A Little Local History and the Skiing Report from New Mexico

Welcome back.  Being at home for the holidays gave me a chance to catch up on several interesting stories and this is one of them:

The year was 1965 when Cassis Clay (now known as Muhammed Ali) defeated Sonny Liston and won the World Heavyweight Boxing Title. This was also the year that the World’s Fair took place in New York, the St. Louis Arch was completed, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law and singer Nat King Cole died. Overseas, World War II icon Winston Churchill died at the age of 90.

According to the Centennial History of Washington County, in Bartlesville and Washington County things were going full speed ahead. The Ekofish oil field was developed in the North Sea during this period bringing additional growth to Phillips Petroleum and to Bartlesville as scientists, engineers and accountants moved into this booming city. W.W. Keeler was the Chief Executive of Phillips Petroleum and was also the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Tribe when Congressman Ed Edmondson and business leaders Charlie Cummings and C.R. Musgrave approached him for advice on improving the economies in surrounding counties that weren’t doing as well. The outcome made local history when Green Country, Inc. was created. The organization was made up of sixteen counties dedicated to promoting tourism and industry in order to bring growth and jobs to the area.

New businesses were popping up everywhere in town, trying to keep pace with the needs of the ever-growing Phillips workforce. Many of these outfits came and went but a few became fixtures in the community. This is a short history of one of those places.

419 E. Frank Phillips Boulevard was a busy corner in 1965. The courthouse was on the opposite corner and Jane Phillips Hospital was just across the street. Hundreds of people passed by every day so what better spot for a TV and appliance store. This is where Ted Schwermer opened his store that through a series of abbreviations of “Ted’s Company” became known as “Teco’s”. From day one it was a success. Teco’s sold a wide variety of home appliances but service was always the most important part of the business. Boots Adams, the Artunoffs and the Price family all came to Teco’s to purchase TVs, washers and dryers and refrigerators. Ted’s son Gary (a ’68 graduate of Sooner High) estimates that during the past 50 years over 150,000 units have been sold through their store. For the past twelve years, Teco’s has been selected as the best appliance store in town by readers of the Examiner-Enterprise. The store also provided a backdrop for scenes in Terrance Malick’s movie “To the Wonder”.

With that said, this week I am here to announce that Gary is retiring and Teco’s has closed as of New Year’s Day. Gary will still be working at the store a few afternoons a week for a while to help past customers. He also tells me that his service techs have formed their own repair business so he can put you in touch with them as well. It was quite a run that became a piece of Bartlesville’s history.

For you folks with time on your hands around this time of the year, a ten hour drive can put you in another world. In New Mexico the Christmas and New Year’s crowds are gone, the college kids are back in school and if you like to ski lift tickets are cheaper. Snowfall has been good so far this season and both Angel Fire and Red River are reporting over 30” of snow with all of their trails and lifts open. There are special deals for ski passes and lodging especially during the week.

For those of you who don’t ski, the mountain village of Red River where elk and deer share main street with people or the super family friendly Angel Fire Resort are both just a short drive from Taos and Philmont where Waite Phillips’ mansion is open year around and Cimarron, New Mexico where western history was made. These are all wonderful places to visit in the winter and I hope to be out there again soon myself.

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