Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oklahoma City Population History

This is Part 1 of 2 articles which consider Oklahoma City's size.
For Part 2, Oklahoma City's Area Growth, click here.

POPULATION. The focus of this article is on population — the number of butts in the seats, so to speak. A researcher cannot obtain a city's specific population without obtaining data which relates to the entire state since the primary data source is the US Census Bureau. I want to know, authoritatively and from first-hand sources, what Oklahoma City's population has been at each point of official measurement, or even unofficial measurements if those might exist from reliable sources from time to time.

But, where are they to be found? All "first-hand" population data comes from the US Census Bureau. If you've ever attempted to navigate through the on-line records of the US Census Bureau, you may have experienced some of the same frustration that I have, from time to time. Whether I'm just not very smart about navigation there or whether the site is not particularly intuitive, or both, I don't know. Regardless, coming up with quick "on the fly" information at the Bureau's website has not been easy for me. That fact lead me to conclude, "Let's spend some of Doug Dawgz valuable time, find the sources there, and then make a database that can be used over and over, whenever the need or desire exists. That's what this article provides, for you and for me.

Using the PDF Population Files. Except for the 1907 census, all of the PDF files linked in this article have as their source other PDF files located at the Census Bureau's website. Not being able to locate Oklahoma's 1907 special census at the Census Bureau's collection, I did find it here at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries website.

For the files located at the US Census Bureau, they were (1) downloaded and (2) the Oklahoma references were identified. Then, (3) the graphic files were extracted, cropped and resized as needed, and some non-data blemishes were deleted, and then resaved. As an example, some of the original pages looked like that shown below (except for the curl which I just added for fun here:

Such a page was rotated, cropped to eliminate scanning blemishes, and new "clean" border space added.

The last step was to (4) create entirely new PDF files for the Oklahoma-based data, including making "bookmarks" in each PDF file. Each of the PDF files so made will open in "bookmark" view, looking something like the example below:

Zooming in for a closer look at the bookmarks

With the bookmark view open, click on a bookmark to move to that page's location. The bookmark feature makes the PDF files more user-friendly.

Notice the "+" sign in the above example. That means that a collapsible bookmark "tree" is present. When present, click in a "+" to expand the tree; click on a "-" to close it.

You may also prefer not to see the bookmarks ... just click on the bookmark "tab" at the right side to open or close the bookmarks in the viewing area.

Opening or saving the PDF files. To open any file, left-click on any link as you would normally do and the file will open. But, if you know that you want to save a file to your computer, the quickest way to do that is to right-click on a link and, from the pop-up menu, save the targeted file to somewhere on your computer's hard disk. The menu will vary depending on the web browser you are using. Firefox and Internet Explorer examples are shown below:

OKLAHOMA POPULATION DETAIL — THE POINT OF BEGINNING. While the eventual article will focus on Oklahoma City, this part focuses on the entire state's population as a point of beginning. It is principally intended to provide reliable research data for me as well as anyone else interested in knowing the history of Oklahoma population. In the past, I've recited various numbers of Oklahoma City's population in articles written here, relying upon what other writers have said. Sometimes, I've been frustrated in not quickly finding either small or large points of population history from what others have written in their books and articles or from the Census Bureau itself.

So, I decided to get my own first-hand information from the US Census Bureau or other authoritative sources that I could locate and then make a database for later use. While I was at it, I also decided that it would be good to make that database readily available, in one place, for anyone else that might want to use it. So, this section is really not about Oklahoma City, it is about Oklahoma.

I've located US Census files from 1890 and beyond, but where to stop for purposes of this article? For my purposes, that would probably be 1950 or so ... but I carried it forward two decades to 1970's official census to give a little elbow room should I later want that information, as well.

Below, the links below provide, at a minimum, the most Oklahoma-relevant portions of the census data for the periods identified below. Additional description is given after the links. All links are to PDF files which contain the raw data. "Parts" identified are not part of the US Census Bureau's nomenclature, they are mine.

