October, 2006 -- In October I got to do something which had been on my mind for many years -- to re-visit Erma Snyder's Lodge back in Oklahoma. In the late 40s and early 50s (probably from age 5 to 10 for me) our family was able to go to Erma's Lodge, the great retreat she built during the depression in the hills east of Heavener, near the Arkansas border. We probably usually went with family friends, the Swains, on most occasions. My memories of the place are so very vivid.
After racing at Hallett, OK we spend a day a found the place. What a treat. I must say I was prepared for anything -- either the Lodge not being at all what I remembered or the place being in sad repair. Gladly neither was the case. It was just as I remembered it (albeit smaller) and actually in very good repair. Quite a relief!
The current owner, Jim Crowder, has owned the place for about four or five years having purchased it from a woman in Oklahoma City who hadn't been using it for several years and had let it go to seed a bit. Jim is 74 and retired from one of the big electrical companies (in Arkansas). He retired after a serious on-the-job injury and is very gimpy, but tough as nails and doing much of the work himself.
Since buying the Lodge he got the plumbing working. Water is out of the river pumped up thru a couple of sand filters, and into a holding tank up the hill. But isn't potable. So they do bring in bottled drinking and cooking water. But indoor plumbing is now a reality as he completed the main floor bathroom – toilet, shower and everything.
He also re-wired everything, probably replacing work done by my father 50+ years ago. He was able to keep wiring hidden, not surface mounted. No small feat given the stone work,
Also central air conditioning has been recently added. Very nice.
A really big change is the added elevated deck. It's HUGE. You'll have to look at the pictures to appreciate how it was done. (See below for instructions on how to view all the pictures I took.)
Jim let me take all the pictures I wanted. The inside of the place is quite nice, in very, very good condition. And, it shows a woman's touch. His wife wasn't there, but clearly she keeps thing pretty tidy inside.
The prior owner had installed good aluminum windows throughout the Lodge, including all windows in the big screened-in west porch. So now that big porch is really an integral part of the main floor.
A lot of the pictures were taken to determine how much of the original furnishing were still there. But, there are quite a few furnishing items that I recall as original. Cool.
It was a real treat to get to see the place and relive childhood memories. And being able to see inside and how it's in great shape was especially rewarding. It seems Jim and his wife are good stewards of the place, something that is reassuring. I'd hate to see the place go to ruin.
I hope you enjoy my visit and report on the Lodge. I have such great memories of the place. Thought you'd like to know about its current condition and use. Feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might also want a report.