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Also known as New Prue, Prue is an incorporated town in southern Osage County. Accessed by County Road N3755, the Lake Keystone community lies approximately forty-six miles south of the Osage County seat of Pawhuska and thirty miles northwest of Tulsa. Prue was named in honor of Henry Prue, the owner of the original townsite. The Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad (later the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway) extended its line from Wybark near Muskogee to Osage by way of Prue in 1902-03. The Prue post office was established in September 1905, and town lots were sold at public auction beginning on March 22, 1911.

Located in an agricultural region, the Prue vicinity also offered hardwood timber and deposits of sandstone, lime (calcium oxide), shale, clay, petroleum, and natural gas. Oil-field activity was present by 1911. The Prue Field was opened east-northeast of town in 1920 and became a major source of natural gas. The nearby East Osage City and Twin Creek oil fields remained productive into the twenty-first century.

Ground-breaking on the Lake Keystone Dam occurred in December 1956. Before its completion in 1964, lake waters covered approximately 90 percent of the Prue townsite, which was situated on the Arkansas River arm of the reservoir. As a result, the community was relocated north-northeast to its current position and became known as New Prue. The 1,429-acre Walnut Creek State Park is three miles southwest of town.

U.S. Census figures for Prue were not available until 1970, at which time the town had a population of 271. That number increased to 554 in 1980 and decreased to 346 in 1990. In 2000 Prue had 433 residents and five businesses, including one grocery store, a convenience store, one commercial bank, and a religious organization. Rail service to Prue stopped in 1964, and the town has had no known newspaper.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kenny A. Franks, The Osage Oil Boom (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1989). "Prue," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Jon D. May

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