Located in northern Kay County, Braman is situated on U.S. Highway 177, five miles south of the Kansas-Oklahoma border. A post office was established on April 11, 1898. Also in 1898 the Kansas and Southeastern Railroad (sold to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1899) built across the Kansas-Oklahoma Territory border from Hunnewell to Braman, named for railroad developer Dwight Braman. On January 9, 1899, Braman was incorporated. J. W. Whistler and others opened the Citizens State Bank in 1899. Early-day weekly newspapers included the Star and the Leader, both of which supported the Republican Party. In 1900, 249 people called the town home.
The local economy has been based on wheat and oil production. By 1907 statehood the town's population stood at 300. On April 25, 1911, the state bank converted to a national charter and became the First National Bank of Braman. By that time the community had several grain elevators, general stores, and blacksmiths to serve the surrounding agricultural area. Religion has been important to community life, as evidenced by the presence of the First United Methodist Church, the First Baptist Church, and the First Christian Church. In the 1920s, when oil was discovered in the area, the population temporarily increased from 396 to approximately five thousand. By 1930 the number had stabilized at 507, the peak year of population.
For the next fifty years the town remained an agricultural center that declined from more than four hundred in 1940 to three hundred in 1970. At the turn of the twenty-first century Braman, with 244 residents, served as a "bedroom" community. The school system comprised grades preschool through high school. Recreational facilities included two lighted athletic fields, one for boys' baseball and one for girls' softball. Braman also had a swimming pool and a park with a walking trail, playground equipment, and volley ball court. The town complex consisted of a volunteer fire department, a clerk's office, and a community room. Businesses included a tractor tire dealer, a trucking business, and other small enterprises.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Braman," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. North Central Oklahoma: Rooted In the Past Growing For the Future (Ponca City, Okla. North Central Oklahoma Historical Association, 1995). Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).
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