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Draggin Douglas Memories

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Draggin Douglas A Wichita Tradition Draggin Douglas A Wichita Tradition

For T-shirt Sales Nadine Wards Signworks

Recently Carl Fry and I did some photo shoots of various local Wichita Locations of Interest. Several of those locations were on Wichitas main drag, Douglas Avenue. So, I decided that maybe a photo narrative and history of the tradition of 'Draggin Douglas' might be in order.

2008 Wichita High School East

I believe that most likely 'Draggin Douglas' began as soon as the first motor car drove down Douglas Avenue. But the impetus of the Wichitas youth making Douglas the 'See and Be Seen' place in town on weekends probably began when Wichita High School East was built at the intersection of Douglas and Grove street. As soon as kids started heading to East High in cars on Douglas for school the racous and rowdy activities of teenagers would have begun. Wichita High School East being for a time the largest school in Kansas would meant a lot of teenage drivers in the area.

Traffic on Douglas would have seen the influx of the teenagers at regular schools out times as the kids would be leaving school and many heading west on Douglas to home or places for meeting up. On Friday nights traffic would have had kids coming to East high for evening football or basketball events and afterwards the winning team supporters would have taken to the street and headed west on Douglas to proclaim and celebrate their teams achievements. And these celebratory activities would most likely have continued for many long into the night until until gas money or stamina ran out.

Other area high school students not having as prominent a street for display of school pride, most likely found Douglas Avenue the best place to espouse their own schools achievements and compete with the East High school supporters.

Thus would have began the tradition of teenagers 'Draggin Douglas' on Friday Nights. and with this activity also would come the establishment of 'rest stops' or 'meeting places'. To take advantage of these teenagers in cars the 'Drivein' or 'Burger Joints' appeared on Douglas.

2008 NuWay Cafe on West Douglas

The Continental Grille and NuWay Burgers on the West end of Douglas and in the 60's Sandys Burger DriveIn at the intersection of Grove and Douglas conveniently catecornered across the intersection from the East High School complex.

1969 Sandys Burger Drivein Across from East High
with my coupe's dual fours showing at the bottom of the pic

Checkout Chuck Kerls Sandys Burger Drivein Page

The high school teenagers celebrating school activities on Friday nights would have also brought others not so interested in the sporting celebrations as much just the seeing and being seen aspects of being on douglas. Knowing that most everyone was likely to be on douglas on a Friday night made it easy for kids to go to find and be amoung friends as well as meeting other area kids. The rise of the 'automotive culture' made douglas the perfect place to exhibit and observe everyones distinctive automobiles because of the ready made audience. Thus began the activity of 'cruising' from one end of Douglas to the other and back again with the turn around or anchor points being the Sandys Burger Drivein for the Eastern loop and the Continental Grille or NuWay Cafe for the Western end loop with various sub/alternate loops added for other locations that became popular like the KingsX drivin at Lincoln and George Washington Blvd and the Town & Country Drivein at Hillside and Pawnee.


OK, not exactly Draggin Douglas but kinda car guy related.

Blood on the Washer.

I can't believe this.

I was sitting in the living room at my laptop last night and started to smell nail polish, or paint thinner.

Just a few whiffs at first and then even more as time passed.

My house normally has a smell to it because of Shadow's remains, and my lack of housecleaning and such.

Anyhow, it started getting overpowering as I sit and wondered what the heck was going on.

Refrigerant leak? an ink pen leak, a bottle of something tipped over and finally leaking?

So, got up and tried to follow my sniffer around.

It wasn't too hard to follow it back to my washer/drier area adjacent to my dinning/kitchen in the wall next to the garage.

Opened up the doors and much to my horror, My open washer was covered in blood splatters all down the open door, over both sides of open top and all down the agitator.

Upon further analysis it turned out to be Chevrolet Engine Orange paint.

I've had 3 cans of Krylon Engine Orange spray paint on the shelf above the washer since back when we put the 350 Chevy engine in my 40 back in 89.

Kinda thought it would last longer inside instead of out in the garage with it's range of temps. Never gave it any thought.

Now it appears the bottom of the can finally rusted thru and let the paint spay out all over my washer.

Doesn't appear there's much I can do about it now, except let the paint dry, which it pretty much has now, and just use it as a very colorfully spotted washer.

Guess I should take the remaining two cans out to the garage now.



Heh, heh, as I lay in bed tonight and for some reason I started to wax nostalgic and what should come to mind but thoughts of how gloriously wonderful the sounds of a Motorola Vibrasonic Reverb was the first time I heard one in a car, at a car wash in 62 or 63. Think it was a 62 Chevy.

Anyone else Remember those?

Soon after hearing the first one it seemed all the really 'cool' cars cruising thru the local hangout burger joint had them echoing away as they drove thru. I seem to recall that most all the 65 and 66 GTO's seemed have had those reverbs.

Heh, heh, I think Shelly Fabraes song 'Johnny Angel' was specifically made to be played on a Motorola Vibrasonic Reverb unit just for the echo. Early units actually had springs for the Reverb function, I can remember being in a car going over railroad tracks and hearing the echo go boing boing. The first thing I put in my new 67 Dodge Charger was a Motorola Vibrasonic Reverb Unit hanging under the dash hooked to a speaker in the rear fold down panel.

Man was that cool or what. But alas those didn't last long technology wise, they came out just before real stereo tape players and then FM stereo radios.

