 27, 1925 issue.


Tragedy in the Stephens Family -  Suicide of Agatha Stephens

May 13, 1929 -  Miss Agatha Stephens, 19, 1234 N. Western, died Saturday at Tulsa. Survivors, her parents, four brothers, W. E. and Virgil Henshaw, Oklahoma City, Ralph Stephens, Tampa, Fla., and Grover Stephens, Dayton, Ohio, and one sister, Mrs. Nellie Mayer,  MUIR 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 Hinshaw,  She was a half-sister of Ralph Stephens, Grover Stephens and Nellie Stephens Mayer.  [Contributed by Barbara Linnane Ryan Guest at Find-A-Grave]


Henry & Lena Stephens on the 1930 Census, Oklahoma City

Henry and 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 Germany.


Death of Lena Stephens

Henry's 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 census.

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.

This 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.

The hotel was apparently situated on the 2nd floor with a cafe on the first floor.


It appears 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.

Preliminary 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.



Ralph Stephens and son Robert were in L.A. because they had opened a Dolores Restaurant there.

The Death 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 1873-1931.) 
Wife #1:
Sarah J. Fraley
1866- (Marr. 10 Dec 1884, Christian Co, IL) died aft 1900 Eaton, OH
Grover H. Stephens 1885-1968 Eaton, OH
Nellie Stephens Muir 1889-1954 bur. Rose Hill Burial Park Ok. City
Ralph Stephens 1892-1983 bur. Rose Hill Burial Park, Ok. City.
Wife #2:
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 Find-A-Grave


Today, the site of the Western Hotel at 810-812 Main St. is the home of Dagwell Dixie Company, an automotive repair shop and supply retailer.

It might even be the same building, it appears to be two stories tall.



The First Western Hotel in Oklahoma City

There was 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:

[The Western Hotel] 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:

On Jan. 20, 1903, the DAILY OKLAHOMAN reported that..

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 California Ave.

The next 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.  J. EMITT

The hotel 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 transpired:

WESTERN HOTEL, 216 W. California announced newly furnished rooms, excellent board, $1.25 per day.  Mrs. Mauldin, Proprietor, G. A. Yantis, Manager.

This Oct. 19, 1904 article signaled the end for the WESTERN HOTEL, but in name only, as it continued to operate as the Pearson House.

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.

Above is 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 Okla.)

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.

Since no 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 Block."

One More Western Hotel

In the 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 W. Nobel. 

There is 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 Cafe

The Oklahoma City car barn yard, 1910s
Photo courtesy of Doug Dawgz Blog: Trolleys Part 2

Ralph opens the Car Barn Cafe / Restaurant

By 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 not.
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 Barn location.


Place your cursor on the 3D view below to see the early 1900s plans for the Oklahoma street car barns facility overlaid.

The final 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
2. Dispatcher, motormen & Conductor's room 5. Shops, master mec. & office, armature room 8. Store room
3. Storage shed 6. Carpenter shop 9 Stables



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

In late 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 impersonating police. 

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?

The 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 that it happened "Monday night" which would have been Mar. 13 or previous Monday Mar. 6, 1922.  Merryman says it was THREE men.)



An 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:

So either...

1. 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. 1922, or...

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. 21, 1965. 

His 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 Western Hotel.


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 City?


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 some money, 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.


Muny Judge is slang for Municipal Judge.



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.

The Puritan 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' 20s."

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 Christo.

A week 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 later?

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.

But no ads (except the one to the left) have been found for the Puritan in OK City until Sept. 9, 1921. 




The First ad for the Puritan in OKC is this Sep. 9, 1921 ad below. Ralph could have 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.

The "ALL-AMERICAN" Movement

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.

This "All-American 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.


From their website at


When 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 are sown.


Kansas 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. [Membership consisted of male Americans.]


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 Shoppes.


The growing National Restaurant Association moves its headquarters from Kansas City to Chicago.


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:


The 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.






By 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 restaurant family.

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?

In 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. 9, 1921.) 

1.)   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.

The 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.


The Opening of Stephens Restaurant

Regardless of 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."

But really Ralph, FROG LEGS?                   


  • Better service

  • Practically new building

  • Clean and attractive

  • Better food

  • Pleasing local citizens and the traveling public

  • Fair prices

  • New equipment

  • Conveniently located between hotels and train stations

  • You eat in comfort

  • Open at all hours

  • Foods you want, served how you like them

  • Businessmen's lunches

  • Meals at all hours

  • Specializing in coffee, waffles, steaks and pies

  • Family Sunday dinners

  • Mr. and Mrs. Stephens are there to welcome you.