1890 Census. I've included in the extracts below all parts which specifically or generally relate to Oklahoma. The 1890 census file is Oklahoma-complete, omitting nothing Oklahoma oriented.
  1. 1890 census, part 1  File size: 39 MB  description
  2. 1890 census, part 2  File size: 4.7 MB   description
  3. 1890 census, part 3  File size: 11 MB  description
  4. 1890 census, part 4  File size: 6.5 MB  description
  5. 1890 census, Appendix  File size: 2.3 MB  description
1900 Census. I've broken down 1900 census selections into two parts, and I've not included as much detail as I did with the 1890 census.
  1. 1900 census, part 1  File size: 4.8 MB  description  
  2. 1900 census, part 2  File size: 1.8 MB  description
1907 Census. The complete statehood file is included.
  1. 1907 census  File size: 7.6 MB  description  
1910 Census. I've broken down 1910 census selections into two parts, and I've not included as much detail as I did with the 1890 census.
  1. 1910 census, part 1  File size: 20 MB  description  
  2. 1910 census, part 2  File size: 21 MB  description
1920 Census. 1920's census is broken into four parts. Parts 3 and 4 are not as extensively bookmarked as parts 1 and 2.
  1. 1920 census, part 1  File size: 12 MB  description  
  2. 1920 census, part 2  File size: 11 MB  description
  3. 1920 census, part 3  File size: 13 MB  description
  4. 1920 census, part 4  File size: 8.5 MB  description
1930 Census. In these two files, I've avoided the hyper-detailed parts of the census report which analyze sex, race, birth place, agriculture, mines, etc., although summary information is sometimes available in what I've included. My focus is on numbers of people and the two files below contain that information.
  1. 1930 census  File size: 15 MB  description  
  2. 1930 census, metropolitan  File size: 9.15 MB  description
1940 Census. The same data presented for the 1930 census is included in this single file.
  1. 1940 census  File size: 13 MB  description  
1950 Census. My selections for the 1950 census are broken into three parts and focus on population and not much else.
  1. 1950 census, part 1  File size: 29.7 MB  description  
  2. 1950 census, part 2  File size: 27.3 MB  description
  3. 1950 census, part 3  File size: 17 MB  description
1960 Census. My selections for the 1960 census are the same as those used for 1950 -- population numbers.
  1. 1960 census, part 1  File size: 21.6 MB  description  
  2. 1960 census, part 2  File size: 23.5 MB  description
  3. 1960 census, part 3  File size: 5.59 MB  description
1970 Census. At present, only the Oklahoma-only population statistics are presented here.
  1. 1970 census  File size: 15.7 MB  description  

Brief File Descriptions. Very brief general statements about the particular PDF files are presented below. More detail is included in the files themselves. To move to the area to open or download particular files, click the link which begins each description.

1890 Part 1 is largely a 46 page history of the United States from 1790 though 1890, with a few bits of Oklahoma/Indian Territory information thrown in, and it contains some great United States maps, such as the one shown below.

The included 1820 map is 1st to identify Indian Territory

Zooming in ...

Although it contains occasional references to Indian or Oklahoma territories, I've mainly included it because of its comprehensive overview of United States history which, in our context, culminated in the 1889 and other Land Runs which would shortly follow.

1890 Part 2 contains 10 pages of standard population information that most are probably looking for — state by state comparative information and such county and town data as was contained in this census, which is not much.

1890 Part 3 contains 18 pages of detail by race, gender, and place of birth.

1890 Part 4 contains 75 pages of fairly esoteric detail: state or territory of birth, county of birth, foreign parentage, those of school, militia and voting age, conjugal (marital) condition, and dwellings and families.

1890 Appendix relates to Native American population, mostly Alaskan. Only the 6 pages which relate to Indian Territory are included.

1900 Part 1 is a 16 page extract of the standard population information that most probably want — county, city/town population, for both Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

1900 Part 2 includes 24 pages of detail about gender, race, and place of birth.

1907 includes the complete 43 page census file, directed to be taken upon Oklahoma's admission to statehood. It is often referred to as US Census "Special Bulletin 89." Unlike all other PDF files in this collection, the PDF pages are not "images" but are "text" and the blemishes, rotation, etc., in the original file cannot be corrected. The only items added in this file compared to the original are the navigation bookmarks.

1910 Part 1 is a 26 page extract of the standard population information that most probably want — county, city/town population, for both Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

1910 Part 2 contains 26 pages of detail concerning population composition (race, sex, place of birth, age, school attendance, illiteracy, and marital condition). The file contains detail for Oklahoma City's Wards and excellent county and city origin descriptions.