I soon replaced the Vibrasonic under the dash in my Charger with a big metal clipon removable gadget that a stereo FM 8track tape deck was attached to, It was removable, not so much for theft protection, but to allow me to drag the contraption over and click it in place in my 31 Ford Coupe thus only having the expense of one Stereo Unit for both cars.

Darn if I didn't find one of those removable Stereo brackets on ebay.

Well, heh, heh, not sure if posting this will let me go to sleep now or not, but I do feel better about getting it posted.


On 4/23/2011 11:12 PM, John Gabrielsen wrote:

I read an article "Anyone Remember" I thought it was funny because I still have the original reverb that I had in my 1965 Covair Corsa convertible when I was in Witchita Kansas in the summer of 1965, I also have several of the slide out brackets that you have pictured. This all occured just before I went in the service.



The world premier of the movie 'Hot Rod Gang' in 1958 with the stars John Ashley, Jody Fair, and Steve Drexel coming to Wichita and being welcomed at the Mid Continent Airport by a group of local Hot Rodders, and then being paraded to various media locations for interviews and autograph signing. And then to the Wichita Theater for the screening.

From the collection of Rocky Burress


As one of the girls dragging in the early 60s, we only went from Sandy's to the river and back. If we got into a slow space (translated to no cool guys in a couple of drags)" we played a different game. We drove east up the hill from Hillside to Belmont counting from the red light at Hillside. We set at the Belmont corner for a count of seven, speeded up to 35mph and put the car in neutral. Then , we coasted down the hill. If we were lucky, we got thru the stoplight. Then, it was the challenge of having enough speed to pull into Sandy's. This sounds dull now, but it was full of laughs then, even sober. it also got into a different part of the drag loop.

Pat Houchin


Howard McCain skta/ striprunners....

in '57 I drove a '47 ford club cpe. with lincoln grill, frenched tail lights, below the trunk lid, nosed/decked, of course, with white flames across the fenders over gey paint. Eqipment service had built the .60 over flathead. I worked at the old Borbein Young parts on N. Mosley. Since we had a spring shop, I had 2 sets of springs and 2 or 3 sets of shackles, allowing me to put either end up-down or whatever.

One evening in April '57, while in route from Continental to either T&C or Dearmores, with the front end about 1/2 an inch off the frame bumpers, I hit the storm grate which was on E. bound Douglas accross from the old Depot, in front of where Century II is now. Douglas had had so many asphalt overlays that the grate was in a 6-7 " hole. My teenage wife, who was about 8 1/2 mo pregnant, said ungh ! and our daughter was born about 4 the next morning.........

I also hung out at darrels shop on mt. vernon

BTW, looking at photos of drags at McConnel '58, I THINK that's me standing at the trophy truck, in the white shirt. I know I was there- worked the control tower with Rex Raines' first wife and "whitey"


Lessee, then there was time in the summer of 66 when I was stopped in a line of traffis just entering the RR underpass heading west from traffic backed up from the stoplight at St Francis. I was just sitting in my coupe enjoying life when my passenger door opened up and a good looking gal hopped in and asked if she could go for a ride. This event was a bit startling but what the hey, 'Sure' was my reply. She introduced herself as Diane and said she lived out west near west street and 13th. We made a few passes on Douglas and it kinda became obvious that she knew or was known by a lot of folks on Douglas as they waved and hollered at her. Then she said 'Hey lets go to a party' and I though 'what the hey' so we drove off up hillside near WSU were there were some apartments with a party going on. Once there she holled at some folks outside who seemed to know her and invited them over to check out my Hot Rod. They oohed and awed a bit and then we got back into my Coupe to go back to Douglas for another pass, as we headed west to Seneca she lets go on to West Street there was some more she wanted to see. So 'what the hey' we headed to west steet and then north up to where apparently her home was. Once there she brought out all her family, Mom, Dad, Bros, Aunts, etc and introduced me and showed off my Hot Rod some more. I must not have been a real good 'date' because she bid me goodbye and off I went back to Douglas.

That's my story and I'm sticken to it.


07/11/12 by Jim Slaughter

My Dad owned AC Auto Auction and as a kid I had 54 different cars between the ages of 14 and 18! Everything from Model T Touring with a flathead v-8 (what a sleeper on Douglas!) to a Fiat Abarth race car. I had several sports cars like two MGA’s (gutless little wonders), an Austin Healey, a Healy sprite (more gutless) and then my dream car which I wish I still had, a 1960 Triumph TR3 with hardtop and soft top, full curtains and half curtains, real wire knockoffs and blazing huge lucas driving lights In the grill. She was baby blue with dark blue leather interior.

I remember my Dad bringing in a brand new 1958 Corvette and handing me the keys. I guess I was about 15 at the time. He said “if you like it, you can drive it for a while’. Wow was I excited. I took off down south Broadway (the auction at the time was at McArther and Broadway) and drove it about 6 blocks and turned around. After arriving back at the auction, I handed my Dad the keys and said “That thing drives like a truck, has no good suspension, and no way to make out with a girl in it. Thanks Dad, but you can keep it!

About 1958-1960 a lot of really crappy little foreign cars were making the scene. I had a bunch of ‘em. The weirdest one was a Little coupe called a Goliath. It had a 4 cylinder opposed water cooled engine in it. But when you dropped the headers, it sounded Like a full blown hemi! We loved to cruise Douglas in that thing with the headers off! We would pull up next to somebody with a Hot chevy at a stop light and challenge them. Some of them actually turned us down! For the ones that took us up, it was a riot. Revving up the Goliath sounded awesome but as soon as I dropped the clutch, it didn’t have enough power to get out of its own Way. Catching up at the next light we were all laughing our heads off. In my senior year, I had a sweet little 56 Ford coupe that Was dego’d with the long pipes under the axle. Totalled it on my way to graduation! Got grounded all senior summer for that. I Never forgave my Dad for that!

