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fry, Sand Springs (6/7/2008 1:13:32 AM)
It truly was a "Chicken Restaurant". My grandmother was the cook. Her name was Clota Bridges. I only know the stories told me by my mother, but the place was famous for her fried chicken and apple pies. Truckers would stop and park across the street at what is now Newblock Park. It was the place to go after church and have a good meal. I have never seen the inside, so I am certainly going for the tour
From Urban Tulsa Weekly:
.....by Holly Wall
Many a Tulsan has likely driven west past downtown, where 3rd Street turns into Charles Page Boulevard, seen the Cave House on the right and wondered... who lives there? What's the inside look like? What is the story with that place, anyway?
Next time you drive by, if it's on a Saturday or Sunday, stop in. Say hi to Linda and Kate Collier, the mother/daughter duo who's owned the house for the past 10 years and is now offering weekend tours for five bucks a pop.
Linda says she bought the house when it went on the market 10 years ago because, like many locals, she was curious. She wanted to see inside. The first time she stepped in, she says, she felt the most peaceful calm. She and her husband originally purchased the commercial property to house their growing shutter business, but her husband hates the place and refuses to work there.
So since then, Linda has been fixing it up as a sort of hang out for herself and her girlfriends (who call themselves the "Cave Girls"), doing most of the work on her own. A few months ago she decided to start giving tours because people would wander in while she was working, and everyone said the same thing: "I've always wanted to see inside this place." Most times, she would drop what she was doing and show them around, detailing the history of the place and offering a few accounts of the paranormal. Since so many people were wandering in while she was working, Linda decided to designate the weekends for tours and use the money she earned to pay for repairs she couldn't do herself, like electrical and plumbing.
When you enter the Cave House, you instantly feel like you're inside the real deal. The place smells damp and musty but in a good way, like a real cave would. Linda, who is something of a packrat, has decorated the house, rather stylishly, with recycled objects she found on the streets, in people's trash, wherever.
The Cave House was built by Joseph R. Koberling in the 1920s as a cave restaurant, complete with stalactites, and was notorious for being the front to a speakeasy during prohibition. Linda says the likes of Pretty Boy Floyd and his gang of Outlaws would frequent the bar, which is now sealed shut.
Soon, she says, trainees at the Tulsa Fire Department will come in with cameras and drills and excavate the hidden room, which reportedly leads back to the hills behind the house.
There are also supposedly tunnels under and behind the house, sealed off and hidden, where, legend has it, bodies of black victims of the Ku Klux Klan. Newblock Park, adjacent to the Cave House, is rumored to be the site of a mass grave for victims of the 1921 Race Riot.
Older residents of the area may remember the "Rag Lady," whose real name isn't readily known, but who used to be seen walking every day, wearing heavy Coats and layers of rags, even in the summer.
Linda says, at one point, she covered an upstairs window with vinyl covering during a repair and would get calls from friends telling her how ridiculous it looked. When she'd get back to the house, her window would be covered with scraps of rags—rags she didn't put there. For a while, she thought her husband was trying to scare her, but he swore against it. Later, she learned the Rag Lady would collect scraps of fabric from the trash, wash them and hang them in the window to dry.
After that happened a few times, she called the Paranormal Investigation Team of Tulsa, who investigated the house and felt a strong presence of ghosts. The team has since added the Cave House to its new tour of Tulsa haunts.
Linda has only spent one night alone in the house and says, though she feels a strong spiritual presence, she doesn’t believe it's an angry or evil one. She still feels a sense of peace in the Cave House and now a sense of duty, a desire to preserve and restore it so that when people drive by and think, "I'd really love to see inside that place," they can. ☺
More about the Rag Lady:
My name is Monica Webb. My grandfather knows the ID of the Rag Lady. It was his sister's sister- in- law Ella Walker.
His sister Mabel was married to Bill Shepard (I am not sure of the spelling, but I can find out) and Bill's sister was Ella Shepard Walker. She was the "rag lady."
She was married to a man named Bill Walker (2 Bill's-isn't that funny?) They lived there, and Bill was a "shade tree mechanic" who used to work on cars there. They think she worked at the phone company.
They had some money...and supposedly Ella went a little crazy. So, that's why she would run around dressing like she did and gathering trash and rags. There is even a family lore that there are diamonds Ella used to wear before she went crazy and they disappeared and she said she hid them somewhere in the "cave house" and no one ever found them. Family legend says they are still hidden there somewhere today.
They never had any kids, and according to family lore they left everything to a young man who worked for them.
My mom remembers when she and my uncles were young (In the 1950's) they would see Ella walking around gathering items...and later they would see her pushing a buggy. And yes, she wore lots of layers regardless of the weather. My grandpa used to tease them that she was their "auntie"...so of course being teenagers they were mortified to be related to the crazy rag lady.
Another relative recalls when she would go visit Bill and Ella, she remembers a bar being somewhere in there...and she says there was a back bedroom that she always found dark and scary--and she never liked going there. It scared her.
I grew up in Tulsa, and as a child was always fascinated by the cave house. In the late 70s, a friend who lived on my street invited me to come to his stepfather's house for a sleep-over. As it turned out, stepdad lived in the cave house, and I got to spend the night there!
At the time, the cave house was in a state of mild disrepair, mostly do to the fact that the guy was a disabled vet with no legs. He simply wasn't able to properly maintain the place. Those oddly constructed steps up to the second floor are hard enough to navigate on two legs! Also, according to him, vandals would frequently throw rocks through the windows, damage his vehicles and satellite dish and generally destroy property outside the house. People would knock on the doors at all hours of the day or night and attempted break-ins were frequent, as was evidenced by the shotgun he kept by the door. He maintained his living space in the room at the far end of the porch, and rarely ventured out.
Staying there was such a surreal experience. There was a room upstairs that my friend swore was haunted, though my own exploration revealed no ghosts, spooky sounds or other phenomena. I would add that the acoustics in a cement house with domed ceilings do lend to the possibility of hearing things.
There is one thing that I don't see mentioned on the site. In the upstairs room towards the front of the house (where you have the sign with hours of operation), my friend directed me to a floorboard that is removable. Inside were old, colored glass bottles...corked with liquid still inside, alledgedly left over from the days of prohibition.
Kudos to you for maintaining the history of this unique landmark.
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