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YWCA location in OKC was once Log Cabin Park

Mary Phillips Published: March 11, 2013

If motorists whizzing along NW 39 Street look on the south side of the 2600 block, they will see the YWCA Gaylord Service Complex.

But imagine traveling in a time machine back to 1924. That same stretch of highway would be only a two-lane road, and where the YWCA sits now, there might have been only a grand opening sign with a family park for a backdrop.

The formal opening of Log Cabin Park was announced in an advertisement in The Oklahoman on April 19, 1924, touting the park as “a paradise for tourists.”

Another ad encouraged readers to come out to “this close-in Tourist Park” and listed the availability of gasoline, oil and tires from the station and touted the “Log Cabin Inn — We’re going to make it worth your while.”

An image that accompanied the ad shows a two-story log building with an awning that extends over gas pumps.

The park featured a free baseball game on Sunday, political speaking Tuesday evening by Democratic candidates and offered free ice cold lemonade all day every Sunday.

By September, the ads were featuring a cafe and a promotion that read, “You can eat our wholesome meals or cook yourself. The kids can romp and play and yell their heads off.”

For more than a decade, Log Cabin Park was a destination for Sunday drives and a popular spot for company picnics. In the 1930s, boxers trained in the Log Cabin ring. If you didn’t have a car, the street cars would take you there.

Times changed, and the Log Cabin Inn gave way to the Log Cabin Theater in 1941. It was Oklahoma City’s movie theater of choice for artsy movies, although it showed regular fare, too.

In April 1950, the theater name was changed to the Frontier, and it continued showing movies until it burned in 1954.

The land changed hands, and the Rio Motel was built on the site in 1957.

In 1988, the YWCA bought the old motel and remodeled it for their battered women’s shelter.

The site at 2640 NW 39 has had many names: Log Cabin Tire Co., Log Cabin Inn, Log Cabin Park, Log Cabin Club, Log Cabin Theater, Frontier Theater, Rio Hotel and now the YWCA Gaylord Service Complex.

The next time you pass this location, imagine a slower, simpler time with citizens enjoying an outing at the park or young people seeing a movie.