  • Powerful air circulator changes air every minute

  • They will personally supervise the serving of all meals.

  • If you aren't treated as an honored guest, they want to know it.





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 restaurant ventures.


It's 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 his residences.



The Stephens Family Moves to Dallas  - "We 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 Dolores.


In a Jan. 21, 1965 article in the DAILY OKLAHOMAN, titled 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 owing everybody."

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..."  Pig Stands were the forerunners of our drive-in restaurants.

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 Antonio.) 

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,  Barbecue: 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.

It's 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 quietly and gradually, like the twinkling stars at dawn, but dragging out over decades.

The Jesse G. Kirby Story (compiled 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 the county. 

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 so lazy they don't want to get out of them to eat."

Kirby, who had built his reputation as a wholesaler in candy 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 established.  Jackson 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.

So in 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 pork sandwich. 

The first stand was a 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 grand opening.

Photo 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, 2007, U. of North Texas Libraries.
(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 “drive-in restaurant.”

In 1924, Kirby built a second stand in Dallas. Pig Stand No. 2 opened near the center of town—1301 Zang Blvd. 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 enterprise.



*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 California, Louisiana, 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, Circa mid-1920s
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 large two-billboard advertisement that runs behind the stand.
Place your cursor on the image to show the Pig Stand isolated.

The above photo, courtesy of  Barbecue: The History of an American Institution by Robert Moss, (2010), 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.



The same 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.


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, 2007, U. of North Texas Libraries.  (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.)


Pig Stand No. 2 at Zang & Bishop
Circa mid-1920s

This is a rear view of the same stand taken at night from between the stand and the large billboards seen in the first photo.
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.


"Credit is often 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 innovativeness."

Kirby 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,

“Give 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 that had “opened less than thirty months ago” ran in the Dallas Morning News on October 12, 1924.

The math 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 lawsuit.



Image of the Claude Neon Co. sign courtesy of "The American Drive-in" by Michael Karl Witzel (1992)




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.  

Did he get hired by Kirby's Pig Stand company?

By 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.) 

The 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 and instructions to manage their own stand as well.   The popularity of Jesse Kirby's Pig Stands spread like wildfire in all directions. 

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, it 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 neighborhoods.

    To 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 bags.

    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 quality.

     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. 

They're 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 different times.


The Oct. 12, 1924 ad above mentions a Pig Stand in Jacksonville, Florida.  This was Pig Stand #71 seen below.

Photo courtesy of  Barbecue: 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 right.  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 (1996).


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 Pig Sandwich; this was probably a cafe or or small restaurant taking advantage of the Pig Stand name.



 DEATH 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 restaurateurs.

Pig Stand Locations compiled by Daniel Vaughn

  #1A Dallas, the original opened in 1921 or 1922 on Fort Worth Pike (now Davis) at Chalk Hill Rd.

  #1B Dallas at 1400 Second Ave. at Trezevant (demolished to make way for Fair Park expansion)

    #2 Dallas at 1301 N. Zang and Bishop (now Colorado)

    #3 Dallas at 5119 East Grand Ave.

    #4 Dallas at 3715 Greenville

    #5 Dallas at 3702 Maple Ave.

    #7 Houston at Washington and Sawyer

  #10 Beaumont at Port Arthur Rd. & Highland

 #11 Fort Worth at 643 North Main St.  

#12 Fort Worth at 1615 Park Place

#13 Fort Worth at 2736 W. Seventh (became Randolph’s Bar-B-Cue in the 80’s, then Stagecoach BBQ in 1991)

#15 Dallas at 4605 McKinney & Knox

#15 Dallas at 736 W. Jefferson

#18 Los Angeles

#23 Beaumont

#25 Dallas at Gaston and Grand (air conditioned)

#28 Dallas at 1611 Forest Ave.

#29 San Antonio at 1508 Broadway St.

#30 Houston at 4803 Main.

#38 Dallas at 4017 Oak Lawn

#41 Beaumont at 1955 Calder

#42 Dallas at 1907 S. Buckner

#42 Fort Worth at 2320 E. Belknap

#49 Beaumont

#50 Dallas at Abrams and Northwest Hwy. (Last location in Dallas. Closed 8/25/1985)

#71 Jacksonville, Fla.

#? Dallas at 1801 S. Ewing

#? Dallas 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 Sandwich.”

(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 states. 


Menu from Pig Stand #28 at 1611 Forest Ave. in Dallas.

Dallas Historical Society, et al. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Vol. 19, No. 01, Spring, 2007, Michael V. Hazel, editor, Journal/Magazine /Newsletter, 2007;  : accessed Nov. 9, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, crediting Dallas Historical Society, Dallas, Texas.