One of the memories of dragging Douglas were the Rambo Wichita cops. They would stop and harass you for no good reason. I hope the Wichita police department has a better image by now!

My brother, Charles, went to school with Darryl Starbird. He and I would visit Darryl’s shop from time to time and be amazed at The artistry going on there. I’m pretty sure I met Dave Stuckey there as well. Darryl’s big customs show at the Forum (dump waiting For a fire!) were a highlight each year. I remember seeing Roy Orbison on a tiny little side stage around 1957 or 58. He wasn’t a Huge star yet but had a couple of big hits. What a gas!

My days of ‘crusin’ were about 1957-1964. In 1964 I met my wife to be and we pursued more ‘mild’ pursuits like finding a dark Stretch of road to stop and ‘converse’.

I miss Wichita. We had our 50th reunion last September. What a memory flood. Jack Tanner showed up in his Henry J hotrod! Very cool! We have lived in Florida for over 30 years now After living in Germany and Oklahoma for a while.

KEEP ‘Em Cruisin!

Jim Slaughter
Land O Lakes, FL


Joyland Restoration by Carl Fry

I’ll bet a lot of us Draggin’ Douglas guys have fond memories of Joyland and I bet they would be interested in what it took to run and maintain the park.

As an example , I guess it never occurred to me they generated their own electricity!

Maybe you should jot down some of your recollections about the “behind the scenes” at Joyland. All us Draggin’ Douglas guys went there back in the day… the Dodge’m Cars, the Roller Coaster, the Octopus, the Tilt-A-Whirl… especially when they added the Go-Karts and of course the Moonlight Swims. I have indeed received a kiss at the top of the Ferris Wheel… just like Freddy Cannon in the song “Palisade Park”

I remember one occasion…… I had a "first date" with a girl named Diane (I think). I, of course, had on my required charcoal slacks and a pink oxford-cloth shirt. She was wearing a "poofy” summer dress with about a dozen petticoats under it. My point here is we were both sort of dressed up for our first date. There wasn't much happening on Douglas, so we headed from the T&C to Joyland . They had a brand-new ride! It was sort of a big vertical drum that spun you around against the wall. At some point the centrifugal force would hold you against the wall and they would quickly lower the floor leaving you sticking to the wall. Of course all the girls screamed when the floor suddenly fell about 6 feet. Great fun! When it came to our turn, the machine spun- up pinning us against the wall (so far.. So good)…. However, when the floor fell away, my date slowly slid down the wall because she was wearing nylons and had on so many petticoats there was not enough friction to keep her pinned against the wall. She did her best to hang on to the grab bars but slowly ended up with her arms stretched completely over her head. After about a minute she had slid down the wall about 4 feet below me with her dress and petticoats under her armpits. Everybody on the ride got a real good look at her legs and black lace panties. The ride operator had to slowly raise the floor to allow her to struggle back in position before he could slow the darn thing down. (I think he took an extra long time for safety sake of course ..) All this took place in what seemed liked 10 min. while the poor girl is trying to get her petticoats down, pull herself up the wall and keep from crying.. I had a few more dates with her (none of them at Joyland ) and each time it was hard to look at her without remembering the night she slid out of her dress at Joyland……




Wichita teen’s Joyland restoration project inches forward

By Amy Renee Leiker

A Wichita teen’s multimillion-dollar campaign to renovate Joyland, the city’s defunct amusement park, has taken a tiny step forward.

But Alex East – who drew public attention in May 2011 after he asked the Wichita City Council to fund his $10 million push to buy and restore the park at 2801 S. Hillside – still faces an enormous project plagued by major problems.

Six years after it closed, Joyland is littered with debris, defaced by vandals, and decaying with weather and time.

And East’s Joyland Restoration Project has about $6,000 – a fraction of the $10 million he estimates will be needed to buy and renovate the park. None of which discourages East.

“Honestly, yes, the account is low right now, but only because we are strictly running off of public” donations, said East, 18. “You know, people just donating their $10 or $20 or buying T-shirts.”

Last month, East took a step toward potentially earning more support when his organization, Restore Hope Inc., was granted nonprofit status. The change will allow the group to apply for grants and accept tax-deductible contributions.

Experts in the amusement industry say it’s a small victory for East.

“I wish them well,” said Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today, “but they have a long, uphill battle ahead of them.”

‘It’s absolutely horrible’

Joyland owner Margaret Spear and her late husband, Stan Nelson, bought the 40-acre, southeast Wichita park in the 1970s. The couple – who met in 1950 when both worked at the park – ran it for decades, but shut it down in 2004 as rides aged and attendance dwindled.

Joyland opened again a couple of seasons later, but trouble with the people operating the park forced the Nelsons to permanently close after the 2006 season. Later, the park became a target for vandals.

“We were sad to see it go,” said Spear, 78. “My husband (Stan) and I were just sick about it. But we were at the age when we just couldn’t do anything.”

The couple put the park up for sale, asking $2 million. Later, the price dropped to $1 million, after the Nelsons sold some land and rides.

Today, the landscape at Joyland is bleak.

