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Eat at Ned's Grill PDF Print E-mail
Written by Buddy Johnson   
Thursday, 18 June 2009 06:00


By Buddy Johnson, Metropolitan Library System 

The photographer of this snapshot, looking south on Hudson towards Downtown from 12th Street, probably meant to capture the heavy snowfall shrouding Oklahoma City. A series of three ice and snow storms assualted the city in January, 1949. It was the most snow on record and oldtimers said it was the worst in their memory. Power lines snapped and crippled phone lines left the city without long distance service for awhile. City officials even took the drastic step of cordoning off Downtown with barricades – there were so many abandoned cars littering the streets they weren’t letting anymore in until road crews could plow pathways. Downtown hotels filled with workers unable to make it home and they watched helplessly as wreckers towed their cars to a yard until things thawed a bit.

This snapshot also provides us with an excellent view of what neighborhood life was like in Oklahoma City before the automobile-fueled expansion to the suburbs in the 1950s. Now part of Midtown, the area around 12th and Hudson was once referred to as Uptown. In 1949, the area’s residential mix included single family homes, duplexes and hotel apartments. Most of the amenities of daily life were provided within walking distance. Glancing around the photo you can see homes interspersed with the Uptown Grocery, Ned’s Grill, and the Uptown Theatre. On that one stretch of Hudson a doctor, a drug store, 3 beauty shops and a candy store could all be found.



The Uptown was one of many ‘neighborhood theatres’ around the city. The luxurious Downtown theatres showed first run movies, but in the days before television and home video, these theatres ran classic and fan-favorite films. Angels With Dirty Faces and They Drive By Night were on offer in this photo. Owned by the Ferris family chain, the Uptown operated from 1941-1955. The building is still there and has served a number of commercial uses since then.

Ned’s Grill was a busy burger joint in the 1940s and 1950s before owner Ned Mutz closed it and opened Ned’s Steakhouse near Northwest Classen High School about the time the theatre closed. Ned’s is fondly remembered by longtime city residents for its delicious pizza.


- Reprinted by permission from "info", the official magazine of the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County.