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GERONIMO

Geronimo is located in the south-central portion of Comanche County at the terminus of State Highway 281A. The town is approximately nine miles south of Lawton, approximately one mile east of Interstate 44, and near U.S. Highways 277/281. Named for the famed Apache leader incarcerated at Fort Sill, Geronimo was platted in 1902, and the post office was established in March 1903.

Situated on the Enid and Anadarko Railway's (later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway) line from Lawton to Waurika, completed in 1902, Geronimo competed with nearby Junction City for the depot. Securing construction of the facility, Geronimo quickly grew to support a bank, a newspaper, two hardware stores, two lumberyards, and a doctor. With a largely agriculture-based economy, by 1905 the community needed a cotton gin. By the 1930s, the town claimed two gins, along with the Prairie Pipe Line Company. Beginning in the 1960s, the community entered a new phase of development spurred by its proximity to Lawton. Attracted by the small town environs, people lived in Geronimo and worked in the city nearby.

Eight years after its founding, Geronimo recorded 186 residents. Over the next four decades the population steadily declined so that by 1950 the town had just 103 citizens. In 1960 the number of inhabitants jumped to 199. Tremendous growth occurred over the next decade as the population nearly tripled to reach 587 by 1970. Development continued through the next twenty years at a slower rate, bringing the 1980 population to 726 and the 1990 to 990. There were 959 residents in Geronimo in 2000.

The only newspaper in Geronimo's history was the Geronimo Advocate, which published at least from 1906 to 1912. Currently, the town lacks a local newspaper and remains a "bedroom" community for Lawton. Geronimo had an aldermanic form of town government in 2000.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 1901-2000. "Geronimo," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Industrial Directory, Department of Labor Bulletin 1-A (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Department of Labor, 1932). George H. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names (2d ed.; Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974). The History of Comanche County, Oklahoma (N.p.: Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 1985).

Cynthia Savage

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