In an increasingly urbanized world, more and more people are exploring the rarefied charms of Main Street, America. Rich with culture, history and quirk, Ardmore offers a nostalgia seeker’s scavenger hunt like no other.
The Greater Southwest Historical Museum offers a vintage snapshot of a bygone era, featuring artifacts illuminating frontier life in South Central Oklahoma since before statehood. “From the Ashes” is a permanent self-guided exhibition devoted to the two great fires that Ardmore survived more than a century ago. Meanwhile, inside the Historical Museum is the Military Memorial Museum, with a detailed look at U.S. combat through the centuries, from the American Revolution through the second Iraq War.
Ardmore’s historic Main Street is a rich patchwork of restored and repurposed spaces, now home to locally owned boutiques, antiquaries, restaurants and used bookstores, perfect for a relaxing day of shopping.
Cloverleaf Antiques and Imports is a vivid sensory experience, with a dizzying array of colorful curios and eccentric wares calling from the storefront, beckoning you to take a closer look.
Built in 1916, The Santa Fe Train Depot is one of Ardmore’s oldest and most revered buildings, and it’s still operational today, hosting daily stops from Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer. Be sure to look for the stand-alone elevator cart and the art-covered buffalo sculpture.
The abandoned Collings Castle at Turner Falls, just around the corner from Ardmore in Davis, OK, will make any history or architecture buff’s head spin. Lording over the bend at Honey Creek leading into the waterfalls’ base, this fascinating monument was built in the early 1930s by Dr. Ellsworth Collings, a University of Oklahoma professor. Inside the park at Turner Falls, it’s a short hike up the mountain to the Castle.
The Eliza Cruce Hall Doll Collection, hidden in the Ardmore Public Library, showcases a breathtaking array of the world’s most impressive dolls, made from porcelain, wax, wood, and leather, including some of Marie Antoinette’s own hand-carved French dolls.
The Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum boasts the world’s largest private collection of Gene Autry memorabilia, in addition to vintage and modern collectibles from many of the other famous “Singing Cowboys” from the ‘30s, ’40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.
In addition to providing a recording space for musicians, One Truth Studio & Vintage Music on Main Street sells a selection of vintage instruments, from acoustic guitars to saxophones, making it a great place to visit for collectors and musicians alike.