1920 Part 1 is a 26 page extract of the standard population information that most probably want — county, city/town population, for both Oklahoma and Indian Territories.

1920 Part 2 contains 30 pages of detail concerning population composition (race, sex, place of birth, age, school attendance, illiteracy, and marital condition). Detail about working women and home ownership is also included.

1920 Part 3 contains 46 pages relating to agriculture and irrigation. It is not presently extensively bookmarked.

1920 Part 4 contains 29 pages relating to manufacturers, mines, and quarries. it is not presently extensively bookmarked.

1930 contains 26 pages of Oklahoma population detail by city and county. I've not included data which is descriptive of gender, race, etc. If you want that, read it for yourself in this PDF file at the census website.

1930 Metropolitan contains 17 pages of data relating to Oklahoma's two metropolitan areas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including several general pages which describe how such areas were defined and pages which rank the then existing metropolitan areas in the country. A pair of maps show the Oklahoma areas, cropped versions appearing below:

Interestingly, notice that, at the time, the spatial area of the Tulsa metro (391.4 square miles) was considerably larger than Oklahoma City's much more compact area (181.78 square miles) all of which was located well inside Oklahoma County. That fact shows up in the metro population numbers ... note that, in 1920, Tulsa's metro population was slightly larger that Oklahoma City's.
Metropolitan Area   1920   1930
Oklahoma City   91,295   185,389
Non-Okc Metro   9,478   16,774
Okc Metro Total   100,773   202,163
Tulsa   72,919   141,258
Non-Tulsa Metro   31,460   41,949
Tulsa Metro Total   104,379   183,207
1940 contains the same type of data that 1931's files do, except that the data is all in a 20-page single file which includes metropolitan area information. If you want other types of census information, you can go to this Census Bureau page and find what you want.

The metropolitan area maps shown show the boundaries for the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas did not change from the 1930 census, even though the corporate municipal boundaries are slightly larger than in 1930, as shown in the maps below:

The statistics presented show the Tulsa metro to be relatively unchanged from the 1930 numbers, but that it did grow slightly in the non-Tulsa parts of the metro; Oklahoma City's growth was a bit more robust, largely occurring in the city itself, but the decade's growth was nothing to write home about.
Metropolitan Area   1930   1940
Oklahoma City   185,389   204,424
Non-Okc Metro   16,774   16,805
Okc Metro Total   202,163   221,229
Tulsa   141,258   142,157
Non-Tulsa Metro   41,949   46,405
Tulsa Metro Total   183,207   188,562
1950 Part 1 contains 37 pages of general census information. The main reason for its inclusion is its discussion of "Standard Metropolitan Area" (a new term in 1950), "Metropolitan Districts" (changed from 1940), and "Urbanized Areas" (a new term in in 1950). An Urbanized Area must contain at least one city of 50,000 or more in 1940 or by a special census prior to 1950 and also the surrounding closely settled incorporated and unincorporated places and areas that meet certain criteria (see p. 26). A Standard Metropolitan Area (except for New England) is a county or group of contiguous counties which contains at least one city of 50,000 inhabitants or more. See p. 32. Oklahoma's two SMAs are the counties only – Oklahoma County and Tulsa County. Metropolitan Districts was a term used in 1940 and, unless I've misunderstood, the term is included in the 1950 census only for the purpose of tracing from 1940. See pp. 34-35. Comparative 1940-1950 data for Oklahoma's 1940 Metropolitan Districts is presented in Part 2 at p. 15.

1950 Part 2 1950 Part 2 consists of 26 pages selected from the 83 page US Summary, including only those which addressed Oklahoma population, and not necessarily every one of them. At the least, I wanted to include Table 30 at p. 25 since it tracks the 1940 Metropolitan Districts into 1950. I considered excluding most other national comparisons/rankings but decided to include most of them since they might come in handy for reasons not presently anticipated. In any event, the following table traces data within the census files and compares the 1940 "Metropolitan Area" with 1950, 1st using the 1940 definition, 2nd using the 1950 "Urbanized Areas", 3rd using 1950's "Standard Metropolitan Areas" (in Oklahoma's case, county population):
1950, Using . . .
Metropolitan Area19401940 def.Urban. Area1950 SMA
Oklahoma City204,424243,504243,504243,504
Non-Okc part16,80533,50431,58781,848
Okc Total221,229277,282275,091325,352
Non-Tulsa part46,40565,79623,57168,946
Total Tulsa188,562248,536206,311251,686
1950 Part 3 is 23 pages of Oklahoma-only data. It includes summaries for counties and cities (including numbers dating back to 1890 or whenever the 1st census of a city was taken). The Urbanized Area maps for Oklahoma City & Tulsa are shown, cropped versions appearing below. Among other changes, Oklahoma City's Urbanized Area now includes Midwest City & Del City. The general breakdown is: Oklahoma City – 275,091 in the city plus 31,587 outside the city, 275,091 total; Tulsa – 182,740 in the city plus 23,571 outside the city, 206,311 total. Unless I missed it, city size in square miles is not shown in part 3.

