To say that the Indian Meridian Road leading to and becoming the main street of the ghost town of Meridian is worse for wear would be a vast understatement. We turned off the state highway and onto Indian Meridian, exchanging telling glances as we surveyed the red rolling hills and rough path ahead. The patchwork of age worn asphalt looked as though it might disappear into a field anytime and with no real signs of a town as far as the eye could see, for once I started questioning what I’d gotten us into. The land stretching far and wide was a beautiful kind of sad, an exceptional example of the sort of landscape that makes central Oklahoma stunning, wild and independent. But this particular stretch has a nostalgic, forgotten air pockmarked here and there with oilfield equipment. An occasional wind gush shoved us as we dodged craters, but aside from prairie wind and engine drone there was an overwhelming silence, agitated by our disturbance. The oppressive sky was thick with a wooly blue gray cloud mass, neither rainy nor rolling, but hanging and hazy, muting out all but late afternoon sun glare.
We came cautiously into what is left of Meridian, taking in the remaining buildings which stand as though they were unceremoniously abandoned in the middle of life, cut short, now stoic and silent in the high wind. Here and there a marker, a street sign where a street could no longer be seen, occasional swaths of former sidewalk and clumps of ornamental trees marking where a front yard once was before the house fell down and was eaten by the earth. I haven’t seen so many persimmon and other fruit trees since I left the South, and so out of place as the wild grows back. Your eye scans nearby for a bungalow or farmhouse circa 1920, but the lot is empty, and while occasionally you could make out a vague plot outline, there were no other signs of the past lives lived there.
A former railroad town from pre-statehood when the westward trek was cutting through the plains, Meridian was established around long gone depots on the Indian Meridian shortly after the turn of the last century. Early on, a large fire decimated the original township, but with the prosperity of the twenties came growth. In a gradual decline from that era forward, Meridian has withered to its current state of near disappearance.
For additional photos of the general store seen above, see here.