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DACOMA

Located in Township 25 North, Range 13 West, Section 11, Dacoma lies sixteen miles southeast of Alva, county seat of Woods County. The community is located on land homesteaded by two African Americans, Nathan Dedman and Frank Kinberling. The town was platted, with a locust tree marking each block's corner, in August 1904. The original post office name of Zula was changed to Dacoma, a combination of Dakota and Oklahoma, in October 1904. Postal officials used a "c" instead of the proposed "k" in the name.

Numerous business establishments served homesteaders' needs. Among them, the Whittet Grocery still operated at the end of the twentieth century. The early-day Bank of Dacoma, Dacoma Enterprise newspaper, a livery stable, a lumberyard, various mercantile stores, blacksmith shops, and so forth flourished but disappeared over the years.

Dacoma was in the center of fertile land ideal for growing winter wheat. Five large elevators annually marketed more than five hundred thousand bushels of wheat. Early wheat elevators included the Choctaw Grain Company, Enid Milling, and Farmers' Milling, producer of "The Pride of Dacoma" flour.

Dacoma served the surrounding county as a popular entertainment venue. The Woods County Free Fair was held in town from 1912 to 1921. Chautauqua performers presented monthly programs. For years, outstanding high-school basketball teams enjoyed community support. Since 1986 a unique "Third of July Blowout Celebration" has annually attracted 1,500 to 2,000 visitors to a town of fewer than two hundred people. The Dacoma Business Advantage Center, an Oklahoma Department of Commerce-certified small business incubator developed by the town of Dacoma and the Woods/Alfalfa County Community Coalition during the 1990s, is the state's first incubator to offer a commercial kitchen for food processing Dacoma's population, never large, stood at 146 in 1910 and 265 in 1920, peaked at 332 in 1930, and slowly declined. In 1990 the U.S. Census recorded 182 persons and in 2000, 148. As the twenty-first century began, many of the residents still claimed descent from the early settlers. The fertile land that attracted early settlers still provided wheat, alfalfa, and feed grains for livestock, and agriculture remains the community's economic base.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dacoma (Oklahoma) Enterprise, 1912-1916. Mary W. Erskine and Mildred J. Hager, eds., Woods (M) County, Oklahoma Territory, 1893-1907 (Enid, Okla.: Cromwells, Inc., 1993). George H. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names (2nd ed.; Norman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1974).

Loleta Leslie

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