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125 Years and Counting

Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 12:00:00 am

We’ve mentioned before that this year is OKC’s 125th birthday. This city has come a long way since the Land Run of 1889, but it didn’t get there on its own. The city has had 35 mayors to help guide it along the way.

Here are five facts we’re pretty certain you didn’t know about some of Oklahoma City’s previous mayors.

  1. The city’s first mayor, William L. Couch, served the city from April 27, 1889 (that’s just five days after the Land Run) until Nov. 11, 1889. Not long after resigning from office, Couch was in a dispute over a claim to his homestead which culminated in a duel. Couch died from gunshot wounds on April 21, 1890 – just one day before the first anniversary of the Land Run.
  2. While Oklahoma City was built in a day, its infrastructure was most certainly not. During Mayor Lee Van Winkle’s (1899-1901; 1903-1905) second term, the city’s engineering, auditing and accounting departments were created and he secured $2 million to pave city streets.
  3. Mayor Edward Overholser (1915-1918) was mayor during a serious water-supply crisis which led to the creation of Oklahoma City’s first municipal reservoir – Lake Overholser.
  4. Mayor James H. Norick (1959-1963; 1967-1971) was the first Oklahoma City mayor to actually be born in Oklahoma City. He was also a big supporter of sporting events in Oklahoma City and promoted the city’s first Central Hockey League franchise.
  5. Mayor Patience Latting (1971-1983) was not only the first woman to be elected mayor of Oklahoma City, but she was also the first woman to be elected mayor of an American city with a population exceeding 350,000.

Read more about Oklahoma City’s mayors here.  

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