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CHOCTAW

Located in central Oklahoma County approximately fifteen miles east of Oklahoma City on U.S. Highway 62/270 (Northeast Twenty-third Street), Choctaw was founded after the 1889 Land Run into the Unassigned Lands. The area had been part of William McClure's 7C Ranch, a large enterprise that had extended east into adjacent American Indian lands. Lying in the drainage of the Canadian River and near Choctaw Creek, the locality was known for an early-day trading post and a camping spot near a spring. John S. Muzzy claimed a quarter section there in Choctaw Township in the 1889 run.

A community emerged on the east eighty acres of his land, a postal designation for Choctaw City was issued in early 1890, and town lots were surveyed and laid out. When he relinquished title in 1892, a village of approximately 112 and a thousand inhabitants of the surrounding township supported twenty businesses. The settlement was platted into the Choctaw City townsite in 1893 by Angelo C. Scott, Moses Neal, and Charles G. Jones in anticipation of the arrival of the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (CO&G, after 1902 the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway) line. The CO&G acquired more of Muzzy's land in 1894, created the Railway Addition to Choctaw City, built a station and depot, and completed the tracks in 1895. Most business owners moved their buildings from "Old (or East) Choctaw" into the Railway Addition (or "West Choctaw"), which assumed the name Choctaw.

Choctaw's economy depended on the surrounding farming community and the railroad. As the region produced good cotton crops, by 1899 two gins operated and by 1909 three existed. Several retail businesses provided services. The town incorporated in April 1904, and at 1907 statehood the 230 residents enjoyed four churches, a school, a bank, a newspaper, and telephone connections. The population hovered between 200 and 250 for several decades, held back by the Great Depression. Over the century the News, the Courier, and the Choctaw Nicoma Park Free Press reported to the residents.

In the 1940s and 1950s the nearby Tinker Air Force Base and General Motors assembly plant provided new employment opportunities. As Choctaw increasingly became a "bedroom" community for residents working in Oklahoma City, the count jumped to 623 in 1960, to 4,750 in 1970, and to 8,545 in 1990. Important industries included Orbit Fine Foods tortilla factory, located in Choctaw from 1972 until 1992.

At the end of the twentieth century the population stood at 9,377. The Choctaw-Nicoma Park School District, the town's largest employer, and Eastern Oklahoma Technology Center, a two-year school, provided education. Choctaw's city limits enclosed approximately twenty-seven square miles, including four parks. The community maintained a home rule charter form of government with council-city manager.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Choctaw," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Grady A. O'Connor and Vera A. O'Connor, "History and Legend of Choctaw," in Choctaw, Oklahoma and Eastern Oklahoma County: A History, 1893-1993, comp. Doris Ellis (Harrah, Okla.: Eagle Printing, 1993). Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).

Dianna Everett

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