Evidence of intruders — trash, discarded clothing, beer cans — litters the midway. Glass shards are scattered on walkways. Buildings, defaced by vandals, are damaged or knocked down. An arson fire destroyed a building in 2011.

Wood is rotting. Roofs sag. Weeds and trees are overgrown.

“It’s horrible, it’s absolutely horrible,” District 3 council member James Clendenin said of the park’s current state. “And that’s putting it lightly.”

A lifelong love

East’s interest in restoring Joyland began a few years ago, when he devised a plan to buy the land, fix the rides and restore the ambience of “classic” Joyland.

He said he visited the park with family and first rode the wooden roller coaster – one of the last surviving coasters designed by Herbert Paul Schmeck – at age 2.

“Every since then I’ve been in love with amusement parks,” he said. “We always plan our family vacations around them.”

At 17, he announced his intentions to City Council members and requested $10 million to help him buy and renovate the park. Eventually he partnered with Kira Johnson, the 25-year-old vice president of Restore Hope, who helps manage and market the project.

East, who graduated from Northwest High School in May, is currently working with volunteers to determine the cost of repairing the rides. If successful, he plans to operate Joyland as a nonprofit amusement park.

An ambitious project

Experts say a renovation won’t be cheap.

Estimates by developers and others in the amusement industry range from $5 million to $20 million. Most say they haven’t stepped foot on Joyland since well before it closed, but agree time is a factor when figuring revitalization costs.

Lack of funding sources may also pose problems, sources say.

“Joyland is sitting closed in Wichita. The Hard Rock Park is sitting closed in Myrtle Beach. The old Six Flags New Orleans site is sitting deteriorating,” said Slade, of Amusement Today. He pointed to dwindling grant money and tight reins on loans as problems Restore Hope may encounter.

“They’re all sitting idle because nobody has money,” he said.

Despite hurdles, experts say a renovation can happen, especially when the community feels nostalgic.

“It will be an ambitious project, there’s no question about that,” said Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, a Cincinnati consulting company.

“But our industry as a whole has a tremendous upside as it relates to bringing back facilities like this.”

Growing support

East admits the project is lofty, but says community support is building.

East’s request for $10 million in public funds was met with enthusiasm – but no money – by City Council members. The city’s future role in the project, if any, remains unknown, according to director of Urban Development Allen Bell

He said East’s plan is “nowhere near being ready for the city to look at yet. I have no idea if there’s a role the city will play in this. It’s too early to tell.”

Clendenin, whose district includes the park, said he continues to support Joyland’s return to “a thriving amusement park.”

“I hope that we can get something done on this. I really do,” Clendenin said. “It’s been closed too long. And this is a place the whole city could enjoy.”

In neighboring Planeview, East’s project is “all the buzz” among older residents, who recall the park’s heyday.

“The neighborhood thought is it (restoration) can happen, but it will take a major effort,” said the Rev. Al Rose, longtime Planeview resident and secretary of Planeview’s neighborhood association. Joyland Restoration Project also continues to see broader public backing, East and Johnson said. Some support the project on Facebook, joining more than 12,000 fans. Some donors send cash, others buy T-shirts bearing messages like “Bring Back the Shack” – a reference to the park’s Whacky Shack ride – or they pay for advance season passes.

“A dollar here, a dollar there,” Johnson said. “We believe in our hearts that once we purchase the park, everyone will be on board.”

By the end of the year, East hopes to have $1 million to buy the land and remaining rides.

For now Joyland sits empty, a ghost of the park it once was.

“When I walk in the park, I may see what you see for the first five or 10 seconds, but then it all turns back into what it was before,” East said. “The fun memories of everyone screaming down the first hill of the roller coaster … and Louie the Clown playing the organ. I mean I see that. I see all of it.

“But under no circumstance is it only memories to me, because I know that the park does have the chance of reopening.”



Joyland Memories by Carnut

Heh, heh, I essentially grew up at Joyland.

From the age of 8 to 18 I lived just blocks away from Joyland,
first in Plainview and at age of 10 moved east just across hillside till I
turned 18 and left home.

I can remember spending most every summer day at the Joyland swimming pool , actually against the rules mom using the pool as a babysitter for both me and my brother.

Mom worked at Boeing A/C and enjoyed 'Free Rides Days' at Joyland when
the Boeing Employees Club would rent the entire park for a day each summer.
I can so remember the 'Box Lunch' that was always provided out in the pavilion
area which consisted of a Buttered Bread Sandwich and a cupcake.

I also got to enjoy the End Of School party day at Joyland when kids were
given numbers of tickets based on grades on report cards. One of the few
reasons I actually tried to get good grades.

I went to gradeschool at the 'helicopter' school of Sowers Elementary which was physically
across the street from Joyland. Manys the time I was distracted walking back to school
after lunch and was detoured thru Joyland and a few times actually ditching school to
play pinball in the penny arcade whenever I managed to find a machine that had some free
games left on it.

I never actually took a date to Joyland, I just lived at Joyland.
I did use Joylands train bridge as a shortcut to see a girlfriend who lived
across the crick that ran thru the park and occasionally was chased by guards
when returning home late at night.

On slow days I remember looking under some of the more ambitious rides like
Whiz Bang and Tilt O Whirl for loose change or tickets that got dropped on
the ground under the platforms.

Oh and the 99cent days when admission was 99 cents and free rides on most of the
rides. I seem to remember spending most all my time riding and standing in line
to ride the Roller Coaster. Seems girls would find me at the park and just want
to ride the Coaster with me. I would actually get tired of riding the coaster but
the girls just kept getting me back in line. Never did understand what the
the attraction was, but I kept on obligeing them, bet they musta thought I was
as dumb as a bag of hammers. Kinda like all the ladies lining up to dance with me
later in life at the country dance clubs.

