The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 October 2004

Saturday spottings (on their own shelf)

This series has gotten to the point where it's almost not unpopular, which suggests that I maybe should give it its own category. Which I did, at least for a while.

Heritage Park Mall, on the west side of Midwest City (which is on the east side of the county), has been a rather gloomy place for years now. Built for three and a half anchor tenants, they've had to make do with two: Service Merchandise, in the "half" spot, has now closed all its retail stores, and Montgomery Ward is history. And while everything in the mall isn't suffering — Dave will be happy to know that El Chico still dishes up the Tex-Mex to good crowds — the general atmosphere has been one of "So when are they going to put this place out of its misery already?"

Not so fast, Bucky. The buzz was positive today, and while no one is saying for sure until the contracts are signed, the word is that a big-box appliance store, most likely Best Buy, is going to take over the Wards spot. (Circuit City once had a store across the street, but it died quickly, and its space is now occupied by a Goodwill store.) To me it seems like an odd place for a Best Buy, which normally shuns malls, but it's a fair distance from their other stores in the area, and with the local Sight 'N Sound chain having been sold off, this might be the time for Best Buy to make its move.

I go past it every weekday morning, but it's usually an hour or so before sunrise, so I didn't notice until today that the Guest House Inn, an old motel once a fixture of the no-longer-around Classen Circle, has been torn down. I have no idea what's in store for the lot; access from I-44 is not wonderful, and I suspect that antique dealers around this area have reached a saturation point. And somehow I doubt that people wanting to crash after a night at Edna's will crawl two whole blocks to the Courtyard by Marriott.

Coming back from the supermarket, I managed to get behind not one but two purveyors of pure pollution: a first-generation Dodge Intrepid and a going-on-fifteen Mazda 929, both of whom were spewing roiling plumes of noxious white smoke into the air and into the ventilation systems of everyone who wasn't fast enough to switch to Recirculate. I don't want to hear anything more about greenhouse gases and other dubious bugaboos until somebody does something about these easily visible and highly verifiable mobile smog machines.

Posted at 6:29 PM to City Scene


TrackBack: 2:39 PM, 18 October 2004
» RIP Guest House Inn from Acorns from an Okie
The Guest House Inn, once co-owned by my parents, has passed away. I remember cleaning up trashed out rooms, mowing the lawn, checking folks in and out, etc. Not exactly heady stuff for a pre-teen/teen. I remember sitting in the office once Saturday li......[read more]

Now you're talking about my old stomping grounds. :)

Poor, poor HPM. There were always more mall walkers than shoppers. I'd always hoped it would be revitalized.

There was talk around my old neighborhood; something about homes being bought off for the expansion of the crosstown.

You are so outta sight in a far out way! Thanks for the update. :)

Posted by: Margi at 7:31 PM on 16 October 2004

The so-called Alignment D, approved in '02, will relocate the Crosstown about five or six blocks south between Villa/Agnew and I-35/I-235; the existing road will be turned into a boulevard to lead to and from downtown/Bricktown.

At least, that's the plan. Things have a way of getting out of hand where road construction in Oklahoma is concerned.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:08 PM on 16 October 2004

Being as there are presently Best Buy stores beside Crossroads and in Norman one wonders if a new store in MWC would be overkill.

One wonders if Heritage Park Mall wasn't overkill in the first place given it's close proximity to Crossroads.

Then again I for one would hate to see MWC fall by the wayside completely.

Posted by: ms7168 at 7:13 AM on 17 October 2004

I think the real problem with this mall is that lately, all the growth in the eastern half of the county is way east — Choctaw and thereabouts. On balance, a better place might have been, not in the 6600-6900 block of Reno, but around the 10000s or so (Post Road). Perhaps they were hoping to garner traffic from Oklahoma City's northeast side, but it's inconvenient to drive from, say, 23rd and MLK; you have to head all the way east to Sooner and then turn southward, or take I-35 to I-40 and then exit at Reno. It's easier just to go to Crossroads or Penn Square.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:52 AM on 17 October 2004

Ahhh....The Guest House Inn.....It owns a spot in forgotten Oklahoma City history. A poolside table was the scene of a triple murder that ended up being Bob Macy's first capital murder case in Oklahoma County. He prosecuted, and won a murder conviction, against a man named Clifford Henry Bowen. The case was so shoddy (typical Macy style) that a higher court through out the conviction. Another man from out of state, almost certainly guilty, was never tried by Macy.
http://www.outlawslegal.com/vault/trib2.htm

Mark Fuhrman ended up writing a book about the corruption of Bob Macy and company that received little attention in OKC. "Death and Justice: An Expose of Oklahoma's Death Row Machine"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060009179

It all started at the - now razed - Guest House Inn.

Posted by: mike at 4:01 AM on 18 October 2004

I bought the darn Fuhrman book some months back, read it twice, and still the name of the place didn't immediately click. I must be getting old.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:33 AM on 18 October 2004

Coming down with Sometimers', Charles?

Brain fade?

CRS?

:)

Posted by: unimpressed at 7:42 AM on 18 October 2004

Well, you'd also think I'd notice a newly-vacant lot by a freeway onramp, even at 6:40 in the morning.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:54 AM on 18 October 2004

Ahh... The Guest House. I drove by it the other day and noticed that there had been a fire there recently. I figured it was on the way out.

My family co-owned it briefly back in the 70s. I remember having to help clean up the grounds, mow the lawn, etc. That experience, along with family co-ownership of some apartments, is why I vowed never to own rental property.

Many long summer afternoons were spent painting, repairing trashed rooms and other various fun activities. Just the sort of heady stuff that a pre-teen/teen looks forward to doing.

Posted by: Allen at 2:27 PM on 18 October 2004