The Edmond Sun

Opinion

October 20, 2005

Exorcising OKC's downtown 'ghost station'

British author Peter Ackroyd wrote a history of London several years ago that received critical acclaim from a variety of sources. Ackroyd details at considerable length the history of the London subway system that is known as the “Underground.” The construction of the system began in earnest in the 1860s through what was known as the “cut and cover” method and the original trains were powered by steam.

The author describes the system’s construction as being a triumph of Victorian ingenuity and enterprise, and concludes that the spectacle of steam trains disappearing under the ground “like demons in a pantomime” satisfied London’s appetite for sensation. He believes that in time the Underground, which he describes as a “subterranean metropolis” acquired some of the aspects of the city under which it lay, and that today the “rhythms of the city are endlessly mimicked beneath it in the Underground’s patterns of activity and habitation.” The historian also notes that the system, like London itself, has its own particular associations and affiliations, and that it is located on the primeval swamp that was once London. Ackroyd describes the abandoned stations that are still in place in the Underground that are known as the “Ghost Stations” that still have platforms with faded posters on them. The closest thing that Oklahoma City may have to an Underground is the Metro Conncourse that is located underneath downtown Oklahoma City.

Constructed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and named after Banker Jack Conn who was described as the “father of the Conncourse,” the Conncourse is a series of tunnels and bridges that connect several downtown buildings. During the early 1980s, The Conncourse had a variety of restaurants , clubs and retail establishments that were filled with patrons during the lunch hour and after work. Just as the London Underground reflects the metropolis above it, the Conncourse mirrored the downtown Oklahoma City of that time, with places that catered to bankers, attorneys and oilmen. Business suits, shoeshines and cocktails could all be purchased within its confines.

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Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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