Also remember some girls coaxing me onto the ferris wheel, which really did scare me.
Never did like the ferris wheel, then on occasion a double ferris wheel would come
to the park for awhile and as usual I had to ride it when some gal asked. It did
give a good view of the surrounding area, but other than that I saw no use for
riding it. Again dumb as a bag of hammers.

I have so many more memories, just to numerous to list, it would almost be
an autobiography.

Today I can actually see Joylands Roller Coaster and Ferris Wheel from the top of my house.

I also remember 'Kiddieland' over by the Twin Drivein Theater.



Draggin Douglas by Nancy Boewe

Don't if this is still a good email address.
Just found your website for "Draggin Douglas".
I was searching for Sandy's, T&C and Continental photos for my class reunion. Southeast 1962.
You did mention one of my classmates, Jim Sumner. Most of my friends were "Coachman"
My brother own the A.A. Hyde building at Douglas and Cleveland.
Always like seeing the old pictures of it and the flood on that corner.
Thanks for the memories. Those were the good years.


Gear Gents Car Club by Carl Fry

Hey George,

I was (am still) a member of the Gear Gents Car Club. We were sponsored by Darryl Starbird and met in his old Star Kustom shop on south Mead at Mt Vernon back in 1956.

Star Custom Mt. Vernon

I attached some of Char’s pics from the 2012 Starbird-Devlin show. John and I gave Darryl a picture we took at the 2011 show (note the Broadway & Douglas sign in the background), a Gear Gents jacket and an original Gear Gents plaque. Some kind of karma….. John & I hanging around Darryl’s shop when we were in high school back in 1956, end forming a group and buy his Wichita Car Show…. Draggin’ Douglas and The Wichita Tradition Continues..

"In God We Trust" is the official motto of the United States.

The Starbird-Devlin Rod & Customs Charities Car Show
Set-up & Exclusive Preview Party Thursday, January 17, 2013
Car Show January 18, 19 & 20, 2013
Century II - Downtown Wichita, KS
-The Wichita Tradition Continues-


A personal history of Draggin Douglas by Carl Fry


My first "real" trips "Draggin' th' Gut" were in the back seat of Leroy Ellis's 1953 Red-Ram hemi Dodge. He then bought a brand new 1955 hemi DeSoto. Leroy lived about a half-block from us, was working at Boeing and always had a new fast car.

      In 1955 "The Route" was not specifically defined. (Or else we were not tuned in on it) We would drive up Pattie to Douglas and then Douglas to The Henry Burger on West Street. The Henry Burger was a good place to eat, look at girls and arrange drag races on 21st Street and on Tyler Road. The Route was then; Douglas to Hydraulic, Hydraulic to Kellogg, Kellogg east to Bowers Root Beer Stand. Bowers Drive-in was also a good place to arrange drag races on Rock Road and on Greenwich Road. Some places we visited along this route were:

Spears Drug Store - Pattie at Kellogg (Sally Spears dad's place - 10 cent Lime Phosphates)
I also used the outside payphone for 'private calls' as we had a party line at home
Vern Humble's gas station Pattie at Kellogg (Flathead fuel dragster)
The Kings-X at Pattie at Douglas (2-for a quarter in a cardboard box)
The Henry Burger on North West Street (Home of the "Floating Henryburger")
The Nu-Way on West Douglas (Still one of the "Must do" places in Wichita)
The Continental Grill & Tel-A-Tray on West Douglas (So much traffic, they had a cop on duty)
The Spot on East Douglas (Pool and Chili)
The Union Station (Bathroom and they had a public City Directory)
The Standard Gas Station at Hydraulic and Douglas ("Pappy" Cline's - Fuel Injection Expert)
Armstrong's Ice Cream on E. Douglas ("Pig's Dinner" & I have the same Wurlitzer Juke Box)
The Drug Store at Hydraulic and Kellogg (Soda fountain, juke box and cute girls)
The Rose Bowl East on Kellogg (Bathroom and a good place to get the always-needed gas caps
for the exhaust by-pass pipes made from gas tank filler tubes)
The 54 Lounge East Kellogg (Underage beer available)
Pizza Via (behind the 54 Lounge) (My first pizza was from here)
Ted's Hideout on East Kellogg (Underage beer available)
The Red Lyon in the Holiday Inn. (Older women and hot barmaids)
Bowers Root Beer Stand on East Kellogg

By the summer of 1958 the route had changed for a number of reasons. I was working at the Ford dealer located 1226 E. Douglas and I had inherited my brothers 1957 Chevy my last year in high school. Brother John had a 1957 red and white Corvette. Both cars had factory fuel injection and close ratio transmissions. We thought we were pretty cool .. And You know, We did have two of the fastest cars on Douglas at the time. I met Bill Rahn who was working at the Pontiac dealer next door. Between my brother, Roger Pike, Bill Rahn, Johnny McDowell, Kenny Stillwell, Joe Honeycut, Steve & Perry Ward, we pretty well knew all the car guys and gals Draggin' Douglas the summer of 1958.

1958/1965 there were two basic routes:

Route "A" Started at the Continental Grill & Tel-A-Tray on West Douglas and went east on Douglas to Sandy's located at Grove and Douglas. From Sandy's, south on Grove to George Washington Blvd., then southeast to Hillside, then south on Hillside to The Town & County Drive In (T&C) located at Hillside and Pawnee.

