A Step Back in Time in
This bronze sculpture by
Williams on Route 66 in Elk City Oklahoma
symbolizes the handshake as a true meaning of a "Binding Contract".
Photo by David Fisk. Available for photo
is a town filled with history, from tales of the
to the oil boom days of the early 1980s, it provides an abundance of
opportunity in sights to see, and sets a shining example of western
Before this part of
Territory was opened up to settlement, thousands of head of cattle
were driven over the "Great Western Trail” from
on their way to
However, in 1892, the surplus land of the Cherokee Outlet was opened
and settlers began to filter into the area.
The first pioneer who
settled on what would one day become Elk City
was named J.M. "Joe” Allee who homesteaded a quarter section of land
just east of Elk Creek in 1897. In March of 1901, the Choctaw Townsite and Improvement Company purchased land from Allee,
anticipating the arrival of the Choctaw and Gulf Railroad later that
year. Wasting no time, the town site company filed a survey of
platted lots on March 18, 1901 and planned to sell the lots just two
days later. Before the sale even started, hundreds of prospective lot
owners had built a tent city.
On the day of the sale the town-site company
sold $32,000 worth of property.
Originally the town
was called Crowe. However, some of the business people in the
new settlement hoped to entice Adolphus Busch into building a brewery
in the new town and tried to change the name to Busch, but they were
defeated. In the end, the town’s name was officially changed to Elk
after Elk Creek.
The first stores
built in Elk City included general merchandise, grocery stores, lumber,
hardware and dry goods. Also springing up were several
restaurants, along with the ever present
saloons. Professionals included attorneys, physicians and bankers.
On August 13, 1901 the Choctaw Railroad
was completed and just seven days later the first train service
arrived in town.
By January of the following year,
Elk City boasted a population
of over 1,000 and more than 60 businesses including two hotels,
several boarding houses, a church, two milling companies and two
also in 1902, that
Elk City began to pave its streets with bricks. Though not even a year old, the town had already become one of the largest
The Railroad and
Elk City's location soon developed the town into
a transportation hub and the city continued to grow.
made her way through town,
Elk City responded with all manner of services. In 1931, the US Highway
66 Association held its annual convention in
Elk City with more than 20,000
people attending. The event was held at the Casa Grande Hotel, which
advertised itself as the only fireproof hotel between
Amarillo. Today, this historic hotel is home to the Anadarko
Basin Museum of Natural History.
Elk City Oklahoma
Route 66 was lost to the interstate,
Elk City didn’t suffer like so many other
cities, due to her diversified interests.
In fact, just a few years later the great oil
field boom of the early 1980s brought thousands into town, working on the
oil rigs. One man who worked the rigs described the city during this
time as a "wild
west boom town” with 20 men for every woman in the community.
It was during these boom years that
Elk City underwent a flurry of building activity
and many vintage
Route 66 sites were lost. However, the Van
Buren area was spared as it was viewed as "less desirable” at the time.
Museum is in the Old Town Museum Complex in Elk City, Oklahoma.
September, 2007, Kathy Weiser.
This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads
Elk City is called home to a little more than
10,000 people and provides not only a peek at the
Route 66 era, but also that of the
at the National
Route 66 Museum and Old Town Museum Complex. The museums are located on
Route 66 and Pioneer Street. Further on
down the Mother
Road you can see the old Queenan Trading Post with its fading name
still peeking through on its brick exterior. Though the old trading
post is closed, its famous kachinas that once graced the front can now be
seen on the lawn of the National
Route 66 Museum.
On the VanBuren
segment, the north/south leg of
Route 66, you can still see what’s left of the
Cozy Cabins and the old Red Ball station.
After a great time in
head on down the
and the ghost
town of Hext.
of America, updated January, 2014.
Oklahoma Route 66 (Info & History)
66 (State 66 Page)
Route 66 (main
Route 66 Photo Print Gallery
David Fisk (Through
the Lens of Fisk) Photo Galleries
The Parker Drilling Rig #114,
located on Route 66 dominates the sky line
and testifies to Elk City's oil boom days. It is one of the world's tallest oil rigs.
Photo by David Fisk, available for photo prints & editorial downloads
Legends' General Store
Kachina Scarves - This beautiful 100% Silk Scarf features colorful
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