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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1900 - 1901 - 1902 - 1903

The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by Kay County Media LLC as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

1900 — It was decided to build a city hall and $4000 was appropriated. The money came from saloon licenses and fines that had been collected for drunkenness. The City Hall stood at the southeast corner of Fifth Street and Grand Avenue. Built of red brick with limestone trim, the building was quite imposing in a city whose business district included a few other one-story brick buildings and many false front frame structures.
In June, a fire destroyed the entire north side of Grand Avenue between Second and Third Streets, leveling twelve buildings and fifteen businesses. By October, every building in this block had been rebuilt with brick. Pabst Brewing Company, owner of one of the burned buildings, donated two hose carts with six-foot wheels to the city fire department.

Ponca City Oil and Gas Company were organized, and Mayor DeRoberts became an officer in the company.


1901 — The original frame schoolhouse was cut in half. The front part was moved to the "new territory" in the northwest part of town that had just been taken into the school district. The rear half was moved to the 600 block on South Sixth Street for Negro children. J.W. Lynch gave one of the lots for that building and the school board paid $50 for the other lot.

James Hutchison was elected mayor. He and his family had made the 1889 land run into Guthrie, and relocated to Ponca City in 1896. A baker by trade, he was very active in the community and identified with its growth and prosperity.

Ponca City's population totaled 2,500. The first Electric Light Plant opened. It was called a direct current system, and was owned by Mr. Catron.

Western Union telegraph came to Ponca City.

Citizens voted $10,000 in bonds to improve the water system.

Three blocks of old dirt sidewalks on Grand Avenue were replaced with 12-foot wide sidewalks of stone, brick and cement. Stone street crossings were also added downtown.

Charles F. Calkins built a three story brick building at the corner of First Street and Grand Avenue to house his store. In the summer, the Calkins Mercantile would open its doors each morning between 5:00 and 6:00 so customers could shop in the cool of the day. Many arrived in wagons from towns as far away as Pawnee, Hominy, and Tonkawa.

George H. Brett built a fine home at 305 S. Fifth Street. It extended from East Oklahoma to East Walnut Avenues, and was the talk of the town.

Mr. Brett was a very industrious merchant and rancher. He owned implement stores and harness shops in Ponca City and Newkirk, plus three cattle ranches in Osage and Kay Counties.


1902 — William Jenkins established the town of Kaw, Okla. It was located east of Ponca City, near the Kay-Osage county line on the banks of the Arkansas River. The city was named for the Kanza Indians, called Kaw by the local people.

The Farmers National Bank opened.


1903 — Dr. N.M. Baskett was elected mayor. Baskett was a Democrat, and he was definitely supported by the Democrat newspaper, the Ponca City Democrat. Baskett had moved to Ponca City from Missouri, where he had served in the state senate. He was a partner in the firm of Rawlings and Co., druggists. He was identified as a "substantial businessman with a reputation above reproach." His Republican opponent was J.J. McGraw, a pioneer, cashier of the Farmers National Bank, and community leader, who was definitely supported by the Republican newspaper, the Ponca City Courier.

Women were allowed to vote for members of the school board. The Ponca City Democrat commented: "As these are important offices, the ladies should exercise the right of franchise and help select the best men to look after our schools. The Democrats present good men in the different wards for these places and they should receive the support of the ladies."

Charles H. Ruby, Ponca City grocer, organized the Ponca City Oil, Gas, and Mineral Company and sold stock to local farmers and townspeople.

An iron fence was placed around the city building and the building was painted.

Local taxes were raised from 20 to 22 mills.

Col. George Miller died and the 101 Ranch was taken over by his three sons. Each son had a specialty that made the ranch pay off. Joe, the oldest, was an expert in grains and plants. The middle son, Zack, was a cowman. The third son, George, was a financial wizard.

The Vanselous family moved into their new home on the Big V Ranch, just west of the 101 Ranch. The three-story house had 20 rooms, which included a lobby, offices, four bedrooms, two indoor bathrooms, and two apartments.