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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1904 - 1905 - 1906

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.

1904 — Mrs. George Brett and Mrs. F.D. Foutz invited 34 women to create a study club. The object of the club was intellectual improvement and a civic betterment, and they named it the "Twentieth Century Club." Their first project was to get the city park in condition for public use. The ladies received permission from the City Council to install seats and lunch tables, lights and water, along with a pavilion for band concerts.

The women of the Twentieth Century Club also organized a book exchange in back of the HCR Brodboll Insurance Company on Grand Avenue, thus beginning the city's first public library, consisting of 50 volumes. The clubwomen were the volunteer librarians.

J.W. Wiker leased the Rhodes House, later known as the Arcade Hotel, on the southwest corner of Grand Avenue and First Street. Wiker had previously been a manager for the famous "Harvey Houses." The hotel employed nine waitresses, four maids, three cooks, two dishwashers, a baker and a silver girl. The waitresses dressed in "Harvey House" style, with white starched pinafores, black long-sleeved sateen blouses, black shoes and stockings, and white headbands.

Ponca City's population was 2000.


1905 — Col. Joe Miller 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. Many animals were featured in the show, including buffalo, elephants, camels, ostriches and elk. There were also monkeys, coyotes, and several bears.

The Miller Brothers presented an exhibition roundup for the National Editorial Association at the 101 Ranch. The group was holding its national convention in Guthrie. The crowd thrilled to the demonstration of cowboys recreating real life ranch work, from bronc riding and roping. Tom Mix appeared for the first time as a roper and rider. Most of the people of Ponca City turned out to help feed and entertain the 60,000 visitors who arrived at the ranch in 30 special trains.

Charles H. Ruby discovered natural gas in Ponca City, and founded the town's first gas company, the Ponca City Oil, Gas and Mineral Company. Gas mains were laid throughout the city from the wells northeast of town so that the gas could be turned into commercial use. Initial acceptance was slow; many believed the gas was dangerous.

There was also some controversy regarding gas rates. The gas company wanted 25 cents per thousand feet, while the city wished to pay 10 cents per thousand feet. A compromise of 18 cents was reached.

The two mayoral candidates in 1905 were R.P. Baughman, Democrat, and James Hutchison, Republican. Hutchison had served as mayor from 1901 to 1903. In the campaign for mayor, the partisan local newspapers each carried their respective candidate's banner, and used various ingenious strategies to editorialize.

The Ponca City Democrat wrote, "Mr. Baughman is young, ambitious, energetic and public spirited. He is interested in the future growth and development of our city. He is competent in every way to fill the position...He is progressive, broad-minded and business like and will be a mayor that every citizen will feel proud of regardless of politics." The Democrat had also printed some "mud slinging" allegations about Mr. Hutchison and his extravagance with the city treasury when he was mayor.

The Ponca City Courier wrote, "Now, we all live here, help pay the taxes that maintain the city and are entitled to know the true facts in the case, so let us for our own benefit and future guidance compare the two administrations, see what has been accomplished and to whom credit is due."

R.P. Baughman was elected. During his time as mayor, he was also the manager of the local Long-Bell Lumber yard.


1906 — Mayor Baughman resigned his position as mayor. Until an election could be held to fill the vacancy, F.W. Wallace, president of the city council, was acting mayor. In March, the Democrats nominated Mr. Wallace as their candidate for mayor. His opponent was James S. Hutchins. In the April election, Mr. Hutchins was elected. Jim was always a Ponca City booster. He was one of the enthusiasts who raised the money for Ponca City's first schoolhouse, and he served on the school board. He was also instrumental in organizing the first Chamber of Commerce, known then as the Commercial Club, and served as its President.

The Miller brothers took the 101 Wild West Show on the road for the first time. Over the years, many famous people performed or were associated with the show. Among them were Buffalo Bill Cody, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Lucille Mulhall and Bill Pickett, the black cowboy who invented bull dogging as a rodeo event. The show grew to 1,700 performers including a troupe of 300 Indians. Every ten days, while the show was on the road, 30,000 pounds of meat, fruit and vegetables produced at the 101 Ranch were shipped out of Ponca City in refrigerated rail cars to the people in the show.

Crank phones were replaced by a battery line, so all one had to do to reach the operator was to pick up the phone. There were two competing phone companies, so if you wanted to talk with everyone in town who had a phone, you had to subscribe to both companies.

On June 16, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Oklahoma Enabling Act, which provided for the creation of a single state from the "Twin Territories." This act called for a convention in Guthrie to draft a constitution for the proposed state. The act also required that a population census be taken.