Strang, located in Mayes County five miles northwest of Spavinaw, was incorporated in 1921. The community lies on County Road E0420, four and one-half miles west of the junction of State Highways 20 and 82. Before its occupation the region was one of plains and unbroken expanses of tall grass. Along the river were trees and cane breaks. In 1830 Congress approved the area to become part of the Cherokee Nation, in Indian Territory. In 1902 Walnut post office was established one mile north of Strang's present site. In 1905 Lynch post office replaced it. The Lynch community had two schools in 1912. A school for whites had seventy-six children; a separate school for African Americans had nine.
In 1913 a new townsite was surveyed in order to prepare for the arrival of the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway line (MO&G, after 1919 the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway), which was building tracks southeast to Wagoner. Lots, blocks, streets, and alleys were mapped. A "golden spike" ceremony, the last rail spike driven, celebrated the connection of the terminal ends of the line. An official of the MO&G Railroad named the town Strang in honor of his new daughter-in-law. Lynch post office was discontinued and Strang post office was established on March 18, 1913, near the railway depot.
Population began to increase in the area with the railway and the coming of 1907 statehood. Strang soon became an agricultural and retail center. In 1918 the estimated population was 300. Agriculture-related businesses included the Cherokee Grain & Mercantile Company, a cotton gin, a grain elevator, and cream stations. A bank, hotels, restaurants, and a theater opened. Other commercial establishments included a livery stable, grocery stores, a variety store, a lumberyard, blacksmiths, a second-hand store, a meat market, gas stations, and a garage. Two doctors cared for the residents. Telephone service was available, and children attended classes in a two-story school building. The Strang Record and the Grand River News published briefly before World War I. In 1930 the census registered 286 residents. World War I and the Great Depression caused many to leave the area. In 1950 railway service ended. In that year the census counted 201 inhabitants, and the town reached its low point of 126 in 1980.
Strang has water on three sides. The Grand River is north of town and curves to the west. South of Strang, Spavinaw Creek flows into Grand River. Ferryboats crossed the Grand River until 1921, when a bridge was built west of town. In 2002 Strang identified its original streets with signs. The community supported a post office, a convenience store, a fire department, a community center, a machine shop, and a church. In the surrounding area several farmers grew hay, and ranchers raised cattle. The 2000 population numbered 150.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Historical Highlights of Mayes County (Pryor, Okla.: Mayes County Historical Society, 1977). George H. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names (2d ed.; Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1974).
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