The Ghostly Waters of Bromide
Like Sulphur 40 miles to the west, Bromide was a spa town at the turn of the
20th century. Nestled inside rolling hills not too far from
Durant and
Tishomingo, hundreds of people would make the trip via railroad to sample
the sulphuric waters. Oddly, the train didn't stop in Bromide. It ran from
Durant to Bromide Junction, where men with buckboards would take visitors
to the downtown. Hotels spread out all over Bromide, so that at the peak of
the summer, this little town would swell to well over a thousand people.

While today's Bromide seems a little off the beaten path - OK Highway 7D,
the only main road, dead-ends into the town - it used to not be that isolated.
The
Wapanucka Academy, opened in 1852, was just to its east, and the town
of Wapanucka lies just a few mile away. Bromide made money not just as a
spa town, but also as a rock quarry. Promoted as "the best health resort in
the southwestern United states" (
Chronicles of Oklahoma), Bromide was set
to become a fairly busy and prosperous town.

But things didn't work out for little Bromide. The Wapanucka Academy
closed for good in 1911. By the 1920s, the spa vacations had dropped
sharply, and the Missouri Oklahoma Gulf Railroad stopped running
excursion trains. Other spa towns in the greater region attracted those who
were able to afford more elaborate vacations - Hot Springs, Arkansas, and
Mineral Wells,Texas, thrived while Bromide withered.

The many springs that fueled Bromide's early economy have been capped,
but are still visible in backyards all around the town. The hotels are long
gone, and the shells of a few buildings are the only remnants of the
once-busy city center. Today's Bromide, in the broad definition, is a ghost
town.
I promise you that the sign says "Bromide," even though it's hard
to read - bad camera angle!
What used to be commercial buildings in downtown Bromide are
now caving in.
The City Hall, built of locally quarried stone, is still in use.
One of the springs in someone's back yard.
I bet you want to know where Bromide is. Fear not! It's on the map. Or, just
take OK 7 east from Atoka to OK 7D. Go north on OK 7D until you get to
Bromide.