Photo Essay: Life In Loco

by John Williams

A tiny town on highway 53 in Oklahoma.

The definition of a small town. A town called “Loco.” Although it is anything but a big city, in fact a small cruise ship probably has more square footage, the heart and the history of Loco is anything but small. 

My mother’s side of the family has lived in this town since the 1890’s. The oldest resident, my grandad Harold Dale Lawrence, who is 94 as of 2021 has lived in Loco since his childhood. Despite his old age, he is still an avid car collector and has a sizable collection of Model-Ts and other antique cars. 

Right across the street from the Lawrence residence is the town’s only store, “Crazy Corner” or as many of the folks simply call it, “The store.” Crazy Corner is ran by Debbie, the store’s owner. Any day you can find truckers, farmers, families and ranchers going in and out the door and sitting at the tables eating and talking about cattle.

Loco’s main industry for a long time was farming and ranching until it was joined by another industry in the late 1910s, with the introduction of the oil and gas industry to the area. Take a short drive in any direction from the town and you are bound to find some manner of pump-jack, cattle lot or oil tank. The powerful oil sucking machines still run to this day. They stand looming over the red clay roads and creaking to the rhythm of a more prosperous time.

This story has been told hundreds of times about so many towns across the United States.

A story of some small town in the middle of no-where, and how back in the day a bustling community thrived, but soon enough it was all forgotten by most. Only a few still remember. Only a few still live that memory. That time is still there though, despite living in the rusted metal of a broken down tractor or the stories of a grandparent’s hay day.

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