Fun Facts

Every town has its stories and Bristow is no exception. Here's a few we've heard. Check back often because we're always collecting more! Got a story? Send it to us at

Route 66
Weird Laws

Famous People

Gene Autry
This famous cowboy crooner lived in Bristow for a time and worked as a telegrapher at the Frisco Depot which now houses the Bristow Chamber of Commerce. He was later transferred to Sapulpa. While working at a Frisco station in Chelsea, Autry was accidentally discovered by Will Rogers as Rogers passed through and noticed Autry's guitar and asked Autry to play a tune to pass the time while awaiting the next train. Rogers was so impressed he mentioned Autry on his national radio show and from there Autry had his ticket to fame.

Bob Wills
Hamburger King on Route 66 at the corner of Main and 4th Street was the favorite haunt of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys when touring between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Russ' Ribs is now housed in these famous walls and brings a fame of its own with barbeque that's raved about up and down Route 66.

Eleanor Roosevelt
The Lake Mesina Amphitheater was built by the CCC and the NYA in 1937, one of the first youth projects completed. Eleanor Roosevelt came to Bristow to dedicate the project in March 1937. (Taken from Bristow History Tour brochure)

Norma Smallwood, Miss America of 1925
The spanish-style Smallwood House on 4th Street as it turns into Roland Street is the former home of Norma Smallwood, Miss America of 1925. She was the second wife of Thomas Gilcrease of Gilcrease Museum fame. (Taken from Bristow History Tour brochure)

Pretty Boy Floyd
Charles Arthur Floyd, known by such names as "Pretty Boy Floyd" "Choctah" or "Choc", frequented these parts, purportedly to see a notable local doctor who is surmised by some to have discretely treated the outlaw element. Floyd robbed the bank of nearby boom town Shamrock, and was seen casing the Depew Bank from the Post Office, though he never robbed it.

William Jennings Bryan
American "populist" political leader that ran for presidency many times but failed, William Jennings Bryan was in Bristow, OK at the Frisco Depot in 1908. Eventually, the nation adopted many of the reforms he urged—the income tax, popular election of Senators, woman suffrage, public knowledge of newspaper ownership, and prohibition. (Credit:

Bryan was noted for his "Cross of Gold" speech. "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold" (Full text of speech can be found at

Harry S. Truman
Harry Truman delivered a whistle stop speech here (at Bristow's Frisco Depot) while campaigning. (Taken from Bristow History Tour brochure)

Tom Paxton
This highly acclaimed very influential folksinger moved to Bristow in 1948 when he was ten and graduated from Bristow High. See his complete info at Tom Paxton website.

Dennis Mansker
This author of "A Bad Attitude: A Novel from the Vietnam War" humbly considers himself only "almost famous". He lived with his parents on a dairy farm north of town and went to Edison Elementary from 1951-1955, until moving away to the Pacific Northwest when he was ten. To this day
he has many pleasant memories of what he considers his "home town".
A copy of his novel is in the Bristow Library and is soon to be a major motion picture. For details, see


Brick Roads
Bristow has more brick roads than any other Oklahoma town.

Trading Post Turned Town
Bristow started in 1897 as a trading post on Creek land in Indian Territory and was known as the "Woodland Queen". The town was founded in 1901 and named after J.L. Bristow, Asst Postmaster General.

Saturday Town
In its early days, Bristow was the largest cotton shipping center in Creek County, and the marketing center of the farming country thirty miles square. This earned it the reputation as the biggest Saturday town in the State of Oklahoma. Few Saturdays passed without street congestion in Bristow.

Oklahoma's First Radio Station
Bristow was the site of Oklahoma’s first radio station, KRFU “The Voice of Oklahoma;” which was renamed KVOO and moved to Tulsa in 1927.

First White Birth
In March 1889 C. O. Crane, a general merchant from Sapulpa, established the first general store near the northwest corner of what was later to become the intersection of 6th and Main Streets. In was in this house on August 11, 1889 that his daughter, Bessie Crane, was born. She was the first white child born in Woodland Queen.


OKPRI Paranormal Investigation at Depot Museum
On August 26, 2006, members of OKPRI ( did an investigation at the historical Depot Museum at 1 Railroad Place. The group's psychic, OKPRI founder and director, Christy Selfridge, indicated that she picked up on two impressions or residuals that could be attached to some of the donated items in the museum and one intelligent. She explained that an intelligent is a spiritual being that has the capability to interact and communicate while residuals are like a point in time that replays like watching a movie.

