The town of Douglas lies in Garfield County, five miles southwest of Covington and on County Road E0520, 4.5 miles due west of State Highway 74. On May 24, 1894, one-half mile east and one mile north of the later town of Douglas, a post office named Onyx was established with William S. Rinsley as first postmaster. When Eliza Spencer was postmistress, she moved the post office to her son's grocery store, approximately one-half mile south and east of its original location.
Platted by the Enid Right of Way and Townsite Company on August 25, 1902, the community was apparently named for Douglas Frantz, a son of Edmond Frantz, one of the townsite promoters. A railroad right-of-way had already been surveyed through the area, and a line was chartered on March 31, 1902, by Ed Peckham and the Frantz brothers as the Denver, Enid and Gulf Railroad. The first train arrived in Douglas on October 10, 1902. On February 25, 1903, the Onyx post office, with Serena M. Gage as postmistress, was moved to the new town. In 1907 the Eastern Oklahoma Railway bought the rail line and sold it that same year to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. At first the railroad continued to use the name Onyx for the station, but the Oklahoma Legislature passed a special bill allowing the station to be named Douglas.
Area children first attended school in a sod house in 1896. A frame building was erected in summer 1901. With the growth of Douglas, parents decided to move the school to town. It took three elections to get the required number of voters. In summer 1903 the building was moved and another room added. In 1911 a brick structure with four large classrooms, two halls, a library, and a basement was built. High school classes were first offered in 1916 and continued until the 1961 consolidation of the school with that of Covington. The consolidated district took the Douglas's district number, number 94. During the late 1970s the school building served as a residential school and treatment center for children aged fourteen and under.
Members of the Christian Union Church of Douglas first met in May 1896 in the sod schoolhouse and then after 1901 in Liberty Chapel. In December 1902 the congregation moved to the new town. A church building erected in December 1915 burned in 1951, and a new building, completed in February 1953, continued to serve the Douglas community at the end of the twentieth century.
Although the population never exceeded 195 (1920), from 1902 to 1932 the town had a bank, the Douglas State Bank, which moved to Marshall. Douglas also had a blacksmith, a barber shop, a butcher, a café, a cream station, two doctors, a drug store, a livery stable, a hotel, a dry goods store, a millinery store, a cotton gin, and numerous residences. A Farmer's Co-Op, incorporated in 1929, also continued to serve the community. Rail service ended in 1994 because a flood had undermined the railroad bridge across the Cimarron River north of Guthrie. Passenger service ended as early as 1951. The 2000 population stood at thirty-two.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bill Edson, "Bringing Rails to Enid," Enid (Oklahoma) Morning News, 16 November 1976. Stella Campbell Rockwell, ed., Garfield County, Oklahoma, 1893-1982, Vol. 2 ([Enid, Okla.]: Garfield County Historical Society, 1982). George H. Shirk, "First Post Offices Within the Boundaries of Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 30 (Spring 1952).
Glen V. McIntyre
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