Route "B" Started at the T&C and went north on Hillside to Harry Street, then west on Harry to George Washington Blvd., then north-west to Kellogg and Hydraulic, then north on Hydraulic to Douglas, then west on Douglas to the Continental Grill & Tel-A-Tray.

Most of us guys would drive both routes whenever we were Draggin' Douglas. The "best" places to see and be seen with your car were The T&C, Sandy's and the Continental.

Some places we visited along these routes were: (In addition to some of the ones listed above)

The Town & County Drive In (T&C) located Hillside at Pawnee
Dairy Queen just west of Hillside on Pawnee
Jacks Place further west on Pawnee
The Trade Winds in South City
"Pop's Sandbox" gas station located just south of Harry on Hillside
McDonalds "walk-up" located just south of Harry on Hillside
The Bowl-A-Rama located just south of Harry on Hillside
The Aloma Lounge located on George Washington Blvd just south of Harry Street
Dearmores (Hay! Look Dearmores!) located on George Washington Blvd just south of Harry Street
Richards Lil' Dairy Queen at Lincoln and Grove
Sandy's located at Grove and Douglas
Wings Gas Station on east Douglas at Hillside

We passed the afternoons and evenings burning fuel and rubber without regard to weather or season. Other than an occasional 'loud and unusual noise', driving without headlights, speeding, and (of all things), 'driving too slow' tickets the cops left us alone. I met my wife Bonnie and got married in 1966, traded the '57 Fuelie for a '65 Buick Riviera and dropped out of the Draggin' Douglas scene.



Hi George,

Got the note from Carl about your cruising stories and thought you might enjoy this one.

One evening in early 1954, my friend John and I were dragging Douglas in his family's new 53 BelAire and the heat and tunes were on high. We stopped at Washington and a couple in a brand new blue 54 Corvette stopped next to us. The driver motioned to roll down the window and when I did, the man asked if we would like to trade cars. I laughed and said "sure" but he said he was serious, so when the light changed, we pulled over to the curb in front of Ed White's car lot and the guy got out and came back to talk to John. Seems he wanted a warm, closed car to make out in, so we took his Vette and he took the BelAire and we arranged to meet back at the same spot two hours later. It was a memorable night of top down, frosty cruising but I don't remember being particularly cold.

Tim Hatfield


Hi Carl,

You're right that does bring back a lot of memories! I find it hard to believe that you took pictures of the railroad bridge over Douglas and didn't get a shot of the Charger doing a burnout under the bridge! When I was cruising ('66 to '68) we turned around in the circle driveway of the Garvy building after it was finished. Before that we turned at Waco and looped around. I don't recall that we ever went across the Arkansas river bridge unless it was to go skating at the rink on North West Street.

Here's what I sent to whoever has the Sandy's Hamburger site;


Locate East High yearbooks from '65 to '68. One of those years they had a photo of what was reported to be a "race riot" at the Sandy's at Douglas and Grove. As I recall the event it was an altercation between North and East High students. Both schools having a pretty much equal number of black and white students it got called wrong. My recollection is that a fight happened after a football game that left hard feelings with some North high students, enough so that they came over to Sandy's early in the afternoon on a school day and a lot of us East High guys skipped out of our last period class to "go have a burger". My yearbooks were misplaced during one of my many moves over the years or I would send the photo's myself. Look for one of the East High football players showing fine kicking form on one of his own vice principals who was there in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Steve Mericle


Hey Steve,

Maybe George will relate his story of him doing a burnout with his Charger back when it was new....
and how he got out of the ticket...



Ok Carl,

Now as I remember it, back in 68 or 69 was Draggin Douglas one evening in the 67 Dodge Charger with my wife Bonny, Brother In Law Jonny Pate and his wife Charlotte in the back seats. On one pass, as we cruised under the railroad bridge, I was in such a good mood I thought I'd lite up the tires a bit just to celebrate life. I was either home on leave from the Army or had just gotten out, not sure which. Anyhow by the time we got from the railroad bridge to Washington Street intersection I had flashing lights in my rear view. Oh gee, I knew I was toast and was just wondering how much it was gonna cost. Anyhow, the cop came up to the door to do his duty and I did my Yes Sir and No Sir thing. Jonny Pate in the back seat who wasn't quite as bashful as me, started pleading the case, for me, with the cop, and how I was a poor soldier home on leave and a ticket would really cause me grief, etc, etc. I think I either was in field jacket or had my military ID to show the cop. As luck would have it, Jonny managed to talk the cop out of the ticket and he let us go with a 'Stern' warning.

Heh, heh, that's the story as best I can remember it this time around.