Although somewhat similar to the metropolitan area maps for 1930 and 1940, above, differences are readily noticeable. Boundaries are irregularly shaped, skipping over essentially rural space, and they are no longer more or less rectangular; non-contiguous space is sometimes included (e.g., Del City & Midwest City, Highland Park); and city boundaries are different.

1960 Part 1 contains 33 pages of general census information. It is included for the same reasons mentioned in 1950 Part 1. The term "Standard Metropolitan Area" is no longer used and in its place is "Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area," defined in this part. The other term used is "Urbanized Area," introduced in 1950. The older (1940) "Metropolitan Districts" are no longer used. With 1960, Lawton was added to the list of SMSAs and Urbanized Areas.

1960 Part 2 contains 37 of the 66 pages of general US census information which are Oklahoma-oriented. Excluded are most charts and maps since I didn't see that they really added anything and only ballooned the file size unnecessarily. The map below is an example of something excluded from this file:

1960 Part 3 contains all 24 pages of Oklahoma number of inhabitants census file. It includes a couple of maps showing Oklahoma's Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Urbanized Areas, cropped versions of which appear below. Note that the SMSAs are county-defined (Lawton: Comanche; Oklahoma City: Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian; Tulsa: Tulsa, Creek, Osage).

Standard Metropolitan Stastical Areas

Urbanized Areas

The detail included in the above 1960 files, particularly the Part 3 file, reflects the following changes since the 1950 census, using the 1960 definitions (i.e., what the 1960 definitions would have produced in 1950):
Metropolitan Area1950
Lawton Total55,16590,803*Unclear61,941
Oklahoma City243,504324,253243,504324,253
Okc Total392,439511,833275,091429,188
Tulsa Total327,900418,974206,311298,922
* 1950 Lawton non-city Urbanized Area components are not clear. The census tables do not include comparable data for the 1950 census. The tables do show that Comanche County's 1950 population was 55,165 and that an 1950 "unorganized territory" item is shown as 7,120, which may be Ft. Sill. The 1960 tables reflect an "unorganized territory" item as 16,575, which may likewise be Ft. Sill. But whether or not Ft. Sill's population is included in the 1950 or 1960 county total is not likely since the 1960 total is Lawton proper plus only 244, obviously not including Ft. Sill.
1970 hasn't yet been completed as thoroughly as have the others in this collection (i.e., the definitions and national comparison portions from the "national" parts are not yet included). However, I wanted to go ahead and put up what I have so far -- the Oklahoma "number of inhabitants" element which has been included for the other census periods. This file contains the same types of data as do 1950 and 1960 Part 3 files and is 35 pages.

The file contains the following Urbanized Area maps for Lawton, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Click on the maps for larger views.

I've not had time to put together comparisons with the prior decades yet but that will come later.

DO YOU WANT MORE? If your Oklahoma population interests exceed what has been presented here, go to the US Census website and research on your own. A good starting point is to go to and, in the upper right corner, type in what you want to search for, as shown in the truncated graphic below:

Of course, other internet sources exist than the Census Bureau. So, start Googling and happy hunting!

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... Click here to read the full article and any comments ...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Get Your Kicks on Route 66

Oklahoma City Metro History Kicks, that is. I had a rare occasion to meet someone at the Wellston McDonald's (north side of I-44) on November 13, 2008, and the best way to get to that facility from Oklahoma City is to travel Oklahoma State Highway 66 which leads to Wellston (a few miles into Lincoln County) and the back (north) side of that McDonalds. Thinking there might be some good photo ops, I took both camera and imagination with me and am I ever glad that I did!

