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Looking back to the future of Bricktown

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: February 5, 2008
Chuck Davis, a longtime columnist for The Oklahoman, passed away several years ago. Recently I stumbled upon one of his writings from 1989 — "Bricktown Could Be Like Dallas' West End.” And in light of Oklahoma City's effort to draw up a new master plan for Bricktown, it's enlightening almost two decades later to read Chuck's thoughts.

But unlike 1989, it's Bricktown that's thriving, and West End that is on life support. The West End Marketplace has remained closed since June 2006. Dick's Last Resort and most of the other West End attractions that captured Chuck's eye are long gone. And so it is that we begin with a 1989 headline that is now a cautionary tale, rather than hope as expressed by Chuck.

Now, with no further comment — here's the rest of Chuck Davis on Bricktown (minus his habit of adding quotes from famous people):

The historic West End in Dallas is just five blocks long and four blocks wide.

It stretches from McKinney Avenue on the north to Elm Street on the south, from Houston Street on the west to Lamar Street on the east. A small area in a great city. But we in Oklahoma City can learn a lot from this little bit of Texas.

The West End today is what Oklahoma City's Bricktown could be tomorrow. But why wish and hope and dream? We could make it happen.

Let's take a closer look at just some of the things one can find in the West End: Under the Woodall Rodgers Freeway are Newport's, a renovated brewery that is famous for its seafood; Kuby's, with authentic German food and live entertainment every night; the Starck Club, good for people watching and high-tech disco dancing; and the Prohibition Room, featuring billiards, live music and dancing.

In the West End Marketplace (surrounded by McKinney, Record Street, Munger Avenue and Lamar) are: Alley Cats, a popular sing-along bar; Back Stage, a quiet piano bar; Froggy Bottoms, live rhythm and blues; and the Boiler Room, featuring disco dancing. And more. One cover charge admits you to each of the Dallas Alley clubs.

Bubble's Beach Diner, a classic roadside diner with Art Deco decor.

Frillz, featuring hand-painted clothing; Satin & Lace & Funny Face, with hand-painted porcelain-and-fabric dolls; Cajun Connection, books and spices; Dallas Western Wear, with jeans, boots and hats; and D.B.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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