This year’s Journey Stories at the Three Valley Museum has come to a close. Thursday evening, the event ended with a presentation by Farrell Hatch and Joe Taylor on the age when Durant was a “marriage mill.”
Hatch and Taylor are retired judges and Hatch stills serves as the judge for the Bryan County Drug Court
The two told colorful stories of people who would come from north Texas to get married.
During the 1940s through the 1970s, many would travel to Oklahoma where the waiting period and blood tests for weddings could be waived to get married.
They told how couples would come during all times of night and day. The court clerks kept marriage licenses in their homes to accommodate late-night weddings.
The two explained that Durant was a hot spot for this because of its location and the fact that Ninth and Main used to be the intersection for three highways.
They told of the famous weddings such as that of Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer and local well-knowns such as “Old Face” who used to own the local restaurant The Upper Crust.
Though Journey Stories is over, the story of these Vegas-style marriages in Durant is not.
The Three Valley Museum along with the Durant area Chamber of Commerce and Durant Main Street will be hosting a special event for those who “got hitched” in Durant during that time.
On June 8, 2013 there will be a vow renewal festival held on the courthouse lawn followed by a reception. The reception will likely be held at the Three Valley Museum.
“We’re inviting as many people as we can get ahold of,” said Three Valley Museum curator Nancy Ferris. The festival is in the planning stages now.
Ferris said she urges all who were married in Durant at this time or know of someone to contact her at the museum at (580) 920-1907.