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Pleasant Valley

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Pleasant Valley is an old Oklahoma ghost town located between Stillwater and Guthrie, just south of the Cimarron River along a dirt road. It once was called “Cowboy Flats” and was a place with plentiful grazing. Cowboys would stop and let their cattle graze here on the drive north. It was a bustling location in the early 1900’s but then faded from existence as improvements in transportation meant people could travel further and faster to get supplies. Now there are only a few homes in the area and the remains of some old buildings.

From the excellent book “Ghost Towns of Oklahoma” by John W. Morris:

Pleasant Valley

COUNTY! Logan
LOCATION: {a} Sec. 33, T 18 N, R I W
(I1) 7 miles north, 7 miles east of Guthrie
Post OFFICE: February 29, I 904-May 31, 1947
NEWSPAPERS: Banner Breezes
RAILROAD: Eastern Oklahoma Railway (Santa Fe), abandoned 1959

Pleasant Valley, first known as Campbell, had its start in 1899 in that part of northeastern Logan County known as Cowboy Flat. On January 29, 1900, a post office with the name of Anna was opened in Campbell, but the name was changed to Pleasant Valley on February 29, 1904. Prior to the opening of the Unassigned Lands in 1889, Cowboy Flat was used as grazing land for thousands of cattle. Many cowboys who worked with those herds “soonered” in the area before the run. They helped each other in holding claims, and in numerous cases they dumped cornerstones in the river.

Pleasant Valley, ca. 1910. elevators, switchyard, and the depot. (Courtesty M.C. Rouse)
Pleasant Valley, ca. 1910. elevators, switchyard, and the depot. (Courtesty M.C. Rouse)

In 1900 the Eastern Oklahoma Railroad built a line from Guthrie eastward to Cushing via Pleasant Valley. M. C. Rouse, an old-timer still living in the vicinity, states: “True to custom of frontier towns, one of the first buildings was a saloon. Chief clientele consisted of Irish workmen on the railroad. Business buildings of that time had the front end extended up as high as the gable. On the front of it was painted a man riding a two-hump camel, indicating the name of the town. The man wore a derby hat, and a deck of cards protruded from his pocket.” With the coming of the railroad Pleasant Valley became the important center of Cowboy Flat. Eventually there were two passenger trains each way each day plus a freight each way. Many of the first homes built were small one-room af- fairs, and some were half-dugouts.

Pleasant Valley, 1908. Street scene on Western Trail Avenue. (courtesy M. C. Rouse)
Pleasant Valley, 1908. Street scene on Western Trail Avenue. (courtesy M. C. Rouse)

Pleasant Valley had its greatest period of prosperity between 1910 and 1930. A bank existed from I909 to 1934. Agricultural land was productive enough to support two elevators, a gristmill, a cotton gin, and a feed mill. A small flour mill operated for five or six years about 1920. The two, and sometimes three, general stores bought eggs, butter, and cream in exchange for groceries, clothing, and farm equipment. A hardware store, blacksmith shops which changed to garages and filling stations, and a fifteen-room hotel also served the community.

Cultural life in Pleasant Valley function around its churches and school. In the 19208 annual township fair was held, during which there were horse races and other kinds of entertainment. For a few years there was a town band. A justice of the peace court was organized to settle local difficulties. One unique case was that in which a minister sued a bridegroom for nonpayment of a $2.50 marriage fee.

Pleasant Valley today is an isolated community served by neither railroad nor state highway. The foundation of an old elevator is clearly visible, the walls of an old business building still stand, and a few small houses continue to be lived in. Some of the former streets remain open. Cowboy Flat continues to be good agricultural
and grazing land. It is easy to understand why Pleasant Valley developed in such a location before modern transportation.

Pleasant Valley, 1889. Rendezvous of the Dalton gang before the Coffeyvill raid was located near the edge of town. (Courtesty M. C. Rouse)
Pleasant Valley, 1889. Rendezvous of the Dalton gang before the Coffeyvill raid was located near the edge of town. (Courtesty M. C. Rouse)

This dual sport loop takes you along dirt roads from Guthrie to Stillwater to Cushing and back to Guthrie. The loop features a number of interesting stops along the way with a bit of Oklahoma History sprinkled in the mix. It can easily be ridden in an afternoon – about 4-5 hours if you blast the route and don’t stop, but it is better to plan 6-7 hours so you can explore the locations, read a bit of history about the spots, enjoy lunch and stop to take pictures along the way.

While you can start the loop from any location, we start in Guthrie and travel clockwise to Stillwater, then Cushing, then back to Guthrie.