One residual was detected in the south end of the museum and was of a young couple in their twenties arguing. Selfridge believes they were perhaps man and wife from the early 1940s and the man was leaving her and she was begging him to stay. The other residual happened in the north end of the depot and was again a couple but with darker skin, perhaps African American or Native American descent. The man, approximately late 30s or early 40s, was angry over either word or deed that he felt was an injustice and his smaller, lighter complected wife, or female companion was attempting to calm him down and get him to think before he acted.

The intelligent, however, was a middle aged man that Selfridge indicated was pacing agitatedly in the mid portion of the depot. He was clean shaven, light brown hair, denim overalls and a light colored cap that was flat on the top perhaps from the 60s era. He was sullen and wouldn’t speak with her but she sensed he didn’t appreciate all the bustle and intrusion and preferred the quiet and wanted everyone to leave. He paced continually watching the investigation. Selfridge said though he was resentful of the intrusion, he was not a spirit to be feared and would cause no harm. That he was merely territorial or protective of his domain. The woman who works at the Depot Museum has dubbed him "Charlie". If ever you are in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by and tell Charlie hello.

Big Foot Sighting
In 1977, Big Foot sightings were reported in Vici, OK. Shortly thereafter, search parties were formed after similar sightings of an unidentified creature were reported in eastern Oklahoma near Bristow and Stilwell. Nothing was found. (Click here for more details on this and other Big Foot sightings.)

UFO Sighting
On 5/15/74 at 13:00, an object appeared for 5 Minutes. It was described as large, drab color, enormous, cigar shaped, no appendages on craft. Moving at moderately fast speed, (faster than any blimp could}. (Click here for more details on this and other Oklahoma UFO sightings)

Spontaneous Combustion?
When an elderly woman that resided on Pecan street became too feeble to live on her own, her son moved her into a trailer house near his home in Sapulpa. A former neighbor reports that shortly thereafter, the woman was found in a chair severely burned with no damage to either the chair or the trailer house. The neighbor further reported that unfortunately, the poor woman lingered a few days in the hospital before passing on. What could possibly have caused such an injury? Was this a case of spontaneous combustion?

Ghost, Gust or Goof?
A local Bristowan took photographs of some roadside ruins and had quite a start when pictures were in hand. A curious mist appeared in several shots. Was it a gust of her frosty breath on a cold morning captured by the camera, flaw of the lens, or something else? You be the judge whether it is "ghost", "gust" or "goof". Click here to view the photos.

Haunted Convenience Store
Those who manage and work at a convenience store north of town at the intersection of Route 66 and SH 48 insist that K's Corner is indeed haunted. After a lover's quarrel, it is said a young woman attempted to cross Route 66 there where K's Corner is now located and was hit and killed by a semi truck. Workers believe her restless soul lingers and claim such bizzare events as the simultaneous occurrence of the bathroom light going out and the toilet flushing on its own. Another worker claims that while in the store alone, a Hostess Sno-Ball was hurled across the store to land at her feet. A former paranormal group called PROOF investigated the location in 2004 but their findings were inconclusive. People also claim to see the young woman in the window of her nearby house, now abandoned. A former paranormal group member has plans to reinvestigate.

Route 66

Oklahoma Miles
Oklahoma has more miles of Route 66 run through it than any of the eight states that it crosses through. Originally 412 (or 420 depending on where you get your facts), after many straightenings, today there is 370 miles.

Creek County Miles
Of the 370 miles presently running through Oklahoma, Creek County has the lions share with 158.51 miles.

Miles in Bristow Zip Code
Of the 158.51 miles of Route 66 in Creek County, roughly 14 to 18 miles of it is in the Bristow zip code area, starting at the old Heyburn Trading Post area to Gypsy Crossing near Depew.

Route 66 in Bristow City Limits
Bristow's Main Street is Route 66 beginning on its East end and running down its middle to 4th Street where it turns and runs a jag on to Roland Street where it leads out of town. That stretch is approximately 2.3 miles long.

Weird Laws

Ordinance No. 328
An ordinance requiring the serving of one peanut with each glass of water at all public cafes and eating houses within the City of Bristow, Oklahoma.

Be it ordained by the Mayor and Councilmen of the City of Bristow, Oklahoma:

SECTION 1. That hereafter it shall be unlawful and a public offense for any proprietor, waiter, or waitress in any public cafe or public eating house within the City of Bristow, Oklahoma, to serve, give or deliver to any customer or patron of said cafe or eating house, a glass of water, unless there shall be served and delivered to such customer with said glass of water one peanut in the shell.

SECTION 2. Any person violating any provision of the ordinance shall be subject to be criminally prosecuted in the Police Court of the City of Bristow, Oklahoma, and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than Fifty Cents nor more than Five Dollars.

April, 1930
Ordinance Book
Page 108


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Visit Bristow, OK on Historic Route 66
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