Even though Oklahoma City was built in a day, the journey from a railroad depot to a bustling city was not easy. From gunfights to claim jumpers, Oklahoma City’s history will show you how the West was won.
On the morning of April 22, a railroad depot and a few crude buildings made up “Oklahoma Station,” but by nightfall there were between 4,000 and 6,000 people in the area, each trying to defend their claim on 160 acres of land. Streets ran at odd angles, tents were pitched in a haphazard fashion and there was no provision for organized government. Citizens banded together to choose a provisional government, and by May 1, 1889, elections were held to select permanent officials. A volunteer fire department used a hand-drawn converted beer wagon to fight fires, and a provisional police force used their fists and guns to impose order on the city.
Despite the lack of industry and a few economic depressions, the city still continued to be optimistic about its future. By 1900 the population of the citied had almost doubled, making it the fastest-growing town in Oklahoma. And when the Chamber recruited two packing plants to Oklahoma in 1909 and 1910, Oklahoma City had secured its first major industry that employed thousands of people. From that time, Oklahoma City grew steadily and developed into the place that we call home today.