UrbEx: The Elbow Part I

Today, a couple of friends (Josie and Carrie) and I are headed to Guthrie, OK to explore an historic neighborhood known as The Elbow. We took about two weeks to plan, research, and gather info on the site and put together supplies.

If you research abandoned places and ghost towns in Oklahoma, many of them appear to have nothing left of them, or they have been incorporated into newer towns and cities. The Elbow is a place that appears to have some full structures and sections of structures that are still standing. This is one reason that I am pretty optimistic about this trip. So, let’s take a look at what information we have so far.

As the historian for our excursion, Josie researched and found some background on The Elbow that will be incorporated into the next blog post. She also found some maps from different decades that will really help provide us with some great context as we explore the area.

What I will say right now in terms of history is that this area was part of Guthrie itself. It is located on the west side of the city and was an African-American neighborhood. In the 1970s it was evacuated because constant flooding endangered the residents.

Carrie is in charge of logistics and navigation. So, her challenge is to keep Josie and I from wandering aimlessly or ending up in the creek. I have full confidence in her abilities and she even came up with some invaluable information to help us plan our journey. So, here is what we know about the site and conditions for that day:

The site is on public park land…or at least so far as we can tell as most of what we have researched leads us to believe this. The park is called Noble Park and it seems as though there are plans to revitalize the area. All the more reason to document now. This information is important as it keeps us legal.

The bridges around Cottonwood Creek are down. All of them. At first, we thought we would simply wade through the freezing cold water with specialized waterproof coverings (plastic trash bags) over our boots. Lucky for us, Carrie found that there are a number of felled trees that form a crossing point over the creek!

Analysis of digital maps shows that the entire area inside the confines of the creek is a little less than a square mile. Finding things should not be a problem.

There are several structures visible inside the perimeter that we can see from the map, so we have some idea of where we will need to go. It will save time instead of merely walking around blindly.

A very important factor for us to consider is that we will be in a flood plain and there has been precipitation on and off during the week. It is hard to tell whether it will be wet when we get there, but we will attempt to be prepared (trash bags again).

Never mind the temperature, the windchill will be 40F for the high at 4 p.m. We will be arriving in the late morning, so it will be cold. We will be dressing in warm layers and attempting to stay dry (you guessed it, trash bags).

I have put together a kit list for the UrbEx which is not unlike the one outlined in a previous blog post. Quite honestly, the original 10 essentials are items you should take any time you are hiking, biking, trekking, etc. a ways away from home. In addition to this list, we will be bringing:

a camera tripod

extra clothes



trash bags

I will be posting images to social media throughout the day and will post a blog about the trip itself and what we found next week.

Link to Original Post: https://ccartersite.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/urbex-the-elbow-part-1/