Arnett, Ellis County, Oklahoma
My Hometown

L. David Roper
5 March, 2020

Although I was born in Shattuck, Ellis County, Oklahoma, I lived closest to Arnett, Ellis County, Oklahoma, where I attended grade and high school (Fred Lloyd Roper farm 5.25 miles from Arnett; south side of road 0.25 miles east of the intersection of roads NS57 & EW182). I left Northwest Oklahoma to go to college at Oklahoma Baptist University in the fall of 1954. My current home since the fall of 1967 is Blacksburg, Montgomery, Virginia.

Mural on the side of D & D Trading Post on the SW corner of the Court House square



Ellis County, Oklahoma

Arnett was originally part of Day County before Oklahoma became a state:

Google Earth picture of Arnett

Notice that Main Street is not the US 60 (Renfrow Avenue) main route through Arnett north of the Ellis County Courthouse.
Main Street runs NS from the school to the Original Town.

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Ellis County Court House

Court House faces west
Court House through a building gap
Court House sign and old trees

NE corner of square
Court House old trees and log cabin on right

SW corner of square
Old jail and log cabin at Court House SE side


First Baptist Church
I helped build this church when I was a sophomore in high school. After the main girders were boarded in place a tornado or high wind lifted the entire main roof up and set one end down into the building. We had to disassemble it and put it up again.

Christian Church

Church of Christ
United Methodist Church

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Old Arnett High School
Old school location behind the trees.

This is where I went to school from 1942 to 1954.
If you have a picture of the old Arnett School, please send it to me at
Old gym
Old band room & cafeteria
New gym
FFA building
Ball fields
New school

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Main Square Around the Court House

Movie house, Longhorn Bar & old garage
South side east end
Mural on the side of D & D Trading Post

South side west end
Post Office & Abstract Office

West side north end
Ambulance & Fire Stations

West side south end
Old abstract office & water tower

East side north end
Old Vincent Chevrolet building is on the east side at the south end.

North side west end
Arnett Town Hall in middle, bank on right
North side east end
Old Buckles Store and bank

Buckles meat locker behind store

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Other Buildings

Hamre house

Mr. John J. Hamre was the banker.
Branstetter house
Typical house
Yard of the Month house
Delapidated house
Circle C Motel & Circle G Cafe

Built by the Chesnut family who owned the service station across the street. East end of town on US 60.
Fair Grounds
Horse races & rodeos are held here.
There used to be dog races, also.
Old American Legion Hall
Used to be "Saturday Night Live" in Arnett. West end of town on US 60.
Senior Center & Water Tower
Lunches are served during week days.
A new cylindrical water tower is at the north end of town.
Old Plains Creamery

I used to delivery milk in an old red 1941 Ford pickup here every week day when I went to high school.

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Wind Energy in Northwest Oklahoma

Oil and Natural Gas in Northwest Oklahoma


Oil rig passing through town
Old combine SW of Arnett

My father, Fred Loyd Roper, used two of these to cut wheat from southern OK to NE.
Arnett New Holland Equipment
Land of my Grandfather, Joshua Rufus Roper, my father, Fred Lloyd Roper, and my uncle, Virgil Lewis Roper, 4-5 miles north of Arnett OK

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Things to Do in NW Oklahoma


Impressions of Arnett

Visits to Arnett

I left Arnett to go to college at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) in Shawnee OK in September 1954, where my brother, Kenneth Lee Roper, was also studying. I went back to Arnett about every three months during my four years at OBU. The next summer on 29 May 1955 I married my high-school sweetheart, Thelma Lee Rowland. Our first daughter, Tamra Dawn Roper, was born in Shawnee on 26 June 1957.

In June 1958 I drove a 1954 Ford sedan pulling a small trailer full of our belongings from Shawnee to Boston MA for me to go to graduate school to study theoretical physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge MA. For Christmas 1958 we flew from Boston to Oklahoma City to visit family near Arnett. For Christmass 1959 we went by train from Boston to Shattuck OK, where I was born, to visit family near Arnett. We drove from Boston to Arnett and then on to Albuquerque NM, where I had a summer job at Sandia Corporation for the summers of 1959 and 1960. The day after Christmas in 1960 Thelma's father, Carl L. Rowland, died, so Thelma and Tamra flew to Okahoma City to attend his funeral in Arnett. Our second daughter, Truda Gaye Roper, was born in Boston on 31 July 1961. We drove from Boston to Arnett and then on to Livermore CA for a summer job at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL) in 1962. I did not notice many changes in Arnett on those few visits.

After getting the PhD from MIT, I was a postdoctoral appointtee at LLL for 2.5 years. While there we made one train trip from San Francisco CA to Shattuck OK to visit family near Arnett.

Then I taught for two years at Kentucky Southern College in Louisville KY from 1965-67. I don't think that I visited Arnett in those years.

Then I took a job as assistant professor of physics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg VA in 1967, where I retired in 1998. From 1990 to 1995 I was head of the Department of Physics at Virginia Tech. We made sporadic visits to Arnett during over that period, including to attend funerals for my brother, Kenneth Lee Roper, in August 1983; my mother, Eva Lucille Franklin Roper, in May 1985; my father in December 1990; my wife, Thelma, in September 1993; and my sister, Marjorie Mae Roper Wieden, in February 1998, actually to the Tulsa area, not Arnett.

In November 1985 I flew to Oklahoma City to receive the Oklahoma Baptist University Profile in Excellence Award at Shawnee; I also visited relatives in Arnett. In November 1993 I attended my 40th OBU reunion; I also visited relatives in Arnett.

I noticed many changes in and around Arnett during those various visits, especially regarding the booms and busts of the oil industry.

On 14 February 1994 I married my wife, Jeanne Muriel Baril Roper; she accompanied me to near Tulsa OK to attend Marjorie's funeral in 1998 and to Arnett for my 50th Arnett High School reunion in July 2004.

My elder daughter, Tamra Dawn Roper Oliver, and I drove my 2005 Toyota Prius Hybrid to Arnett in the summer of 2008. I notice great changes in and around Arnett over the four years since my last visit:

Tamra and I drove to Arnett in her 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid in the summer of 2009. It was interesting to see the changes in and around Arnett:

Woodward OK wind farms

170 Megawatts power. 7 miles north of Woodward.
Future NW Oklahoma wind farms
112-miles 345-kilovolt power line from Woodward to Oklahoma City
Oklahoma University to get all its electricity from NW OK wind farms.

Antelope Hills in Roger Mills County OK about 20 miles southwest of Arnett. Can be seen from Arnett.

Sunsets are spectacular in NW Oklahoma.
My 5th-Grade Class, Arnett Oklahoma, Mrs. Wealthia Shafer I am 2nd from the right in top row.

Arnett Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce

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