Pig Stand #2 in Dallas, after 1928 franchise-wide redesign.
"No.2" can be seen on the center sign in both faces of the building.
With this design, the building set back from the street a considerable distance, "head in" parking was possible and curbside service became less frequent.  Photo is courtesy of Texas Monthly, "The 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 Heimann.


Pig Stand #29 in San Antonio, TX
Notice the similarity in basic structure to the early McDonalds design.

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 Monthly, "The History of the Pig Stands" -- America's motor lunch., By Daniel Vaughn.


Photo courtesy of Car Hops & Curb Service by Jim Heimann (1996)

“Give a little pig a chance, and it will make a hog of itself.” -- J. G. Kirby


The Stephenses in Hannibal, Mo.

Before 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." Stephens recalled.

(Ride to Top Bit Bumpy, But Worth It Jan. 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.

[A 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" sauce.]

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.

The First Goody Goody Barbecue in Hannibal, Mo.

Ride to Top Bit Bumpy, But Worth It
In June, 1925, the "Goody Goody" barbecue 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" Stephens recalled.  

No doubt his father-in-law, a carpenter, would have played a major role in designing and building the stand. 

Ralph's decision to go with barbecue could only have come from his exposure to it in Dallas; none of his prior restaurants mention barbecue.


Goody Goody Barbecue, Hannibal, Missouri
Photo courtesy of RetroMetro Oklahoma City

Notice the nearly identical design as the early Kirby Pig Stands.


Goody Goody 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 stand.  Photo from RetroMetro Oklahoma City


When Did the Stephenses Arrive in Hannibal?

Evidently 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. 

It 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 interview.

Taking into 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
Around the 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.

A fourth Pig Stand opened April 1929

Pig Stand 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 be reassigned.


This was a fifth one and was built in the new pagoda design with tile roof.


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 does he?)

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.

"Business 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."

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.

Ralph's Goody Goody Didn't Sit Abandoned After he Left for Florida

City 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 school boys.

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 home.
The building was approximate where you see the rooftop of the church to the left of the SUV.

This rear view below from Hawkins Ave. shows the retaining wall that was behind the Goody Goody stand.


Aerial view


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. 

That sauce (and Amanda's pies) would be the common thread for ALL the Goody Goodys everywhere, to this day. 

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 Dolores Restaurant. 

A blogger 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.

So with that in mind, here is some evidence that presents an extremely likely source of the iconic name, "Goody Goody"...


Enter: Harry Earl Grigsby

Harry E. Grigsby was born in Miltonvale, Cloud Co, Kansas 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 Center, Kansas

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. 


AT LEFT:  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 various records.


On Jan. 17, 1909, their son Harry Orval Grigsby was born in Oklahoma City.


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.

Hopefully, Harry was eventually granted the divorce because on May 23, 1910, 18 yr. old Lillie Grigsby married 22 yr. old Charlie Hill in OK City.  Little Harry O. would have been around 16 mos. old. 

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 Grigsby.

Meanwhile, "Back at the Ranch"
1910 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 time.  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 Harry was listed as single.



Harry Grigsby Remarries

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.

Harry Has a Row With Pool Hall Owner
The 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 his short order stand.

Harry 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 partition.

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 last week.

Harry charged Sims with assault and destruction of property.  No outcome of the situation has been located, perhaps they settled out of court.

*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

Harry had 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 farmer's market.

Put your mouse pointer on the ad to unscramble it

Looks like Harry's Chili sandwich had become somewhat famous by this time.

The 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.

In 1915, Ralph Stephens was either still in KC working as a presser in a dye shop, or working at his father's Western Hotel in OK City, or somewhere in between.


A month later, Harry went back home to visit with old friends.

WW1 Draft Registration

On 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..

Harry 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.




Prior 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 free admission.



Harry 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."

No. 1 was his location in the California Ave. Market Place in 1915.

No. 2 was in Enid, OK which is about 75 miles NNW of OKC.

No. 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.

During 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

On 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 Estate.  This area was about two miles north of the center of town.


Right: From this ad in June, 1922, we see Harry was renting out the west side of his Goody Goody Lunch stand at 111 W. California Ave

By this time Ralph Stephens was owner of the Puritan just a couple of blocks away, and 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.



The One and Original Goody Goody Chili Sandwich!
It's Copyrighted!

Harry 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 mayonnaise dressing.

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 chili sandwich.

The process could be patented, and the names of both the process and the sandwich could be trademarked, but only if each were unique.  (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 sandwich.

At right: A report of U.S. Copyrights for 1923 at Google books shows Harry obtained the copyright on Nov. 12, 1923.


