Back when hamburgers were a nickel and beer came in barrels, W. L. Carleton founded his "pig stand" along Highways 66 and 33 in Sapulpa.
The location, on what is now the 200 block N. Mission, seemed ideal for his business and for nearly three decades he served thousands of satisfied customers -- including a hundred schoolkids a day and travelers from all over the country.
Carleton sold the drive-in more than 10 years ago, but he still frequents the establishment, which has kept his name (Carl's Pig Stand) and most of his menu.
"The place is like home to me. I come here every day or two," said Carleton, seated at a corner booth in the restaurant dining room where he started in 1941, "eight months before Pearl Harbor."
But the days of the pig stand are numbered. Like many of the unique dining spots scattered along America's highways, it has fallen victim to the big business monster. Within months, McDonalds Corp., the billions-sold burger king, will take over the site, replacing Carleton's barbeque pit with its golden arches and his pig sandwiches with its Big Macs.
"It's a great location and always has been," said Carleton. "We used to need a half dozen carhops and four cooks in the kitchen. During the war we were the only place that stayed open and we had all the business we could handle."
Carleton came to Sapulpa from Shawnee, where he had operated a similar restaurant. But it was here that his pit barbequeing techniques and special sauce made his place a regular dining spot for local citizens and a favorite stop for travelers.
"We had a fire here that closed us down for a month once and my wife and I were hijacked one night after closing," Carleton recalled. "But for the most part things stayed about the same over the years -- we kept busy."
There is a possibility the Sapulpa Historical Museum may inherit the restaurant door, with its pig-shaped window, and the pig-stand sign which, before it ceased to work, had neon ears and a tail that wiggled for pasing motorists.
But the Pig Stand itself will disappear, bringing N. Mission St. a more modern, yet less interesting, appearance.
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