Hastings is a town located in northwestern Jefferson County, Oklahoma. It is situated on State Highway 5, nine miles northwest of Waurika and some five miles north of the Red River. Hastings was incorporated in 1902, the same year in which its post office was established. In 2000 it was an agricultural community with a population of 155. Hastings was originally called Bayard, and its first resident was George Andrews. On August 6, 1901, the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Reservation was opened for settlement. Prior to that date Andrews had placed himself just west of the present Hastings townsite. There he pitched a tent and sold groceries to individuals traveling to Fort Sill to register for homestead claims. J. A. Marley built Bayard's first residence, a dugout, in September 1901. Indian Territory already had a Baird community, so postal officials changed Bayard's designation to avoid confusion. A couple suggested Hastings in honor of their Nebraska hometown, and the name was accepted. A townsite company was formed, and the sale of lots began. The Enid and Anadarko Railway reached Hastings in 1902.
Hastings had 560 residents in 1907. By 1910 that number was 727 and the town was at its height. Local farmers grew wheat, corn, and cotton, while others participated in the poultry and dairy industries. Businesses included two banks, two cotton gins, two grain elevators, and a brick company. For entertainment there was an opera house, a swimming pool, and a movie theater. Newspapers were the Free Lance, the Hastings News, the Hastings Telegraph, and the Hastings Herald. The Southwest Academy preparatory school was established at Hastings in 1903. It closed after about three years and reopened as Hastings Baptist College. In 1912 the facility was relocated to Mangum, Oklahoma, and became Southwest Baptist College.
Hastings began to decline after 1910. With limited job opportunities, the population fell from 629 in 1920 to 164 in 1990. The city school closed in the 1960s. By 2000 a post office, the city hall, and some buildings remained.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jim M. Dyer, History of Jefferson County, Oklahoma (N.p.: N.p., 1957). "Hastings," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Hunter James, "Hastings, Oklahoma, A City of Schools," Sturm's Oklahoma Magazine 7 (September 1908).
Jon D. May
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