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CENTRAHOMA

Centrahoma is located in Coal County, north of State Highway 3 and fourteen miles west of Coalgate, the county seat. The town's history began with the establishment of a post office at Byrd (nine miles northwest of Coalgate), Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, on March 3, 1892. In July 1894 the name was changed from Byrd to Owl. On June 11, 1907, the town was moved to a point several miles northeast of Owl and the name changed to Centrahoma, taken from the phrase central Oklahoma. The change in location came about because the old site was bypassed when the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway (MK&T) built a branch line from Coalgate to Oklahoma City in 1903-1904. The MK&T maintained a station and a freight house, and passenger trains and freight trains loaded with cattle and cotton as well as coal from Lehigh and Coalgate passed daily through Centrahoma. The town was platted and streets named, but it was not incorporated until the 1940s.

An agricultural community of approximately seven hundred in 1907, Centrahoma served a farming region that produced cotton, peanuts, pecans, and cattle. During its early existence the town had three blacksmith shops, two harness and saddle shops, two cotton gins, a feed and grist mill, a stockyards, a livery stable, and several banks, stores, hotels, and restaurants. There were four churches and a school for grades one through twelve. In 1905 a tornado destroyed the school and injured the teacher and seven children. In 1909 another tornado damaged the school and every building in town. In the late 1930s oil was discovered, and that industry still contributed to the town's economy at the turn of the twenty-first century.

The population of Centrahoma began to decline during the economic difficulties of the Great Depression. Migration of citizens to work in defense plants during World War II, loss of the railroad in the 1940s, and coal mine closings in the 1950s further reduced the community. From 1960 to 1990 the population fell from 148 to 106. With 110 residents at the turn of the twenty-first century, Centrahoma had a post office, two churches, a fire station, and a community center.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Centrahoma (Oklahoma) Register, 17 July 1908. Coal County (Centrahoma, I.T.) Register, 16 August 1907. Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 27 June 1937. Betty Poe, comp. and ed., History of Coal County, Oklahoma (Dallas, Tex.: Curtis Media Corp., 1986).

Berniece Crane

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