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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1894

The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by the Ponca City Publishing Company, Inc. as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

1894 — Population was 2,000.

  • Two churches were built, the Presbyterian and the Methodist.
  • The first electric lights in the Cherokee Strip were turned on in Ponca City.
  • By the first anniversary of the town, three schools had been built.
  • A steam flour mill was operating and milling 100 barrels per day.
  • A contract had been let for the water works.

The early citizens of Ponca City made every effort to convince Santa Fe to build a station at Ponca City, but the railroad officials refused. There was already a depot in Cross and that's where the train stopped. Rivalry between Ponca City and Cross was intense and many hard feelings developed. The citizens of Cross were rude to the people from Ponca City when they went there to board the trains and many altercations resulted. Every trick known was used to persuade the railroad officials to change their minds. With the help of some men of the territorial legislature, Santa Fe finally relented and, in September 1894, the railroad authorized the rails to be cut, a spur put in and a boxcar depot placed just south of the Grand Avenue railroad crossing on the east side of the tracks.

There is a story that the first boxcar station in Ponca City was "obtained" one dark night by some civic boosters who pulled it from Cross with their horses, and set it next to the tracks.

Everyone in town prepared to celebrate the first day that the train stopped in Ponca. Small cards were printed with the proud boast: "The trains stop here just the same as at Chicago. Come and see us when you can." As souvenirs for the men on the train, a complimentary cigar was attached to the card, and the ladies received a bouquet of wildflowers, with the card. Two boys and two girls met the first train and handed out the souvenirs to the passengers. The significance of this event was so unusual that the Associated Press published it in newspapers all over the United States.

The closest post office was in Cross, and the citizens had to pay a carrier to deliver the mail from Cross to Ponca City. The people of Ponca City realized that they needed their own Post Office, not only so they could receive their mail earlier, but also because of the economic impact. Some citizens did travel to Cross for their mail, and would buy their groceries and supplies while they were there.

One of the main stumbling blocks was the name ... Ponca City. The Indian agency south of town had a post office known as Ponca Post Office. The U.S. Government preferred the use of a prefix when any part of the name was already an existing office. So the Ponca City Board of Trade decided to apply for a post office to be called New Ponca Post Office. A petition with over 500 names was carried to Washington, D.C. Citizens learned of the approval and gathered downtown for an impromptu celebration. The band played and "every man in town" started shooting off his gun. Every store in town piled boxes in the middle of Grand Avenue to create a blaze of glory.

The Ponca City Courier reported on the successful venture. "If the friends or the enemies of Ponca City ... beg pardon, New Ponca ... think she is sleeping, they are mistaken. She is right up and coming and will win the balance of her fight just as certainly as she has won the preliminary skirmish. As to the name, while the post office will be New Ponca, the town will doubtless continue to be known as Ponca City and mail addressed in that way will reach its destination just as well."