The Constantine Theatre Pawhuska, OK

Welcome back once again to your unofficial report from Pawhuska on how the filming of a 200-million-dollar movie there is coming along. From the spot where Apple Films built a replica train station, I can tell you all the trains and train cars are gone. The props have been taken away and I’ve noticed many of the cimi trails that were there are also gone. Are they done shootingthe scenes there? Well, it sure looks like it! All last week 200 extras along with another 100 or so crew members were in Fairfax where I understand they will all be again this week before returning to Pawhuska to film scenes in the downtown area. Friends it is not too late to see history in the making right in your backyard.

There’s another story I’m following in Pawhuska and no it’s not about Ree Drummond but a movie theatre that opened first as a boarding house back in 1880. After a fire damaged the building in 1914 Greek entrepreneur Charles A. Constantine bought itand converted the facility into a theater, showcasing all the big vaudeville acts of the day. Not a man to go partway on the remodel, he installed extra-large chairs, professional lighting and s top of the line heating and ventilating system. He even brought in an acoustical designer from New York City.  The theater was a big hit but times changed so in 1926 Constantine replaced the stage with a movie screen. This grand showplace was second to none in its heyday but over the years it changed hands several times ending up vacant for ten years and filling with water from a leaky roof.

The theater was bound for the wrecking ball until in 1984 a group of citizens got together to save it. At the time Pawhuska was poor and money was hard to come by. Three years went by and nothing happned then the high school carpentry class began a remodel in 1987. Prisoners from nearby Connors Correctional Institute and volunteers helped the students remove debris, install new plumbing and electric service and restore the interior to its former glory.

The Constantine Theatre is now open for many events and for rentals. This local landmark deserves a visit so mark July 24th on your calendar and I’ll tell you why in a future column. Till then give em a call to find out what’s happening at the Constantine.Another story I’m fo0llowing from Pawhuska has to do with their Chamber of Commerce which I recently joined. I have belonged to the Chamber of Commerce in Bartlesville for over 20 years so you might ask why I joined in Pawhuska; here’s the scoop. The chambers aren’t just for businesses, they also support the people in their towns. Need directions., a phone number or information about a special event? The chamber is there and you don’t have to be a member to get their assistance. In Bartlesville Sherri Wilt and her staff are always friendly and helpful. The same is true in Pawhuska where they have just hired Kelly Bland to head the Chamber. Kelly will also be he Director of Tourism for Osage County so she will have a big job for sure but after meeting her last week I know she will be successful.

See ya in Pawhuska or till next time I’ll see ya down the road..                                                                                                                                                                          

Another Unsolved Mystery in Osage County, Oklahoma

Welcome back.  The sun doesn’t shine everyday so I’m starting this week with a dark day in our history back on June 23, 1976. You regular readers know of the Cindy Kinney story from a series of columns I wrote several months ago but for you new readers here’s a brief recap of this tragic story,

In 1976 Cindy was a junior at Pawhuska High School and a member of the Pom Squad and she also worked part time at her aunt’s laundromat downtown on Kihikah Street. Early in the morning of June 23rd this all-American girl just disappeared from the face of the earth while she was at the laundromat. Local police, the sheriff’s department and state investigators spent hundreds of man hours searching but found no clues about what had happened to her.  All they found was her purse, her pom-pom and a half-eaten donut. After learning about the case, I myself have spent several days reviewing files and newspaper clipping in search of a lead, even begging the public through my column for information about her disappearance without any success. Could she have been abducted by a local person?  Having checked out every possible suspect in town investigators still wonder what happened to her.

What about one of the deranged serial killers who were terrorizing the country back in the day when Cindy disappeared you may ask and with the recent death of Samuel Little who confessed to 93 murders I’ve been looking into that idea myself.

During his killing spree Little was known to have traveled across the country so he many have come to Oklahoma. However, his victims were all young black women, many of whom were drug addicts without a lot of family and with a big family and many friends Cindy did not fit this description. Little, who is considered by the FBI to be the most prolific serial killer in US history, died in a California prison this past December.

Gary Ridgeway, aka the Green River Killer, is second on the FBI’s list of serial killers in the U.S. and he was known for killing young women. His victims though were prostitutes and teenage runaways and although he was in the trucking business there is no indication that he was ever in Oklahoma. After his arrest Ridgeway made a deal to serve a life sentence in exchange for his assistance in identifying his victims which spared him from the death penalty.

Another was John Wayne Gacy, a building contractor and Democratic Party precinct captain who maintained a façade of normalcy that hid his secret life as a killer. Gacy lured his victims to his ranch house outside of Chicago where he chocked them, then buried their bodies under his house.  By the time he was captured in 1978 he had killed 33 people but none were girls and again, there is no evidence that he was ever in Pawhuska.

Ted Bundy who is known to have killed at least 36 women in seven states across the country started his killing spree in 1974. A smart man with a degree in psychology from the University of Washington who was studying to be lawyer, Bundy would lure women by pretending to be injured then he would knock them unconscious with a crowbar and throw them into his car. After his initial capture in 1975 he escaped from jail twice and the second time he managed to get to Florida where he murdered two Chi Omega Sorority girls on the campus of Florida State University along with a twelve-year girl from the area before he was caught. Bundy was eventually executed in 1989.

All of these men were thoroughly investigated by law enforcement in Pawhuska but to no avail. So once again, if you have any knowledge pertaining to the disappearance of Cindy Kinney, please contact the the Pawhuska Sherriff’s Department

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…