Hey Chuck,

Back in the Hobbs Chevrolet days, circa 1955, there was one unfortunate car that received a gas tank full of recycled suds... I was in the KANG with the manager of the Shakeys at 13th... Guess what? His nick name was Shakey Carter, how's that for being imaginative? Probably didn't help that Shakey drove a Corvair OK, OK at least it WAS a 140 hp Monza.. Sometimes we parked in the Mammals lot across the street from the Wings Gas Station near Hillside on Douglas and watched for girls that stopped for gas or the rest room. After the station closed, you could wash your car with the hose located at the pumps the station used to fill radiators. How cool was that, washing your car on Douglas on a warm night!! And as for you 409 guys, well, the small-block Chevy days were pretty much over when the HO Fords, big MoPars and big Bowties hit the street. I had given up on being competitive in Super Stock and built a 301 for "D" Gas with an Isky cam, 10-inch tires, 4.56 gears, 11" clutch and close ratio gears. Off the stoplights the old '57 Fuelie' was at least competitive, (around 14.20 @ 90 mph) especially if the new car had stock tires. The exhaust had gas tank filler necks installed to allow simple removing the 'gas cap' to open up the noise. Sometimes I could "intimidate" guys with the outrageous idle noise, especially if they had to yell over the noise. "What ? You say it's your MOMS car?... I'm sorry you will have to talk louder..OH ! Is THIS a fast car?... You better fuckin' believe THIS IS a fast car... I thought for a second you said THAT piece of junk is a fast car... etc.."



Hey George,

I read the bit from Tim Hatfield about the guy wanting to trade his 'vett for a larger car. This happened to me more than folks might imagine. My brother, John, always wanted to trade his '57 vett for my larger, '57 2-dht when he had a "Double Date". It was AWFUL having to go Draggin' Douglas in a new Fuelie 'vett. Anyhow, they are indeed small inside, as a matter of fact; one of John's dates (may have been Janie McDowell) lost one of her high-heels when she had her legs out over the side. They were going pretty fast on K15 near 31st South and never found the lost shoe. I always wondered how she explained the missing shoe.... I did get a ticket one night on Douglas for having three people in his 'vett. I had picked up two girls and they screamed at the top of their lungs as we went under the elevated tracks. This attracted the attention of a cop going the opposite direction that immediately flipped a U and turned on his red lights. I remember trying to convince the cop there was plenty of room to drive but he wasn't buying it... and there WAS room as long as one of the girls sat up on the back with only her feet inside the car resting on the consol by the shifter... or sat in her girlfriend's lap with her feet in my lap... It did not help that they both insisted on laughing continuously as we attempted to position our three bodies in the small space. Anyhow, one girl had to stand on the corner of StFrancis and Douglas while we retrieved her girlfriend's car from a nearby side street. The cop was still there when we returned with the girlfriend's folks Ford station wagon. He wanted to make sure we did not come back for her in the 'vett.



The Last Ride,

The last time I dragged Douglas in my Coupe was the summer of 1986. I was cruising Douglas on a warm summer evening dressed in my usual attire of tshirt and jeans. I was headed west just past Broadway in the inside lane when a heater hose inside under the dash let go, spraying me over my legs and abdomen up onto my chest with scalding hot water. At that time I had a combo heat and A/C underdash unit that I had routed heater hoses inside the car and apparently one of them cracked open due to age. I immediately came to a halt and jumped out of the car as steam was rising up and out the windows on both sides. The pain was immediate and excruciating. While I was standing there in a daze trying to get my wits about me a couple guys came up and asked if they could help. It was decided to push the Coupe off Douglas across the street and onto Market Street. There I sized up the situation and decided to disconnect the heater hose at the block outlets and double it over into the inlet bypassing the heater. I really couldn't think straight as to what to do. I didn't know if I had any water left in the engine, but late at night downtown I couldn't think of any places to get a water refill. I suddenly realized my lifelong friend Keith Meikle lived a few streets over just a couple blocks up from Douglas on Dodge street. I fired up the Coupe and managed to drive over Keiths house still in intense pain. Don't think I've ever been accused of thinking real straight normally and at this time I had even less coherence. Anyhow it was now close to midnight and Keith and Pam were fast asleep, but it was a warm evening and as luck would have it they were sleeping with windows open. I went around to their bedroom window where I tried to holler for Keith to wake up, by now I think I was just mewing like an injured kitten. I was hurting so bad I never considered that Keith being a Nam Vet who slept with 'protection' near his bedside, could easily have jumped up and started blasting an intruder without asking questions first. Fortunately Keith woke up and recognized me and got up and came out to help. I asked him for water for the radiator and if he had anything to put on my burns. He got the water, but we had to run over to a local Quick Trip to get some Vasoline to put on my burns, which helped a bit and allowed me to fire up the Coupe and drive it home, where I parked it until I realized in 2003 I would never drive it again and decided to make my nephew Troy Pate an offer he couldn't refuse to buy the Coupe. Troy still has the Coupe and I hope he continues to enjoy it.

My Coupes Gonna Get A Hemi Now.

1972 Taco Kid on Douglas at Seneca
Jonny Pate and My Coupes with Troy Pate behind the tire on Jonny's coupe



From Carl,

Ski King:

While I was working at Mathews Ford it was acceptable to participate in practical jokes involving your car.... The latest 'hot' configuration, at the time, from the West Coast was known as 'Diego-ing' where you lowered the front end as low as possible and raised the rear end as high as possible then routed chrome exhaust pipes under the axle. Unruh Alignment had just realigned the front end after I had cut the front coil springs in half. This along with the huge rear tires allowed the differential to be seen from about two car lengths back. As I was cruising one Saturday afternoon after work a number of folks that passed me on Douglas yelled something like "Hey, Ski King" "Where's your boat Ski King" etc... Sensing something was up; I finally stopped and looked the car over but failed to look under the car. After a couple of laps, finally, one of my pals told me to look under the rear of the car. Some co-worker had made a large cardboard sign and wired it on the rear axle that read SKI KING. The name stuck for few weeks as I did have a small 16' ski boat at the time. I did get even with the culprit (Gary Ervin) by putting a wet cigarette filter in his coil under his coil wire, when it dried out he about never figured why his car would not start. I was amazed it took almost a week for the filter to dry out...

