In 2015, following the 75th anniversary celebration of the completion of the Pensacola Dam, Joe Harwood birthed the idea of an annual celebration for the Goose, who laid the golden egg for all of northeastern Oklahoma. After a couple of attempts to host the event near the dam itself, it has called Lawhead Hollow/Hippie Hollow Cove home for the past several years and continues to celebrate the completion of the dam and an iconic rock star. It has expanded into an overnight raft-out on Friday night followed by a concert from 1-5pm on Saturday. But it never could have become what it is today, without the full support of Rick, "I Love Music, Huskey and his participation.
Huskey, who owns the former Leon Russell compound, was one of the first to voice strong support for such a gathering relocating in Lawhead Hollow. The Tulsa Chiropractor, who admittedly has been a Leon Russel fan since his junior High School days, jumped at the opportunity to honor Leon. Plans called for Huskey’s own band, the Barrett Lewis Band, voted one of the best in Tulsa over the years, to be performing from the very deck Russell once enjoyed.
Huskey, who once had Leon Russell back on the property in the early nineties to perform at Todd Chapman’s thirtieth birthday party, has owned the property for some 30 plus years. Prior to that the compound was owned by Bill Ramsay. It was on the market when Huskey’s long-time real-estate partner, Rob Phillips, proved instrumental in getting Huskey to visit the property.
Rick says, “A friend had told me about a place on the South end of the lake, which had previously been owned by a car dealer being up for sale, but I knew I couldn’t afford something like that. But Rob knew I was a huge Russell fan and encouraged me to take a look. On the way there to meet Bill Ramsay, Rob coached me up by saying, ‘now look, you don’t have to tell this guy you’re a huge Leon Russell fan’”
Huskey adds, “That first trip we discovered the place had really run down, Ramsay didn’t even have a key to the recording studio and the pool had some problems. After a second trip, thanks to some creative financing, we got the deal done and we’ve been here ever since.”
Rick seems to love reminiscing about the Russell days even more so since he has owned the property. His favorite story recounts an outing at the lake when Leon was hosting Bob Dylan as his guest. He repeats the tale like this: “Yeah, they had been out on the lake and needed some gas for the boat. They pulled in to one of the marinas and were having the dock girl fill up the boat. Leon had gone inside the ships store when the attendant jabs Dylan in the ribs and says, ‘you do know that guy you’re running around with, Leon Russell, is a rock star, right?’ Russell got a huge kick out of that since Dylan had been his musical hero forever."
The stories abound, but Huskey’s greatest pleasure has been restoring the place, which is now over 50 years old. He’s had some dialogue with the powers to be about getting the place recognized as a Historical Marker and placed on the associated registers. A bit of Grand Lake history worth noting from days gone by.
Now for some equal time for the counter-point. As we've previously written, this all started with an idea advanced by Pete Churchwell to possibly change the name of Lawhead Hollow to in some way recognize the one time presence of Leon Russell. Some suggested Russell Cove while others thought they had seen the cove referred to as Hippie Hollow on a very dated map. Since there’s not much documentation on how coves were designated at the time the lake first filled, how to change a name was complicated at best and then, of course, there is the counter point delivered to us from Barbara Haver.
Barbara has been a property owner on Lawhead Hollow for over sixty-five years, and we’re paraphrasing here, but suggested Pete Chuchwell should discontinue meddling into the name of coves on the South end of the lake. She even pointed out that Pete’s Mom had been a good friend of hers and they were members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. I don’t know about you Pete, but it sounds to me like she’s not in favor of any name change. Her conclusion was that leaving the Lawhead Hollow name as is and to continue to honor our Native American families that sacrificed their land for our Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees.
When it comes to Grand Lake, Barbara is a recognized historian and in the past has even been a contributing writer for our publications over the years. Our observation; Barbara is akin to the old E.F. Hutton commercial….when she speaks, it is usually worth taking note of.
Our suggestion! Let’s all gather for a gigantic celebration in the cove just South of Drippings Springs for a really big birthday party and celebration of Russel's presence on Grand Lake come Saturday, August 7th…with music once again provided by the Barrett Lewis Band. No, no, no…check that, I really meant just south of Grays Hollow…
|Party Barge for sure!!|