“So, where you from?”

“Frazer Buttermilk Altus Leger.”

“Nice town, I hear.”


The town that would later be named Altus was founded in 1886. The community was originally called "Frazer", a settlement of about 50 people on Bitter Creek that served as a trading post on the Great Western Cattle Trail. Cowboys driving herds northward often stopped to buy buttermilk from John McClearan. Thus, the town was known locally as "Buttermilk Station".

A flash flood nearly destroyed Frazer on June 4, 1891. The residents moved to higher ground 2.5 miles east of the original site. W. R. Baucum suggested renaming the town "Altus", a Latin word meaning "high". This name stuck, although the town was also known as "Leger" from July 10, 1901, to May 14, 1904.

What can we glean from this?

Urban renewal, or downtown beautification. Sidewalks or parking turned to vegetation. A fairly recent storefront renovation. Interesting angle on the corner; seems too small for an entrance.

It was the opera house.

Adjacent: Looks like they stripped off the modernizing part but didn’t bother touching up the damage.


From an obit:

When Hatton McMahan, age 84, passed away on Friday, March 15, 2013, at the Tamarack Assisted Living Center, Altus lost an excellent banker, a civic-minded citizen, and a wonderful man. McMahan was born in Altus, Oklahoma, on October 11, 1928, to Hatton and Adella (Minor) McMahan. He was a third generation native of Altus, the descendant of pioneers J. R. McMahan and Fredrick W. Minor.

And there's also FOWLER, the other investor:

He was a doctor. His house is now a B&B.



Yhis place was full of proud developers:


J. M. Julian. He was a grocer, so I assume that’s what this building was.

I don’t know what Howell did to deserve jail time.

That's so awful. The only thing that makes it even worse is the suspicion that the architect was pleased with it.

Nowadays we’d just assume they had riots:

Off-the-shelf ornamentation, but a nice touch.

Surely it was a hotel? Yes:

Along Main Street in Altus sits the Towers Apartments, previously known as The New Orient Hotel, which longtime resident Debra Borders says was a hot spot for visitors from all of the surrounding towns.

"They had different shops in the lower floor. They had several different shops. There was an Altus floral and they also did bridal registries there. They also had a children’s store there. I remember coming in under that portico and you would come in and go to the right and see the children’s clothing,” Borders said.





Strikingly modern, as people say when they want to sound more complimentary than they actually feel:

Nice letters.

The NBC bank building. Gave people a nice sense of town prosperity when it went up.

I guess we know which type of brick cost more.

Looks as if the Google car happened to catch it between removal of the old facade and its imminent renovation.

Not so. It’s been like this for years. Interesting how you can read the remnants of the pediment over the door; no doubt a bank.

Previously: cruelty.


When your three-year-old names the building:

“He said Boadway and that’s what he meant and that’s what you’ll put on the wall!”

We all know what this was, don’t we.






Stout lady in a tutu.


"Church" being the last role before rehabbing:

Says a cinema treasures contributor:

Circling the Altus Town Square were once four theatres, one on each side. Among these the Plaza Theatre is the only remaining theatre. Originally designed in plain Spanish Colonial styling, it was later redecorated inside/out in dull Streamline Moderne style.

It has faded comedy-tragedy masks.

I’m interested in those other three theaters. What must it have been like to head downtown on a Saturday night in the summer? I know where I’d end up after the show.