The Eastern Oklahoma County Tour Area
Stop 1 - W. Irving    Stop 2 - Luther    Stop 3 - US 66    Stop 4 - Land Run
Stop 5 - Gas Station    Stop 6 - US 66    Stop 7 - Arcadia    Stop 8 - POPS

A heck of a lot of Oklahoma City metro history is up that way ... no, it's technically not "Oklahoma City history," but, being in Oklahoma County (from Pottawatomie Road west), it's surely a part of the metropolitan area history and legacy, and it's a part that is unlike that which most Oklahoma Citians commonly consider.

This article not only gives you some starter research information, it gives you a quick tour that I'd recommend to any who are Oklahoma City history buffs or who just like "getting away" from the noise of the city into a rural and pastoral part of the metro. Take but a few steps north and east into the Route 66 zone in northeast Oklahoma County and you're there.

Enjoy the trip — it's one that you might enjoy taking on your own. By no means did my little excursion produce a comprehensive and definitive historical look into that area, but it does give a start and a few surprises. Read on, and enjoy!

THE AREA OF THE TOUR. My primary purpose for the trip was to meet someone in Wellston, as I said. Oklahoma Highway 66 exits I-35 a few miles north of the I-44 (Turner Turnpike) exchange — the signs mark the highway which, at that point, is the same as N.E. 2nd in Edmond. Following Oklahoma Highway 66 eastbound, after passing by Arcadia Lake, one arrives at Arcadia, then Luther, then the Oklahoma County eastern border. A few miles further east lies Wellston in Lincoln County. I kept my eyes open while making that 1st leg of the trip. After my meeting, on the return leg, my tour began ... the tour travels east to west on Oklahoma Highway 66 toward I-35.

Points of interest described in this article are shown in the maps below. The first map shows the tour layout but it is more easily seen when that layout is broken into two segments. Both are shown below.

Click the images below for larger views

Washington IrvingSTOP 1: WASHINGTON IRVING MARKERS. That would be the "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle" Washington Irving (1783–1859), said to be America's first internationally (meaning European) acclaimed writer. In 1832, he accompanied Captain Jesse Bean and his U.S. Rangers on an trip through what is now central Oklahoma, that trip being described in his A Tour on the Prairies. Chapter 25 of that book, called "Ringing the Wild Horse", is mentioned in the 2nd marker shown below.

STOP 2: LUTHER. Luther, located in Oklahoma County's Luther Township, is about 3 miles west of Pottawatomie Road, the eastern boundary of Oklahoma County.

The 1905 Oklahoma Map & Gazetter places its population at 400. George Shirk's Oklahoma Place Names says that its Post Office was established July 26, 1898, and that it was named for Luther Jones, son of Oklahoma City business man and railroad promoter C.G. (Gristmill) Jones. However, Bob Blackburn's Oklahoma County, Heart of the Promised Land (1982) says that the town was platted in March 1898 by Luther Aldrich. A flour mill and cotton gin, as well as other businesses (including a hotel, newspaper, grocery, hardware, bank) made it natural for the Frisco Railroad to establish a station there — although it's also possible that it was exactly the other way around, i.e., that the station was responsible for the growth. Blackburn's book shows Luther's population hitting a peak of 1,159 in 1980 (its 1st year over 1,000) but the 2000 census shows Luther at 612. Although the present makeup of Luther is largely white, given that it was home to the Booker T. Washington High School (presumably a black segregated school), that was not as true in its earlier years. A March 22, 1906, Oklahoman article. At issue in a legal dispute was which particular schools either white or black students should attend, or something like that. The article noted that when a particular school was built white students were in the majority and that black children attended school in an alternative building. By 1905, the ratio was reversed, said the article, and the white/black students were flipped into the respective other building. The "main" school was constructed "near Luther," the article said. This is all pretty fuzzy but the point that a significant part of Luther's population was black seems rather clear.

Perusing the 1901-1907 Oklahoman archives (with statehood, Oklahoma became, technically, a "dry" state), I noticed about 10 notices for applicant's liquor licenses in Luther but not much else of consequence (disregarding a few stories about murders, etc., which don't really tell much about history).

Bob Blackburn's book contains a couple of Luther photographs taken by David Fitzgerald, presumably shortly before the book's 1982 publication. It may be interesting to compare the photos with those I took 16 or so years later.

