Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dragging Douglas

Today I heard.....there might be talk of planning a new annual event in Wichita!!!! Of course it is in the very earliest of stages but if this particular event were to come to fruition, I am thinking this might take on a life of its own as events go. The best part.....I might get to have a tiny part in its inception as it is being tossed around on one of the facebook pages that I created.

So please go back with me in time to the early 1950's to the late 1980's. In Wichita there is a street and a section of it goes east and west through the down town area. The streets name is Douglas. Just saying the name can bring about some amazing memories for a lot of people. So what was so special about Douglas? Well for a 30+ year expanse....if you were a teen, lived within a 30 miles spance of Wichita, had a great car (or any car for that matter) and a group of friends....then on Friday and Saturday nights.....you were dragging Douglas!

The part of the street we dragged was about a two mile stretch and on a really busy night.....it could take two hours to complete the stretch. It was where many a drag race was started as fast cars would rev their engines, pick their competition and then meet up at some disclosed location to see who really was the fastest. There were Chinese fire drills, girls and guys jumping into each others cars and lots of music blasting from the radios. It was a scene straight out of American Graffiti and a time in many of our lives that will never be forgotten. Sadly, with gang violence and Old Town trying to breathe life back into down town Wichita, dragging Douglas was outlawed and something we took for granted and thought would always be there, was gone.

A few years ago, after having a conversation with Z about dragging Douglas and his eyes lighting up at the idea of such a thing and such a place, I decided to start a facebook page about it. I figured if I remembered it and it held such a special place for me, that it might also hold that special feeling for others. I wanted people to have a place to come and reminisce. I hit this one on the mark because within a few weeks there were over 7,000 people who had joined and were sharing their memories, pictures of their cars and stories of their cherished days dragging Douglas. It was amazing to know how many people met on Douglas and later married, how many people still have the car(s) they drove back then and how many people loved those days just as much as I did.

When facebook decided to redo the groups, I Used to Drag Douglas was one that took the hit and wiped out the entire group membership. Since,  I have been working to rebuild and we are almost up to 1,000 now. As people are realizing that the group is still there....they are trickling in, joining or rejoining and the memories are flowing again.

The other night on the heels of the Old Settlers car show and the Black Top Nationals in Wichita, there was much reminiscing going on. One of the members suggested that an annual event be started in Wichita where those that used to drag could come back and for one night.....Douglas would be opened back up for those wanting to stroll....errr....drag down memory lane. My mind started thinking about a weekend event. It would be awesome revenue for Old Town and even the downtown area. Many chimed in that even though they lived out of state......they would come back for such an event. Anyone who knows me, knows planning an event such as this would be right up my alley and I think that this could even be successful for years to come. Perhaps we need to whisper in the ear of some radio personalities and start finding out who has "what" connections?!!!! I definitely believe this event could be a winner.

So yeah....I heard that many many many people loved dragging Douglas and there are those that want it to live on in Wichita history and not just die because we let it. If you ever dragged Douglas, I would love to hear your opinions and comments. Feel free to share,  because somethings......should just never be forgotten!


MarniJ said...

Oh how fun!!!
I remember dragging Douglas with a girlfriend when we were in high school. We would always take her fathers "California Special" mustang for it would get everyone's attention. It was such a great way to have fun. Yeah...we met quite a few people while we were going up and down the street! Man what fun that was!!!!

Anonymous said...

I would come back to Wichita for an event like that. Some of the best teenage memories I have were made down on Douglas. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

I wish I were a Douglas alumni. It sounds like it was a lot of fun with some great memories. I would think your city would love to promote something that has such a far reaching arm. I am sure there are people all over the country and maybe even the world who would come back for something like this. You should really get it going and keep your readers posted.

Anonymous said...

My only comment is where can I sign up? Great idea.

Anonymous said...

Douglas! A thousand years ago and only yesterday. The memories I have from dragging Douglas are for a lifetime. I wish very much that you are able to get an event like this going. I know that many would including me would love to be a part of it. Please let us know if your planning progresses. Thank you for sharing this. I think you just made my day!