Located in Le Flore County approximately six miles north of Poteau, Shady Point lies adjacent to U.S. Highway 271. Originally in the Choctaw Nation, the community had a school named Double Springs, which was developed by the tribal government, with the help of the Presbyterian Church. By 1891 a post office designated Harrison served the settlement. In 1894 the designation changed to Shady Point and moved east to the proposed route of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad. It laid tracks through the area in 1895-96. In 1900 the Kansas City Southern Railway purchased the railroad.
The community benefited from the region's timber, agriculture, and coal mining industries. The town prospered as a shipping point for coal extracted from nearby mines at Sutter, which became Calhoun in 1914. In 1900-1901 the Poteau Valley Railroad built tracks from Shady Point to the mines at Calhoun. In 1926 the line was abandoned as the coal industry waned. In 1901 Shady Point's estimated population stood at two hundred and it had four general stores, a blacksmith, a cotton gin, a gristmill, a grocery store, a drugstore, and two doctors. Choctaw lawyer and politician Jacob B. Jackson lived at the village and was buried in the cemetery in 1909. By 1911 the community had added a rooming house, and in 1918 its population was judged to be five hundred. By 1932 the economic emphasis had shifted to agriculture, and the town supported a cotton gin and three grain mills. In 1946 the only significant businesses were three grocery stores, a general store, and a service station, and by 1955 two more gas stations had located in the community.
In 1978 the Evans Coal Company opened a deep shaft mine nearby, but after two workers died the next year, the mine closed in 1980. By that year the town had incorporated, and its population registered 235. In 1991 the AES (Applied Energy Services) Corporation established the Shady Point AES power plant in the region, and by the end of the twentieth century the plant burned more than half of the coal produced in Oklahoma. The town's 1990 population was 597. In 2000 the prekindergarten-through-eighth-grade school system enrolled 167 students. In 1988 the Shady Point School (NR 88001405), which had been built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Two other properties in the vicinity, Trahern's Station (NR 72001073) and the WPA-constructed Dog Creek School (NR 88001399), were also listed in the Register in 1972 and 1988, respectively. In 2000 Shady Point's population stood at 848.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Le Flore County (Oklahoma) Sun, 17 February 1980. Henry L. Peck, The Proud Heritage of Le Flore County: A History of an Oklahoma County (Van Buren, Ark.: Press Argus, 1963). Sarah Singleton Spears, Yesterday Revisited: An Illustrated History of Le Flore County (Poteau, Okla.: Poteau Daily News and Sun, 1991).
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