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AMES

Located in southeastern Major County, Ames is situated on County Roads E0530/N2700. Originally part of the Cherokee Outlet, the area attracted settlers during the land opening of September 16, 1893. Between 1900 and 1901 the Blackwell, Enid and Southwestern Railroad (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) constructed a line from Blackwell (Kay County) to Darrow (Blaine County) that passed through the community. Formerly named Hoyle for the nearby creek, the town was renamed Ames for railroad official Henry S. Ames on January 4, 1902. Ames expanded twice, once in 1909 with the Mayberry addition and again in 1929 with the Broomfield addition. By 1918 the town had a population of approximately three hundred. It supported two banks, two grain mills, two general stores, a weekly newspaper, a hotel, a theater, a pharmacy, and a hardware store. By the mid-1940s and 1950s Ames had a grain elevator, a machine shop, gasoline stations, and grocery/meat markets.

A notable feature of Ames is the three large downtown murals painted on the sides of buildings. One mural depicts the first town meeting, and the other two offer views of Main Street. Ames is also the home of what geologists call the Ames Structure, a circular depression surrounded by a ridge and buried under three thousand meters of sediment. The feature lies approximately two miles north of town. The structure's origin is unknown, but evidence suggests it resulted from a meteorite impact, volcanic activity, and other natural geological processes. The site supports significant oil and gas production and at one time had as many as sixty-five wells in production.

The first federal census for Ames reported 278 residents in 1920. Population peaked at 332 in 1940. In 2000 Ames had 199 inhabitants. The economy continued to be based on grain and livestock. Of those employed, 96.2 percent commuted to work in other communities offering employment opportunities.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Judson L. Ahern, "Gravity and Magnetic Investigation of the Ames Structure, North-Central Oklahoma," Ames Structure in Northwest Oklahoma and Similar Features: Origin and Petroleum Production [1995 symposium], Oklahoma Geological Survey Circular 100, ed. Kenneth S. Johnson and Jock A. Campbell (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1997). "Ames," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Gloss Mountain Country: A History of Major County (Fairview, Okla.: Major County Historical Society, 1977). Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).

Ross Peterson-Veatch

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