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ROSEDALE

Located in McClain County, Oklahoma, Rosedale is situated along State Highway 59 southeast of Purcell. An agricultural community, Rosedale was founded in April 1908 after ninety acres of the Chickasaw allotment of Rose Hopping, the town's namesake, were made available for settlement. The Oklahoma Central Railroad (acquired by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1914) connected Rosedale with Purcell and Byars. Rosedale had an estimated population of about two hundred residents in 1908.

All of Rosedale's original houses were wooden, and each had its own water well or cistern. Most of the businesses were constructed of brick and included a bank, general merchandise stores, a hotel, restaurants, an ice cream parlor, two blacksmiths, and two cotton gins. The town also had two churches. Rosedale's streets were unpaved. There was no electricity, and the central telephone office was situated in the Rosedale Hotel's basement. School was originally held in the Presbyterian Church, but a two-story, brick school building was completed in 1909. The high school was accredited in 1925.

Areas surrounding Rosedale contributed to its early success. To the east was the town of Okra, whose residents relocated to Rosedale after Okra's post office was discontinued, and Rosedale's was established, in August 1908. Allotments west and southeast of Rosedale were assigned to Chickasaw freedmen. The freedmen were farmers, and their children attended the Douglas and Blue Branch elementary schools. Around Rosedale lay rich farmland. Local farmers brought their cotton to Rosedale to be ginned, their corn to be ground, and their butter, cream, and eggs to be sold or traded.

The Great Depression, the cessation of the Oklahoma Central Railroad (Santa Fe), the construction of State Highway 59, and business fires resulted in Rosedale's decline. Also, with the advent of World War II, many residents left Rosedale to find war industry jobs. The Rosedale School District closed in 1968. Rosedale's 1950 population was 136. That number declined to ninety-eight in 1970 and sixty-six in 2000.

SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Hunter James, "Rosedale, New Oklahoma Central Town," Sturm's Oklahoma Magazine 7 (November 1908). John W. Morris, Ghost Towns of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977). Joyce Rex, ed., McClain County, Oklahoma: History and Heritage, 3 vols. (Purcell, Okla.: McClain County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1986).

Martha McGowan

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