Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A once-thriving industry in rural west Tulsa

I have poked around this old "homesite" on Turkey Mountain a few times looking for a micro-geocache, and have yet to find it. It could be anywhere---under a rock, stuck to the back side of a piece of tin, hanging in a tree, or it could be gone.
I may give it another try, or maybe not. When I go to Turkey, I would rather run than spend much time turning over rocks.

But I have made one discovery--this was not just a homeless man's shelter. I have found a few things here which has opened up a bit of history, and after speaking to a couple of older folks who have lived in the area for years, I am sure I am right.

Not too far from this collapsed tin shelter, there is a structure which I thought was a well, but I am not not so sure.

This picture, found on Google, is a moonshine still. The similar domed structure is a wood burning furnace and the shape of it forces the heat directly to the still which sits on top. The steam from the still rises and runs through a pipe into an adjacent keg, and where it cools and runs into a third keg and is then is dispensed into bottles or jugs, as the drawing below shows.

Back to the collapsed shelter (which from now on, I'll refer to as a moonshine camp.) There are bits and pieces of still parts laying around. And, one end of the shelter has an rock and earthen wall bnuilt that might have been one side of the furnace.
Here is some rusty pipe in which potent corn mash once traveled. Also, a metal trough may have been used in the cooling process.

There are a number of old rusty metal buckets too. A nearby water source is necessary for outlaw moonshiners. There may have been a spring in the area, but for sure, water could have been toted from a nearby pond. This might not have been the best brew, but when you need a drink, maybe that did not matter. Wooden barrels were often used, but as old as this camp is, those wood barrels probably would be completely rotted by now.

At one time, a still like this one was brewing away. These folks were the small businessmen of their time. Or, they were the meth labs of their time, depending on how you want to look at it.

A quick Google search brings up many recipes for the do-it-yourself Moonshiners. This seems like a good recipe for Moonshine. Anyone wanna brew up a batch? I'll be your taster.

My sources who seemed to confirm my notion that this was a moonshine factory were purposely vague, as if they knew more than they were saying. One of them did mention an old man who lived out there and probably had his hand in that. But when I asked about him, they cut me off and would say no more. It seemed like I overstepped my boundaries by asking, and I have not talked to them since--but I wonder if I know who this man is?

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