Ralph Stephens
Ralph 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 Law

In 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.

There are 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 "neighborhood crime 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 foot.

Harry seems to have had some sort of position with the local law enforcement agency as a "Scout Car Officer."  Harry would have been around 38 at the time of the first incident, around 46 at the time of the second one.


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 located.

Later in this feature you will learn the context of this event--one of Harry's "crusades."


1930 Census of Harry & Jennie Grigsby

Harry 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.

He 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 & Corruption

In 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 Government."


By June 17, the press had picked up on Harry's Goody Goody, using it as his parenthetical middle name.






On 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 hill.

According to the article above, Harry 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 organizing a 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 be determined.) 

Harry had 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, click here.

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

This 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." (weeks?) 

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.

The 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 "hucksters."



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 Hall

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 owners. In August, 1933, Harry protested the city's proposed tax on beer.  Oklahoma had been a "dry" state from the day it achieved statehood, but it did allow beer sales of 3.2% alcohol beer for consumption at point of sale and for take home.  The Federal Government as well as the state, in licensing sellers, was already collecting heavy taxes.  Harry challenged the legality of the city's additional taxation of requiring a city license and received a temporary restraining order until a local judge could rule on it.


At right:  Harry was backed by the Oklahoma Beer Dealers' Association.  The proposed City ordinance assessed a tax of $15 per year for dealers selling for consumption on their premises and $10 per year for others.


Below:  The City's brief in defense of the tax was to be filed the next day, Sep. 7, 1933


Clearly, Harry was counting on winning this one, as seen by his WANTED ad of Dec. 10, 1933  


Seven months later, Judge Hooker had heard both sides of the argument and took the matter under advisement (think about it, possibly do additional research and render a ruling or decision later.) Meanwhile, the city councilmen were already plotting their next move--to forbid the sale of beer where the public is allowed to to dance.  (Which would affect Harry again.) More than one councilman favored this plan or a similar one "in order to combat the growing evil of beer gardens where drunkenness and disorderly conduct are persistently reported."  Then there were some who doubted that would be legal because "beer is adjudged legal and non-intoxicating."

Victory for Grigsby and the Beer Gardens of OK City
This article has been edited due to it's length.  See the whole article here.
Click it when it opens to see it full size.



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 district.


The 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 clothed."


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 built.

"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 following Tuesday.

Nov. 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 owners attorney. 

Ultimately, it came down to the cot house dwellers 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."

By 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 cafe.

He also owned the Grigsby Hotel he had built where he had been living in previous years at 418 Reno.


1940 Census of Harry & Jennie Grigsby
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 under $20.


Harry Registers for the WW2 Draft in 1942

This was a category of draft registration for men born between April 28, 1877 to Feb. 16, 1897.  These would be men who were age 45 to 65 at that time.  Harry was 52.

This time Harry indicated he was born in 1890.  His WW1 draft registration showed 1891.

Harry indicated here for his occupation "None - retired."

Death of Harry Grigsby

Harry died at his home on May 18, 1949 at the age of 59; he had been suffering with ill health for three years, which is  how long the article says he had been retired.  It says he had operated his Goody Goody lunch room at 111 W. California Ave. up until his retirement.  Based on the article's info, he operated his Goody Goody at California Ave. until 1946.

He was described as an enthusiastic sportsman, a member of the Capital City gun club, a Mason and a life member of the Knights of Pythias.  He was a past patron of the Fidelis Chapter of the Eastern Star Lodge and a member of the Methodist church.

Harry was survived by his wife Jennie, sisters Docia Price of OK City and Thurza Wilkins of Clay Center, Kansas.  No mention was made of his son Harry Orval Grigsby from his prior marriage to Lillie Metz.  Perhaps this was not publicly known or even something Jennie was aware of.

Was Ralph Stephens Aware of Grigsby's Success?

Now 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 Puritan. 

If 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 Docia Price.




The 100 through 300 blocks of California Ave. today are replaced by the Myriad Botanical Gardens and the Cox Convention Center.

Harry's Goody Goody stand at 5 N Broadway was almost across the street from the Puritan lunch room location.  Ralph Stephens 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?"



Goody Goody p1   |     Goody Goody Roots p.2 (This page.)

 Goody Old Days p.3 Stephens brings Goody Goody to Tampa & the Stayer Years

The End of an Era:  Last Day p1    |   Last Day p2   |   Last Day p3   |  Last Day p4  |  Demolition 

Behind the Scenes - Goody Goody Layout   |  Goody Goody Family Tree 

Scene from the movie "The Punisher" filmed in the Goody Goody

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