- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2015

DRUMRIGHT, Okla. (AP) - Tim Daniel is nothing if not nostalgic.

He practices law under the same shingle his dad did and is apt to wear his late father’s Burberry suit.

But he and others soon will have to part with one piece of local history: the Drumright division of Creek County District Court.

A town cornerstone since 1917, the court ceased all operations at the close of business on Oct. 30. With venues in Sapulpa and Bristow, Creek County remains the only county in the state where regular district court is held in more than one city, said Jari Askins, state administrative director of the courts.

“We’ve all lived with this; we’ve known this day was coming,” Daniel said from his office on Broadway, Drumright’s main drag. “You try to take the long view that it’s like a death and that we’ve had it a long time and just be grateful.”

The final district court session was held in Drumright on Oct. 4. Deputy Court Clerk Bobbie Clark, whose job will move to the county seat of Sapulpa, is the last employee left in the Drumright division.

“Even the defendants who come in and pay, they are sad it’s closing,” she said.

Threats of shutting down the city-owned court building have popped up periodically over the decades, but the town has always rallied, Daniel said. Today, its demise is due largely to disuse.

About 104 criminal and civil cases have been filed in Drumright in 2015, a spokeswoman with the Creek County court clerk’s office said. That compares to a total of roughly 856 in Bristow and 2,226 in Sapulpa.

The city of Drumright will continue to use the building for municipal court, and the city’s police department will move into offices previously occupied by the county, City Manager Mark Whinnery said.

“It’s just one of many things that have changed since I was a young man,” Creek County District Judge Joe Sam Vassar said of the Drumright division’s closing. “I miss a lot of them, yes.”

Recently, Daniel led a pair of journalists from the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/1iyvpXk ) on an impromptu tour of the nondescript, two-story brick building. A judge’s robe still hangs in chambers, and bits of evidence from cases past attract dust in the jury room.

Daniel flips through a stack of black-and-white photographs and examines a tan leather boot with an “exhibit” sticker attached. Nearby is a piece of tire that the attorney says was linked to a plaintiff who unsuccessfully sued Uniroyal in the late 1970s.

“In this room, enormous judgments were rendered,” said Daniel, pausing to reflect.

“People’s fate hung in the balance for murder trials.”

On the second floor, last used as a courtroom in the late 1980s, insulation droops through holes in a false ceiling. Adjacent rooms house remnants of a law library, a giant safe and items such as tin of Civil Defense “Survival Biscuits.”

“The only people that will miss the courthouse are that people who have business with the court, which is anyone, any defendant, plaintiff, whatever,” Daniel said. “On a local level, it’s going to really hurt the town.”

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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