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Beard Motor Co. & Chrysler Plymouth Sign

210 East 9th St., Bristow, OK
Phone: x

East < GO > West

How do you attract business when you are located a couple blocks off the main street in town? Simple, you build a 75 foot tall sign that can be seen from even farther away. That made the sign easily seen from Main street on the west and Route 66 on the north. That was apparently before trees and buildings popped up over the years blocking the view. Today it is most easily spotted by looking east from Main Street at 9th Ave.

Lighted lettering on the upper section reads Chrysler vertically on the North and west sides. Under the Chrysler lettering on the west side is lettering spelling Plymouth in a horizontal line.

xThere never was any lettering on the east or south side of the sign. The sign tower resembles the oil derricks that could be found in the area. A pyramid shaped steel base supports a square vertical tower that reaches to 75 feet.

x The sign stands a few feet from the Art Moderne building that was built for the Beard Motor Company which later became Bristow Chrysler Plymouth. The dealership also sold GMC trucks at some point. The business was owned by founding partners Hubert "Red" Beard and Wat Henry. Beard was apparently the public face of the company with Henry being more of a silent partner. The building was constructed in 1945 and early 1946 and the sign was built in 1948 or 1949.

In 1950 the Bristow Record-Citizen Newspaper described Beard as a "Master Magician" referring to his performance at a VFW comedy show. On October 17, 1951 Hubert "Red" Beard and a friend were killed in a plane crash at Monarch Pass in Colorado on their way back from a deer hunting trip. Beard, who was at the plane's controls, was an experienced pilot.

Sometime after Beard's passing, his partner, Wat Henry closed or sold the business. In June of 1952 the Ralph Byrd Motor Company, Chrysler, a Plymouth and GMC Trucks dealer was operating at this location.

By June of 1955 Wat Henry, Inc was advertising International Harvester window style Air Conditioners at this address with the tag line "Formerly Ralph Byrd Motors".

A bowling alley operated here from late 1959 and into the 1960s.

In 1971 the Krumme Oil Company bought the property and as of fall 2019 was still occupying the building.

As a bit of a side note, there had also been a Krumme Truck and Implement at 207 E. 7th just two blocks from the Beard location. Krumme Truck and Implement not only sold International trucks but also Oldsmobile and Wullys cars as well. But Krumme Truck and Implement didn't operate out of this building.

It was placed on the NRHP in 2004.

Photo(s): 2016



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.