The northern Grady County community of Tuttle is situated twenty-one miles northeast of Chickasha and twenty-seven miles southwest of Oklahoma City at the junction of State Highways 37 and 92. Located east of the Chisholm Trail, Tuttle developed as a ranching and farming settlement. James H. Tuttle, a rancher and a Choctaw by marriage, was the town's namesake. The Perry-Dowden Land Company bought Chickasaw land from the Colbert family to plat the townsite circa 1901. Lots sold for twenty-five to forty dollars. Frances Schrock, a Choctaw, gave the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (Frisco) the right-of-way through her allotment. Tuttle's Schrock Park was named in her honor.
The town's first major building project was the Frisco depot, and the stockyard was the second. Louis Meder established a dry goods business complete with hitching posts brought from Iowa. In 1902 the first baby born in town was Tuttle Meder, son of Louis. In 1902-03 a subscription schoolhouse was built. A community building, it also served churches of different denominations.
Tuttle's post office was established on August 14, 1902. Community businesses through the years included clothing stores, grain elevators, livery stables, banks, the Stewart and Andress hotels, Vandyck Hardware, and cotton gins. In 1906 Tuttle was incorporated, and city officials were elected. W. T. Hamilton was the town's first mayor.
The Tuttle Times began publication in 1905. The Tuttle Opera House opened above the bank. Traveling shows performed plays there, and on Saturday night silent movies were shown. The first film presented at the Opera House was Earthquake in San Francisco. Local outdoor entertainment consisted of horse racing, roping contests, bronc riding, and baseball.
Tuttle's population fluctuated over the decades. The town had 613 residents in 1907 and 940 in 1940. That number fell in subsequent years but increased to 3,051 in 1980. The 2000 census recorded a peak population of 4,294. In 2000 a high percentage of local workers were employed in sales and production. The Braum's Dairy, situated between Tuttle and Minco, is a major area employer. Jason White, a Tuttle native and quarterback for the University of Oklahoma football team, received the Heisman Trophy in 2003. Tuttle has a home rule charter form of government.
SEE ALSO: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gwen Jackson, Trails, Rails, and School Tails: A History of 125 Schools and Communities of Grady County (N.p.: 1995). Walter G. McComas, "Tuttle, A Growing, Prosperous Town," Sturm's Oklahoma Magazine 5 (January 1908). Meta C. Sager, "Early Grady County History," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 17 (June 1939). "Tuttle," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.
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