Westward Ho!

In keeping with the tradition of pointing out towns with unusual names, I offer Slapout, Oklahoma (US Route 3, Beaver County). Back in 1972, when I lived there, I took numerous trips into the hills around the state. And one day I came across the tiny burg about which this is written. Have camera, will travel.

For more details, I have sought the assistance of Wikipedia, which reports that the land upon which part of the town sits, was homesteaded by Joseph L. Johnston. It’s on the northwest corner of the land Johnson had acquired with a government claim in 1904, three years before Oklahoma became a state.

With the construction of Highway Three across Oklahoma during the Great Depression Tom Lemmons, who had bought the Johnson homestead, moved a chicken coop to where the highway passed his land. In the chicken coop, he started a store. He told the Tulsa Tribune he had nothing else to do during the depression, so he thought he’d start a town. He named his town Nye, after the Progressive U.S. Senator Gerald Nye (R.  N.D.)

The name Slapout, according to local legend, came about because customers at the store in Nye were often told by Lemmon’s sister that the store was “slapout” of whatever they wanted. Tom Lemmons insisted his sister never used the phrase. However, the name stuck. When Tom continued to insist his side of the highway was called Nye, patrons responded that the south side of the highway could be “Slapout”, and that the north side with Lemmon’s store could be “Nye Out.”

Tom Lemmons finally gave in when a tornado came through town and only took out his Nye sign. After that, both sides were known as Slapout. Back at the census in 2000, the town had 10 inhabitants and included the Hagan Grocery on the south side of the highway.

Today, Slapout’s claim to fame is that the gas station is a regular stop for Tulsa and Oklahoma City skiers traveling to Colorado. If you use Google Maps you can get a relatively recent “street view” of the place. I say relatively recent because the gas station shows a price of $3.49 a gallon. I guess “relatively recent” would work, because my pic was from 1972. At that time gas cost under $.50 a gallon for premium, which my (now antique) used lots of! (Yes, it used to be my “daily driver.”) There are several other buildings in town, all but one “tumbledown,” including the one marked Fred’s Grocery (wonder where Hagan went?)

The roads I traveled often also contained sights interesting in their own right. Such as one of the accessible locations of the Santa Fe trail (below.)

To think that pioneers traveled these primitive roads in their Conestoga wagons and riding their horses is almost inconceivable in these days of airliners and automobiles.

The ruts of the Santa Fe Trail, above.



2 thoughts on “Westward Ho!

  1. Slapout is an interesting name for an interesting dot on the map.
    I like the last line of the Santa Fe trail sign noting that it was abandoned on completion of the SF railroad in 1880


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s