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Located in Ottawa County, North Miami is four miles north of Miami on U.S. Highway 69, historic U.S. Highway 66. In 1914 Commerce's first post office held the name North Miami, but it soon changed, and in 1915 present North Miami received this postal designation, with Sarah Dennis serving as postmaster. The town is located approximately on the border of land that the federal government had designated for the Quapaw tribe to the north and the Peoria tribe to the south.

Serving the lead and zinc mining industry, the Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri Inter-Urban Railway (OK&M), which built its line in 1908-09, ran through the town on its way to Commerce and other mining locations. Many miners lived in North Miami, and in 1920 the population stood at 483. The community's proximity to Miami and Commerce and the interurban system of the Northeast Oklahoma Railroad (NEO), which bought the OK&M in 1919, led residents to conduct much of their business outside of the incorporated town. The population climbed to 503 in 1930, declined to 393 in 1940, and rebounded to 486 in 1950. In 1955 three grocery stores, a service station, a retail outlet, and a gas station served the residents.

In 1970 there were 503 inhabitants. The area lies within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Site program, which the federal government initiated in 1983. In 2000 the population stood at 433. Nearly 94 percent of working residents commute to work, with 60 percent traveling less than fifteen minutes. North Miami remained a "bedroom" community for larger Ottawa County towns.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 23 September 1917. Velma Nieberding, The History of Ottawa County (Miami, Okla.: Walsworth Publishing Co., 1983).

Larry O'Dell

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