Red Light / White Light

I was minding my own business a few weeks later, heading for the T&C on Douglas one evening about dark, when a cop flipped a U and turned on his lights and pulled me over. I knew I was driving with my parking lights on and I was ready to explain it was not 'officially' dark for at least another half-hour. Walking me to the front of my car the cop pointed to a pair of red lenses that had been glued over my parking lights. He allowed me to pry them off and we both had a laugh as I explained this was probably in retaliation for the cigarette filter gag. My next attempt to 'make things right' with Gary involved wrapping a layer of electrician tape around the battery post under the battery cable. That one made him late to work.... (great fun... hee hee hee....)

Here Kitty, Kitty...

I was headed for a bite at the Tel-a-Tray one winters evening. It was cold so I had the windows rolled up and the heat and KLEO on high. I pulled into a parking place, turned off the engine, rolled down the window to order when I heard a cat meowing really loud. I got out and found a cat had been placed under my hood in front of the radiator. I opened the hood and the poor cat scampered off into the night, still meowing loudly. I had driven across town with this cat screeching, but I could not hear him over the loud pipes, radio and having the windows rolled up. Some of my pals (and Gary) spread it around I was having trouble with cold pussy... I, once again, sneaked over to Gary's apartment about midnight and using masking tape, taped up his dry air cleaner element.. He finally figured that one out and the next day we declared a provisional truce.



From Carl,

Draggin' Douglas - It was an "inexpensive evening" (most of the time)

Most of my pals from high school had to work while they went to high school and college. This forced most of us to hang onto our cars or buy used cars. As an example I owned the same hand-me-down 57 Chevy from 1957 till 1966. We all still spent way too much of our weekly pay on our cars; ... cam shafts, clutches, transmission parts, and tires ...leaving most of us short on cash all the time. This shortage of funds also made Draggin' Douglas an inexpensive way to show off the latest addition to our cars and entertain ones self. Most of us drove gas guzzling, very high-compression cars, but 100 octane Ethyl was only around 40 cents a gallon, so three or four of us could split the cost of a $6.50 tank of gas and spend all evening using one car. We also would park at various drive-ins, parking lots along Douglas or other designated areas along the "Route" to save gas. On occasion, girls would give us rides in their cars, which also cut down on the gas bill. We ate inexpensive food; Griffs, McDonalds, Nu-Way, Sandy's, Town & Country, KingsX and the TeleTray all had affordable menus.. Plus there was also the possibility of winning $5 or $10 drag racing.. (Of course you also could LOSE $5 or $10 or worse yet break something, so you had to pick on the endless supply of new cars that arrived on Douglas and then only run as hard as necessary to win) There was a local Friday night Horror TV Show, "Nightmare", that came on at midnight and if we were really broke and hungry after Draggin' Douglas, we would end up at my folks house "To watch Rodney & The Host"... of course my mom, who always stayed up late, would feed the whole gang... I ran across this link to a rare old KAKE-TV kinescope of Tom Leahy as "The Host" (also was Major Astro) and Lee Parsons as "Rodney".

It was fun stuff!!



Carnut - - Heh, heh, I always frequented Griffs, Sandys and McDonalds, T&C and KingsX were too pricy for me. Oh and we can't forget the Tastee Freeze on south Hillside a lot of south end kids liked to frequent. Also remember KingsX as the only drivein being open 24hrs a day. Think they stayed open for the swing shift crowd from the Aircraft factories, Beech, Boeing and Cessna which were running 3shifts a day. Manys the time I remember Mom coming home from 2nd shift at Boeing and going out to a grocery store that was open 24hrs so she could get her paycheck cashed and get some groceries or going to KingsX for 'Breakfast' at 2am.

A Pictorial Narrative of 'Draggin Douglas' from Grove to NuWay Cafe in 2008.
2008 Douglas West from Grove Street to I35 Overpass

2008 Douglas West from I35 Overpass to Hydraulic Intersection

2008 Douglas West towards Hydraulic Intersection

2008 Douglas West Hydraulic to Railroad Underpass and Old Town

2008 Douglas West Hydraulic to Railroad Underpass and Old Town

2008 Douglas at Old Town Entrance

2008 Douglas at Union Station and Railroad Underpass looking West

2008 Douglas at Railroad Underpass looking West

2008 Douglas West from Railroad Underpass to Eaton Hotel

2008 Douglas West from Market Street

2008 Douglas West towards Garvey Building

2008 Douglas West towards Hotel Broadview

2008 Douglas Bridge West Across Arkansas River

2008 Douglas West from Delano Roundel

2008 Douglas West at Delano Roundel

2008 NuWay Cafe on West Douglas

Now heading back East on Douglas.

2008 Douglas East to Garvey Building From Hotel Broadview 2008

2008 Douglas East to Garvey Building From Tripodal

2008 Century II Convention Center on West Douglas at Water Street

2008 Holiday Inn Plaza on West Douglas at Water Street

2008 Douglas East from Century II Convention Center

2008 Douglas East to Old Town From St Francis Street

2008 Douglas East to Railroad Underpass From St Francis Street

2008 Union Station East of Railroad Underpass

2008 Douglas East to I35 Overpass From Hydraulic Street

2008 Wichita High School East

2008 Douglas East to College Hill from Grove Street

- - More - -

If anyone has any Draggin Douglas stories they would like to have posted, please email me carnut@carnut.com


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est. 1996