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Sizzling canines, burgers, ice cream and love, all at The Large Dipper

By Don Diehl

Creator’s Notice: That is an expanded model of a narrative and publish that first appeared on The Sapulpa Information and Views Fb web page half a dozen years in the past. It was one among his most seen posts of all time, particularly after Route 66 fans from close to and much started sharing it on social media. There have been greater than 10,000 visits in a interval of three months.

A lot love has blossomed beneath the constellation of stars referred to as “The Large Dipper”. And likewise, many relationships at sizzling canine stands, burger joints, and malt joints alongside the well-known Route 66.

Hosted by:

It appears written within the stars.

So it was with Kay Tharp and Sam Johnston greater than 60 years in the past. Kay’s mother and pa, Doc and Vernie Tharp, operated The Large Dipper restaurant till the late Nineteen Fifties earlier than it was bought after which closed a short while later. (In the present day, the lot is occupied by a constructing Sonic vacated when he moved to the nook of Dewey and Mission, nonetheless in operation on 66.)

The Tharps had moved to Sapulpa from Colorado in 1944 in order that Doc may be a part of his brothers Garland and Fred within the Tharp Dairy operation. Kay was 4 years previous. Doc Tharp would later purchase out the 2 brothers from him. In 1948 he bought the dairy to Hawks Dairy and determined to construct a drive-thru on the southeast nook of Dewey Ave. [Rt. 66] and Maple Road.

It was there one night time as they have been considering learn how to title the place, somebody regarded up and observed the brilliant stars that made up the constellation referred to as The Large Dipper.

“Why not title it like that?” one other requested. The title caught and the restaurant turned a well-liked consuming spot and hangout for younger folks in Sapulpa on the well-known Ruta.

The Large Dipper was a mainstay on the Sapulpa cruise route within the late Nineteen Fifties. The drive-in restaurant featured the favored Sloppy Joes, in addition to sizzling canines, hamburgers, fries, fountain drinks, and sundaes. There have been brownies and different treats from Tasty Pastry on Most important Road, which additionally baked hotdogs and hamburger buns for the drive-in. The ice cream merchandise got here from Hawks Dairy. That 1948 Ford parked subsequent door was in all probability Doc’s automobile.

Kay and her sister Carol Tharp McClure of Owasso mainly grew up at The Large Dipper the place they labored earlier than and after college daily and on Saturdays. Kay Berryhill Donathan and different space residents additionally labored there when some have been youngsters. The drive-in was open till 10pm most nights and people with homework in fact needed to care for college.

“Every night time you needed to put together as much as two gallons of chopped onions for the subsequent day’s hotdogs and hamburgers,” Kay mentioned.

The sisters additionally recall two U-shaped seating preparations that seat 10 folks every.

“And I bear in mind all these youngsters from close by Washington College,” Kay mentioned.

These have been youthful than the hot-rodders and cruisers who additionally stopped in for a burger or milkshake, and a younger man in his 1955 Chevy who got here by recurrently to see Kay.

There was a jukebox loaded with the newest 45rpm hits (right now’s golden classics, certain) the place a dime would purchase you a single music or six for twenty-five cents.

Via the glass you can see a shelf with recent loaves of bread and pastries from the Pastelería Sabrosa Sapulpa. The bakery on Most important Road (the place the Down Legislation Workplace is right now) additionally offered the buns for the canines and the burgers and candy muffins.

“Brownies have been very fashionable,” remembers Kay. And rum cake.

Elementary college students at Washington College have been in grades 1-8. Households, locals and vacationers additionally attended the drive-in, one among a number of alongside the part of Route 66 via Sapulpa. Some, however not The Dipper, featured curbside service.

Tharp bought his ice cream combine from Hawk’s and made a few of his favorites.

“Dad would have been Braum’s if he had stayed with him,” Kay mentioned.

Doc bought the restaurant in 1957 and opened a automobile dealership. He dealt with gross sales for Nash and Studebaker for some time after which opened a radiator store.

“Seems to be prefer it was a ’55 Chevy I had again then,” Sam Johnston mentioned. “My first automobile was a 1949 Ford.”

In any case, it was at The Large Dipper that Sam went to court docket and received the guts of his bride-to-be.

Images by Sam and Kay Johnston of Farmers Feed in Sapulpa. They met at “The Large Dipper,” their mother and father’ drive-in theater, as youngsters and celebrated 63 years of marriage on June 12. This fall, the Johnstons may also have fun 50 years on the Farmers Feed Retailer. We’re placing collectively that story and it’ll comply with quickly.

Sam graduated from Sapulpa Excessive College in 1958 and Kay in 1959. On June 12 they celebrated their 63rd marriage. They’ve 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

Sam is a Creek Countian for all times. He was born in 1939 within the previous Municipal Hospital of Sapulpa and was one of many numerous infants that Dr. Longmier gave beginning to. After graduating, Sam went to public sale college and was an area auctioneer for 25 years. His household owned Mid-America Horse Gross sales in Bristow, later referred to as Mid-American Stockyards. The fourth technology enterprise was run by Sam’s sister Helen Marie Varner and her husband Jerry (deceased) and her household.

Along with the historical past of romance on Route 66 and now 63 years of marital bliss, the Johnstons will quickly have fun one other anniversary: ​​50 years of working one among Creek County’s longest-running and endearing enterprise ventures: Farmers Feed at 121 North Most important in Sapulpa. That story is within the making. In the meantime, a whole lot have responded to posts on the Information and Views Fb web page with congratulations, properly needs and regards.

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