Join fine art photographer Keith Dotson for an abandoned places experience in Clearview, Oklahoma
Follow along as Teena and I explore some of the historic ruins left in Clearview, Oklahoma, including the Abe Lincoln Trading Company.
The old Abe Lincoln Trading Company, also called the Last Chance Bar or the Juke Joint
The Abe Lincoln Trading Company was built in 1903 in the all-Black community of Clearview Oklahoma (which was called Lincoln, Oklahoma at the time). The abandoned building is more commonly known as the Last Chance Bar or The Juke Joint, which was housed here in later in years before becoming abandoned.
The Abe Lincoln Trading Company originally sold groceries and building materials, and was called — “pivotal for the establishment of the town.” One of the original owners, John Grayson, also served as the first postmaster of Clearview.
The community was established by freed slaves as the town of Lincoln — name changed to Abelincoln by the Post Office in 1904 — and later back Lincoln. Somewhere between 1909 and 1911, the name changed permanently to Clearview. Oklahoma didn’t become a state until 1907 when the Indian Territory and the Oklahoma Territory were merged together to join the union.
The Abe Lincoln Trading Company was added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 2023, the same month we visited to photograph the ruins.
Clearview had a two-story hotel and a print shop, a brick school building, two churches and a factory that made bricks. By 1916, there was a college called the Creek and Seminole Agricultural College northeast of town.
Clearview was also known for a very popular rodeo and in the early days had a talented baseball team.
The Great Depression took a serious toll on Clearview and when the price of cotton collapsed, crippling the town’s economy, it never bounced back.
The foundation of one demolished building now holds a memorial to Clearview’s war dead. There are three names: James B. Black, killed in World War II; Leonard “Mutt” Mayberry, also killed in World War II; and Anthony Grundy, killed in Vietnam. Many thanks to these brave men for their sacrifice.