MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 6, 2014

Porter block knocked off

Residents watch, reminisce during demolition

PORTER — Historic buildings were demolished Monday as Porter and Wagoner County officials seek economic opportunities.

“I know we are tearing down history today, but sometimes good things come to an end to begin something new,” said Alan Parnell, chairman of the Wagoner County Economic Development Authority.

One block of old buildings was razed to open space on Main Street for future development, Parnell said.

A private investor bought the property for a potential retail business, Parnell said.

Porter Town Council members, county officials and Porter residents gathered to watch a track hoe knock down buildings. Several people stepped into the buildings one last time.

“There was a John Deere dealership, Moody & Co., at one end, next to Food City,”  Mayor Richard Keck said. “Claude Allen had a welding shop. I could remember going into Moody & Co. all the time. I remember hanging out at Claude Allen’s and watching him weld.”

A bank that once stood at the corner later became a value store, he said.

A popular bar was at the other end of the block.

Julie Dickey recalled singing karaoke at the bar.

“The bar closed about six years ago,” Dickey said, adding that she could not recall the name of the bar.

“We just called it Porter bar,” she said.

Rodger Reaves, who watched the demolition from under a shade tree, said some of the buildings were more than 100 years old.

“There used to be a blacksmith shop,” Reaves said. “It’s a shame it has to go.”

Longtime resident Mike Boyd said he could recall when Porter was “a thriving city.”

“It was very busy, a lot of business here in town,” Boyd said. “We had a hardware store, a clothing store.”

He said Porter business dropped when the Muskogee Turnpike was built north of town.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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