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AGRA

Located in Lincoln County, Agra is situated on State Highway 18, fourteen miles north of Chandler, the county seat. A post office opened on December 20, 1902, and Isaac C. Pierce served as postmaster. Between 1902 and 1904 the Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad (later the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway) completed a line from Oklahoma City to Parsons, Kansas. Frank Wheeler and Sam Holder sold their farms to form the townsite along the railroad. Soon the American Land Loan and Trust Company sold lots. The townsite developer coined the town's name from the word agriculture. John Olmstead opened the first drug store, and Mark Crane owned the first general store. School classes were held in churches until the first schoolhouse was built in 1905. By 1918 the town supported the Commercial Hotel, the Bank of Agra, and a cotton gin. Early day newspapers included the Agra News and the Queen City Times. During the 1920s drilling for oil and gas was accomplished nearby. By 1932 Agra boasted two cotton gins.

The population peaked in 1907 at 382 and reached a low of 258 in 1930 during the Great Depression. Population remained fairly steady through the twentieth century. The federal census reported 281 inhabitants in 1940, 302 in 1950, 265 in 1960, 335 in 1970, 354 in 1980, and 334 in 1990. The Bank of Agra was listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 90000122). Attempts to save the bank building, constructed in 1904, failed due to its deterioration, and it was razed in August 1999. In November 2001 a new school gymnasium replaced a 350-seat facility built in 1949. At the turn of the twenty-first century Agra had 356 citizens. Agra remained a "bedroom" community from which most residents commuted to work.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Agra," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Lincoln County, Oklahoma History (Claremore, Okla.: Lincoln County Historical Society, 1988). Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).

Linda D. Wilson

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