Business Owner Stays Steadfast To Deserted Picher - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Business Owner Stays Steadfast To Deserted Picher

Posted: Updated:
Picher could best be described as a ghost town. Picher could best be described as a ghost town.
Just underneath the town's water tower, is the Ole Miners Pharmacy. It's still there, still under the direction of Gary Linderman. Just underneath the town's water tower, is the Ole Miners Pharmacy. It's still there, still under the direction of Gary Linderman.
The one-mile-wide twister destroyed practically everything in its path. The one-mile-wide twister destroyed practically everything in its path.
The town may be slowly fading away, but they say you can count on the Ole Miners Pharmacy and that air of a friendly hometown. The town may be slowly fading away, but they say you can count on the Ole Miners Pharmacy and that air of a friendly hometown.
PICHER, Oklahoma -

Five years ago, a Green Country town was nearly leveled by one of the most powerful storms in state history.

Picher, in Ottawa County, was already on its last leg when the EF-4 tornado blew through, essentially sealing the town's fate.

But the former mining town along the state line has business owner who still calls Picher home.

"Ghost town" is perhaps the best way to describe Picher. It's full of vacated churches and empty town lots, but in the middle of it all, just underneath the town's water tower, is the Ole Miners Pharmacy.

It's still there, still under the direction of Gary Linderman.

12/11/2009 Related Story: Picher Superfund Site Receives Thousands in Stimulus

"I believe my purpose is to stay here and take care of people in this area," Linderman said.

He came to Picher in 1975 as an intern for now long gone pharmacy. His Ole Miners Pharmacy is a tribute to Picher's past and his own resiliency.

"I have a purpose here, I like it here," Linderman said.

Picher has quite the history, one you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. It became a Superfund site, after lead and zinc mines contaminated the water, and hundreds of families were bought out as the government worked to close down the town.

Then, five years ago, came the last straw, so to speak. An EF-4 tornado with 165-mile-an-hour winds had Picher in its sights.

The one-mile-wide twister destroyed practically everything in its path. Homes were toppled and debris scattered everywhere. Six people died because of the storm.

Linderman made it through the EPA buyouts and the tornado.

"I was blessed. I had hail damage to my roof and that was it. I was very fortunate," he said.

5/11/2008 Related Story: Tornado Death Toll Increases In Picher

Other than a county barn where road graters are stored, Linderman is all that Picher has to offer, and he loves everything about it.

Linderman said he's stayed there because he's needed and because, "The people are wonderful and they're very supportive."

He calls his patients family and knows everyone by name. His "family" is amazed by his dedication and touched by the charm of his store.

"You feel at home...everybody just makes you feel comfortable," said Miami resident Robert Muis.

That could also describe Picher, at least from those we spoke with. The town may be slowly fading away, but they say you can count on the Ole Miners Pharmacy and that air of a friendly hometown.

"It's sad now, to see it like this. But I can still feel the warmth and everything when I come," said former Picher resident Kay Barker.

Linderman said he's thought about it a few times, but he has no plans to retire. He said he'll be right there in Picher until he's not needed anymore.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!

Share

See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive
Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.