Click on the images for larger views

Old US 66 Bus Station

Below are the photos that I took during my personal tour. There are indeed some newer buildings, largely on the east side of town, but I was mostly interested in the antiquities and in downtown, shown below. Click on any image for a larger look.

First, a satellite view of Luther

Downtown Views Along Ash (Luther Road)

South of downtown

Location of the Booker T. Washington High School Memorial Park

The Park

Park Entrance -- check out the banister

Grass (?) along the road -- 10 feet tall

By my uneducated eye, it does appear that Luther is fairing well -- several upgraded properties downtown and new residences on the east, an activity center on the south -- but the old parts are those which contain the charm, and plenty of them exist to see.

STOP 3: SEGMENT OF ORIGINAL US 66. US Highway 66 was initially built from Edmond to at least the Oklahoma County line in 1917 but it was not paved until 1929. The highway's course generally matched the Deep Fork River (of the Red River) which paralleled the MK&T RR tracks from Arcadia to Luther and then the river, MK&T, and Frisco tracks northeasterly toward the county line. Just a few hundred feet west of Luther on Oklahoma Highway 66 an individual owner has preserved and made available for public viewing an original paved segment of US Highway 66. The map below shows the location and where the original road crossed the Deep Fork River (which it no longer does).

A sign on the north side of the highway marks the entry

Following the original segment eastward

What a driver would see

When US Highway 66 was paved in concrete (the parts shown in these images were paved around 1929), cars were narrower, road shoulders didn't exist, and the roads could get downright curvy.

STOP 4: LAND RUN MARKER. Proceeding west on Oklahoma Highway 66 at a location I wouldn't have expected (since it is located well into Oklahoma County slightly west of Indian Meridian Road), this Historical Marker on the south side of the road caught my eye:

Since this marker is located about 7 miles west of the Oklahoma County line (Pottawatomie Road), if the marker is accurate, a 7-mile strip of Oklahoma County east of the marker must not have been included in the April 22, 1889, Land Run -- if and when I get this figured out, I'll amend this article.

STOP 5: GAS STATION & COUNTERFEIT SHOP. Continuing west, I initially passed by the "ruins" shown below but then I thought better about doing so. Doubling back, I observed one of the more interesting stops on the tour -- a US Highway 66 Gas Station built before US 66 was paved — but it was more, as you shall see.

A small sign and picture are on the entry

Part of the text above the picture reads as follows:
This is one of the last old gasoline filing stations still standing in this part of the country. No one knows for sure, but it is thought to have been built in the late teens or early twenties. * * *

Back then, times were very hard and it was difficult to make a living. One day, about the time Al Capone was terrorizing the City of Chicago, a so-called salesman came by the station, offering to sell the owners a way to make a lot of money, literally, for he had a set of plates for a counterfeit ten-dollar bill. The story goes that the people yielded to temptation, with the thought of being able to get rich quick.

A small room was constructed on the back of the old station for the purpose of hiding the printing materials and a place to work. The only entrance was through the window you see on the back of the station. The window had a solid wooden door, which was kept closed most of the time. People didn't even know that there was a room back there.

The way the counterfeiting was done was that they would press one of the plates on a piece of paper with the green ink on it, then let that side dry 24 hours, and print the back side of the bill the next day. Things went well for a time, but while passing one of the fake ten-dollar bills, one of the persons was arrested, and with the identification on him where he lived, he was traced to the old station. While searching the building, the counterfeit plates were found. So ended this crime spree, like so many others. The person being taken to jail was overheard to say, "It wasn't worth it!". ¶ The old station was closed, never to open again. Many years later, which had nothing to do with the counterfeiting, a murder victim was found in the old abandoned building. Police were unable to determine whether he was killed here or the body just dumped. The victim was never identified, for he had no identification on him and no one seemed to know him.
Here's a picture of the interior, looking north.

STOP 6: ANOTHER US 66 SEGMENT. A little further west and shortly before reaching Arcadia, another original segment of the original US 66 veers off on the south side of the main road, as shown by the map below:

Larger image not available

Click on map below for a larger view

Unlike the earlier US 66 segment, this one is still used as a public roadway with houses along the way which bear the proud address of "Old US 66" but unlike the former this segment's concrete has been covered with asphalt.

I'll add a couple of photos showing the homes later.

