The Dobson Digest is a new weekly column featuring regional historical tidbits supplied by the Dobson Memorial Center Museum and Home in Miami.
The annual Miami, Oklahoma Sidewalk Sale has a long history. Did you know it began in 1958?
Fifty years ago, in August 1967, the stage was being set for the 9th annual sale…
A popular column that appeared for years on the front page of the Miami News-Record called “From the Clutter” included this entry:
Sam Fox parodied the familiar Christmas poem in anticipation of the annual Sidewalk Sale:
‘Twas the night before sale day, and all through the town, merchants were hoping rain wouldn’t come down,
The shoppers were anxious, all snug in their glee that bargains galore on the morrow they’d see.
The Chamber of Commerce, with pleasure in mind, had planned 10-cent rides of the carnival kind,
Clubs worked on counters o’er which they would sell hot dogs and Cokes, cotton candy as well,
Policemen were planning to close off Main street, south two blocks, north three from Central to greet
Shoppers who’d jump up from beds before dawn to be first in the line ‘fore the bargains were gone.
The 12-hour sale will begin right at six, and the crowds will converge, and mingle and mix
Until, 12 hours later, they finally quit, and exhausted employees gasp, “we’ve had it!”
The shoppers, with good piled high o’er their heads, will go home, and sales clerks will wearily plop in their beds.
Here are some items advertised for the sale, which began at 6 a.m.:
Home Furniture Annex, 15 East Central, offered 5-piece chrome dinette sets for $59.95 (with trade).
Jeannie’s, 23 South Main, advertised ladies’ stretch pants for $2 and Pixie shoes for 49-cents, or you could buy ladies’ Keds for $3.99 a pair, excepting white from The Hub Bootery, 23 North Main. Or how about $1.98 for a pair of P. F. Flyers or Fun-Shu canvas shoes from Ander’s Shoe Store, 27 South Main (still in operation today).
Miami Sales Co., 208 North Main, offered plastic 1-gallon jerry cans for 49-cents, a transistor radio for $5.88, baseball bats for 98-cents and an Olympic color television for $444 (with trade). It’s interesting that 50 years later you can buy a TV for under $100 or get a large HDTV at 1967 prices.
Ben Franklin, 36 North Main, had a sale on plastic drapes 2/$1 including valance. A Teflon frying pan sold for $1.66.
Faulkenberry’s, 3 North Main, had a few ladies’ summer hats for $1 and fine summer dresses from $5 to $7.95.
Goodyear Service Store, 31 South Main, featured whitewall retread tires 2 for $22.
Tri-State Discount, 101 South Main, listed New Tone house paint for $1.49 a gallon and a 12 oz. can of brake fluid for 25-cents.
Bargain Charlie’s, 20 South Main, had ‘one only’ Philco coppertone refrigerator with bottom freezer for $275 (with trade).
Martin’s, “Our Business is ‘Sound’,” 29 North Main, advertised Fender Music Master electric guitars for $89 and a Story & Clark piano for $695. A new shipment of country music albums were 88-cents.
Kemph’s, 26 North Main, had a sale on Bobbie Brooks sportswear for 1/2 price.
Ramsays’ ad said “Come a Runnin’” for half-price girdles and Jantzen skirts for 98-cents. They were located at 29 North Main.
Gibson’s Discount Center, 1601 North Main, featured 22” cut lawnmowers for $33.88, aluminum chaise lounges for $4.66, 45-piece sets of pink rose or autumn leaves Melmac dishware for $11.88 and a charcoal grill with electric spit for $18.88. Champion motor oil was 25-cents a quart.
Belks, 19 North Main, had ladies’ seamless nylons for 24-cents and men’s summer p-j’s for $2.
Wiley-Cole Rexall Drug, 2 South Main, had bouffant hair rollers for 39-cents and a 10-pack of combs for 21 cents. (I think Osborn’s was still trying to sell those combs in the 90s).
Saft Furniture, 10 South Main, had a 3-piece end table and cocktail table set for $18.95.
Williams Hardware, 102-104 South Main, sold aluminum ice cube trays for $1 and Zebco 202 fishing reels for $2.49.
Home Furniture, 121 North Main, sold 8’ x 10’ braided wool rugs for $28.88 and Ethan Allen pine stools for $5.88.
Durham’s Ready-to-Wear, 14 North Main, had mink fur-trimmed coats on sale from $139.98 and ladies’ shift dresses for $5.88.
Louis-Price Department Store, 11 North Main, listed two-piece Orlon knit dresses for $6 and Acme cowboy boots for $5.
Hunt’s, 11 North Main, sold Bermuda shorts for $1.96 and men’s jeans for $2.94.
B&K Mens Sear, 12 North Main, featured Madras shirts for $1.
Oklahoma Tire & Supply, 16 North Main, had AC spark plugs for 49-cents and a Delmonico 332-pound upright freezer for $148.
Carselowey’s Foot Health Shop, Miami Hotel, sold big boys’ and big girls’ shoes for $3.92.
Penneys, 20 North Main, had boys’ Penn-Prest sport shirts 2 for $3 and cotton blankets for $2.
The Coleman Theatre had a sidewalk sale day Saturday morning special for 25-cents including three cartoons, the movie “Twist All Night” with a bonus “How to Twist” featurette.
And there was this tidbit on the front page the day after the sale:
Faithful to his calling, H. A. Berkey, manager of Miami’s Chamber of Commerce, was in the thick of Saturday’s sales promotion.
He could be seen dashing from one counter to another to see how things were going.
At one point Berkey was seen operating the ferris wheel as if he had spent his life on the midway.
Such is the life of a chamber manager.
(This is for whom the H. A. Berkey Industrial Park was named.)
The Dobson Museum salutes Volunteer of the Month, Janet Humphrey, who has also served on the board for eight years.
The center is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Admission is free.
Let’s make history together!