Ponca City Information
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101 Ranch Memorial
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101 Ranch - A National Historic Landmark, this picnic area commemorates the 101 Ranch which was home to the hundreds of participants in the famous 101 Wild West Show. This show, which traveled throughout the world in the 1920s, featured sharp shooters, trick riders, ropers and Indians in full regalia.
The ranch stretched over four counties and covered 101,000 acres - hence the name - south of Ponca City in the early 1900s. The self contained ranch had its own tannery, dairy, ice plant, electric power plant, cannery, cider mill, and 25,000 long-horn steer. They even had their own money! The ranch was in operation for over 50 years before splitting up into small farms in 1931. None of the buildings remain, but artifacts and memorabilia are viewable on the lower lever of the Marland Grand Home.
Explore The Legacy of The 101 Ranch
101 Ranch Panoramic
The 101 Ranch was a sprawling 110,000 acres of leased Indian lands that spread across four counties. It was founded in 1879 by Col. George W. Miller, a Confederate veteran. The 101 was a working showplace, self sufficient and employed thousands of people.
The ranch consisted of a school, show grounds, general store and cafe, hotel, newspaper, magazine, blacksmith shop, leather shop, dairy, saddle shop, meat packing plant, oil refinery and even its own scrip (money). Homes for employees were available on the ranch along with guest houses and a "Dude Ranch". It was a city within itself consisting of a population of around 3,000 people at any given time.
The 101 Ranch became one of the largest diversified farms with cross breeding of animals and agricultural products.
In 1903, Col. George Miller died and the ranch was taken over by his three sons. Each of his sons had a specialty that made the ranch pay off. The oldest was Joe Miller, an expert in grains and plants. The middle son, Zack was a cowman. The third son, George was a financial wizard.
In 1905, Joe started the 101 Ranch Wild West Show, an expansion of the yearly rodeos that featured roping, riding, bulldogging, Indian dancers, trick roping, riding and shooting. The show traveled all over the world. The Millers also introduced a sport called the "terrapin derbies".
In 1908, E.W. Marland, an oilman who was down on his luck, met the Miller Brothers and through them E.W. was able to drill on leased Indian lands. In 1911, E.W. made it pay off and went on to become a millionaire oilman, U.S. Congressman and 10th governor of Oklahoma.
In 1927, Joe Miller died of carbon monoxide poisoning. His death, along with World War I and the depression saw the ranch begin to decline. George died in 1929 in an automobile accident. Zack tried to keep the ranch a profitable business, but found himself and the ranch sinking deeper into legal problems. The problems eventually overtook him and the ranch. In 1937, he left for Texas where he died in 1952.
What the banks, depression, war and death had not taken from the ranch, deterioration, fire and the Salt Fork River has claimed. Little remains of the once fabulous empire, but the memory of it will live on forever.
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