Guthrie to Stillwater

Begin your journey with breakfast at Stables Cafe in downtown Guthrie, on the corner of Highways 33 and 77. Stables offers a vast menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a regular motorcycle hangout.

Stables Cafe in Guthrie is a great place to start your trip. They offer great food and are open 7 days per week.
Stables Cafe in Guthrie is a great place to start your trip. They offer great food and are open 7 days per week.

Follow the route east and a bit north to Summit View Cemetery just outside Guthrie. Summit View features their very own “Boot Hill” section and is home to an infamous outlaw named Elmer McCurdy. You see, McCurdy was just an unknown petty thief and train robber when he died, but after his death he traveled a circuitous route that ended up in a museum in Santa Monica, a freak show in the circus, and even a guest appearance on the “Six Million Dollar Man” television show.

Boot Hill is where the locals buried outlaws when nobody would claim the body.
Boot Hill is where the locals buried outlaws when nobody would claim the body.
We stopped by the Boot Hill section of Summit View Cemetery on our dual sport motorcycles.
We stopped by the Boot Hill section of Summit View Cemetery on our dual sport motorcycles.
Charlie Pearson was a desparado buried in Boot Hill.
Charlie Pearson was a desparado buried in Boot Hill.
I am guessing Little Dick West was not fond of his nickname.
I am guessing Little Dick West was not fond of his nickname.
Elmer McCurdy was killed near in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma and became "famous" well after his death.
Elmer McCurdy was killed near in the Osage Hills of Oklahoma and became “famous” well after his death.
This old schoolhouse sits across a 4-way intersection from Summitview Cemetery.
This old schoolhouse sits across a 4-way intersection from Summit View Cemetery.
This bridge awaits you before you get to Stillwater.
This bridge awaits you before you get to Stillwater.

After leaving Summit View Cemetery, follow the route across I-35 and you will come across a home with cow skeletons on the fence.

Just east of I-35 you will come across a home with cow skeletons on the fence.
Just east of I-35 you will come across a home with cow skeletons on the fence.
Pleasant Valley is an old ghost town that is in an area that once was known as "Cowboy Flats".
Pleasant Valley is an old ghost town that is in an area that once was known as “Cowboy Flats”.
You cross the Cimarron River north of Pleasant Valley. A dirt road leads to and from this bridge.
You cross the Cimarron River north of Pleasant Valley. A dirt road leads to and from this bridge.

Stillwater to Cushing

After lunch in Stillwater, the route takes you south and east and skirts the north bank of the Cimarron River, following mostly dirt and gravel roads. It travels along part of the Oklahoma Adventure Trail and eventually crosses the Cimarron River. An old bridge and a graffiti bridge embankment is found along the way.

After leaving Stillwater, the route follows the north bank of the Cimarron River and crosses Stillwater Creek on this bridge.
After leaving Stillwater, the route follows the north bank of the Cimarron River and crosses Stillwater Creek on this bridge.
You can actually ride you bike down to the Cimarron River at several places along this route.
You can actually ride you bike down to the Cimarron River at several places along this route.
An old river bridge over the Cimarron River has been decorated by many graffiti artists over the years.
An old river bridge over the Cimarron River has been decorated by many graffiti artists over the years.

Cushing to Guthrie

Once you arrive in Cushing, visit their downtown area or stop by Braum’s for an ice cream. The route takes you south out of Cushing past the airport (watch for skydivers) and through the huge oil storage facility that Cushing is known for. Head further south to the ghost town of Avery, then the route turns back west and zig-zags through Iowa Indian tribal headquarters and on to Langston and then back to Guthrie.

Cushing is known world-wide as a major petroleum storage area. Many pipelines meet in Cushing, carrying oil nationwide.
Cushing is known world-wide as a major petroleum storage area. Many pipelines meet in Cushing, carrying oil nationwide.
An old school house marks the ghost town of Avery, Oklahoma.
An old school house marks the ghost town of Avery, Oklahoma.
This antique farm equipment is a recent addition to the route.
This antique farm equipment is a recent addition to the route.
Just west of Highway 177 you pass through Kiowa Tribal Headquarters.
Just west of Highway 177 you pass through Iowa Tribal Headquarters.
This monolith marks the Indian Meridian and is used for land surveys all across central Oklahoma.
This monolith marks the Indian Meridian and is used for land surveys all across central Oklahoma.
Just north of Guthrie is the abandoned headquarters of Cabo Oil Company.
Just north of Guthrie is the abandoned headquarters of Carbo Oil Company.

Click the DOWNLOAD button above (below the map) to download GPS tracks of this route.