STOP 7: ARCADIA. Arcadia is a part of the Deep Fork Township, Oklahoma County.

I'd earlier thought that Arcadia was initially a largely black community, but I was mistaken at least in terms of degree. While visiting Arcadia's famed Round Barn during the tour, I purchased a $6 "Remember Arcadia" 80-page paperback booklet containing lots of anecdotes, family history, school photos, etc., which contain a wealth of Arcadia history, but most of the "faces" shown in the school photos and the like were white, not black. Probably, black faces were not as readily available because it is clear that Arcadia had a very significant black population in its early days -- and still does. The 2000 census shows Arcadia's population as 279, 55.56% black, 32.62% white.

I don't know the exact initial racial makeup, but it is plainly evident that both whites and blacks lived in this small town established in 1890. George Shirk's Oklahoma Place Names says that Arcadia's post office was established August 2, 1890, and that the town's name means, "ideal rustic contentment." Arcadia's 1905 population was 125. January 1903 Oklahoman ads to sell real property there boasted that the town's population would be 1,000 in a year; an April 1903 ad said that it would be 2,000 "this summer." I looked at the US Census records from 1900 through 1930 but they were no help, possibly because Arcadia was not an incorporated town, I don't know about that one way or the other. I just know that Arcadia was not listed in any of the census records that I reviewed during the time stated.

Finding no evidence that any such population explosions ever occurred, my untested conclusion is that, at best, Arcadia remained true to its name, a place where "ideal rustic contentment" could be found, but that no remarkable population growth ever did occur.

Bob Blackburn's 1982 Oklahoma County, Heart of the Promised Land, does say this about Arcadia's early prosperity:
Like other towns in the county, Arcadia experienced its greatest expansion during the first decade of the century. By 1906 the town had 27 commercial buildings, including two cotton gins, three grocery stores, two general stores, a furniture outlet, and a combination barbershop-pool hall. With three churches and two schools (one for whites, one for blacks), Arcadia by 1910 was one of the most prosperous towns in the county.
The KATY railroad (Missouri-Kansas-Texas) laid tracks through Arcadia in 1902 and it established an Arcadia depot on May 18, 1903.

First, some maps ...

A zoomed in map showing the Round Barn

Before visiting the Round Barn, I drove through the town and took the photos shown below ... as usual, click on a photo for a larger image.

I didn't take pictures of new commercial developments that I observed since that wasn't what I was looking for. But it is evident that Arcadia is prospering perhaps more than it has at any time in the past.

Now, it's time to visit the famous Round Barn. As shown in a map above, enter the parking area on the north side of the barn. It's free as is admission to the Round Barn itself.

The Round Barn was built by William Odor in 1898. Before showing my photos, have a look at this photograph in Bob Blackburn's 1982 Oklahoma County, Heart of the Promised Land. Quite obviously, the Round Barn was then in a serious state of disrepair and neglect:

I've not studied the booklet I purchased at the Round Barn to learn how that changed, although it absolutely has. Have a look at the photos I took on my tour, below.

Entering the 1st level gift shop,
memorabilia adorns just about every square inch
of vertical and horizontal space, only a few of
those inches being shown below.

The round barn identified below as destroyed by a tornado
in 1912 was not this round barn but was another.

The 2nd Floor is amazing. If you whisper on one side,
your whisper will be heard on the other.

The area is available for party rental. The two ladies
shown here were making party arrangements during my visit.

Outside, old hardware is displayed around the parking area.

Below, a baggage/cargo cart from the MKT days is shown.

An early day road paver

STOP 8: POPS. Leaving the Round Barn and continuing westbound on Oklahoma 66, the 21st Century greets travelers on the former Mother Road. Home of over 500 varieties of soda pop, and marked by an LED-lit bottle designed by Rand Elliott, POPS opened for business in 2007. How tall should an iconic pop-bottle on Route 66 be? Sixty-six feet, of course! Inside, 12,000 or so bottles of red, green, blue, and yellow bottles adorn the angular glass walls while Route 66 memorabilia adorns its interior walls which are more ordinary.

Below, enjoy the photos of POPS taken on my November 13 tour! As always, click on an item for a larger view.

At night, the bottle might look like the photo below,
credit to Jeremy Jones at this link.

That's it! Hope you liked the history tour and got some kicks in this Route 66 History Tour!

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