Located in southern Pushmataha County, Rattan is situated on State Highway 3, twelve miles east of Antlers, the county seat. The surrounding area had originally been within the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. At 1907 statehood when the county was created, the township surrounding future Rattan had a population of 557. A post office called Rattan was established on December 12, 1910. In 1918 Polk's Oklahoma State Gazetteer and Business Directory noted that Rattan had an estimated population of 100. It supported two general stores, a cotton gin, a grist mill, and several livestock dealers. Agriculture continued to be the economic focus through the twentieth century. In November 1977 residents voted 87 to 29 in favor of incorporating. As a result, Rattan's town government received tax revenues and was approved for a federal-state matching grant to upgrade the fire department. The first federal census for Rattan, taken in 1980, reported a population of 332.
In 1997 Rattan elementary school students accomplished a class project directed by their teacher Beth Lawless. They researched and gathered information about four Royal Air Force cadets, who died in airplane crashes during a training mission in 1943 near Moyers, a Pushmataha County town a few miles northwest of Antlers. As a result of their research project and fund raising, a marble monument in honor of the cadets was dedicated in February 2000 at Big Mountain.
At the turn of the twenty-first century Rattan, a "bedroom" community, had a school system serving prekindergarten through high school. With 241 residents the local economy continued to be based on wheat and cattle. Visitors and locals enjoyed outdoor recreation at Hugo Lake State Park, located five miles south of Rattan, and at Lake Ozzie Cobb, situated six miles northeast of Rattan.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Antlers (Oklahoma) American, 17 November 1977 and 24 January 1980. Mark A. Hutchison, "Rattan Students Erect Memorial in WW II Crash," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 18 February 2000. Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003). Dorothy Arnote West, Pushmataha County: The Early Years (N.p.: Privately printed, 2002).
Linda D. Wilson
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