McLoud is situated in the northwestern quarter of Pottawatomie County thirty miles east of Oklahoma City, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 270 and State Highway 102, three miles north of Interstate 40. Located on the North Canadian River, early-day McLoud was one of several towns known for manufacturing and selling whiskey to whites and American Indians. When a flood destroyed the original site, the small group of businesses moved about a mile south to higher ground. The McCloud post office, named after railroad attorney John William McLoud, was established in June 1895, and the spelling was changed to McLoud in October 1895. In 1900 McLoud had a population of 498, and by 1907 statehood it had risen to 783. In both cases it was the third largest town in the county. By 2000 the population was 3,548. American Indians, predominantly Kickapoo, made up 11.95 percent of the population, and African Americans accounted for 8.1 percent.
By 1904 McLoud had five cotton gins and two brick factories. As an agricultural center, large quantities of produce, including fruit from local orchards, were shipped to outside markets by train. In 1949 the city was recognized as the "Blackberry Capital of the World" when the Chamber of Commerce sent a crate of blackberries to Pres. Harry S. Truman. McLoud continues to celebrate an annual Blackberry Festival in July. Over the years the town has served as a commercial center for nearby farm families. By the turn of the twenty-first century McLoud had become a "bedroom" community, because many residents worked in surrounding towns.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Leah Horton Bird, Two Communities in Stitches: A Patchwork History About Dale and McLoud, Two Little Oklahoma Towns, Told with Pictures and Bits of Information ([McLoud, Okla.]: Privately printed, 1977). Blake Gumprecht, "A Saloon on Every Corner: Whiskey Towns of Oklahoma Territory, 1889-1907," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 74 (Summer 1996). Klaris Molder, "McLoud, 1895 to 1949," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 28 (Spring 1950). Pottawatomie County History Book Committee, comp. and ed., Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma History (Claremore, Okla.: Country Lane Press, 1987).
Leah Horton Bird
© Oklahoma Historical Society