Located in Garfield County in Keowee Township on County Road E3010, Hillsdale is situated approximately one mile east of State Highway 132 and fourteen miles due northwest of Enid. Hillsdale was a rural farming community of 101 persons at the 2000 census. Originally part of the Cherokee Outlet, the surrounding region opened for settlement by land run in 1893. Hillsdale owes its creation to townsite promoters. The Denver, Enid and Gulf Railroad (part of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway system) built a line from Blanton Junction (northwest of Enid) through Keowee Township in 1904-1905. The railroad surveyed its route to bypass the tiny communities of Coldwater, where from 1894 stores and a post office had served the surrounding agricultural area, and an original Hillsdale, which had existed from 1900 and also had a postal designation.
The Coldwater (Frisco) Townsite Company promoted and in January 1905 platted a new town 3.5 miles southeast of Coldwater and 2 miles southwest of Hillsdale. The first train arrived in February. The company ran an excursion train from Alabama and Georgia, and nearly two thousand town lots were sold on March 23, 1905. Most of "old" Coldwater's businesses, including the post office, moved to "new" Coldwater on the railroad, and Hillsdale inhabitants also relocated. After some juggling of the postal designation, the name "Hillsdale" became permanent after the town incorporated on June 6, 1910. By 1910, 226 people lived in Coldwater/Hillsdale.
The developing town soon included educational, religious, and commercial establishments. The Coldwater Star and the Times reported until circa 1909. The first school classes convened in a sod house near town in 1900-1901. An eight-room, brick schoolhouse, constructed approximately a decade later when area schools consolidated, was destroyed by fire in 1940. The Works Progress Administration built a new one in that year. Christian and Congregational churches provided places of worship. A bank, several stores and grain dealers, an elevator, and a hotel operated by the 1920s.
Wheat farming remained the principal economic activity from the 1890s into the twenty-first century. In addition, the oil industry has intermittently provided local residents with some employment. Champlin Refining Company of Enid maintained several wells in the area in the 1930s, and the Northeast Hillsdale pool still produced as late as the 1970s. Twelve farming-and petroleum-related businesses operated in the 1990s. The population of 209 in 1920, dropped to a low of 60 in 1960, and rebounded slightly, remaining at around a hundred residents.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: "Hillsdale," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Marion S. Hoffsommer, The Coldwater-Hillsdale Story (Enid, Okla.: Dougherty Press, Inc., 1989). Stella Campbell Rockwell, ed., Garfield County, Oklahoma, 1893-1982, Vol. 2 (Enid, Okla.: Garfield County Historical Society, 1982).
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