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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1912 - 1913 - 1914 - 1915

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.

1912 — Brett Implement was the largest business of its kind in northern Oklahoma. In addition to a full line of farming and ranching supplies, they also sold Studebaker buggies and Buick automobiles.

In April, a tornado (known then as a cyclone) damaged 161 homes and destroyed a fairground and racetrack on the west side of the city.

E.W. Marland began construction on the first refinery to be built in Ponca City, located at the south end of First Street. He formed the Marland Refining Company, absorbing the original 101 Ranch Oil Company. Marland had at least 20 wells producing oil. He was drilling in the Ponca field and at Newkirk. He was out in the fields with his men, eating out of dinner pails and working alongside them. The Kay County Gas Company, which E.W. controlled, took over natural gas distribution.

The 101 Ranch Wild West Show toured through 22 states and three Canadian Provinces, staging 421 shows. In August, as they traveled through Wisconsin, the train derailed, demolishing five cars, killing 10 horses and injuring 30 more.

Ponca City administrators made a key decision by voting to approve $30,000 in general obligation bonds to construct a steam generated electric plant and distribution system, owned and operated by the city.

The United Sash and Door Company in Wichita, Kan., needed a new location, since there was a shortage of natural gas in Kansas. The Chamber of Commerce encouraged the glass plant to locate in Ponca City. The city donated 15 acres of land adjoining the Santa Fe railroad and added a switch track to the property, at a cost to the city of $10,000.


1913 — The whole town turned out for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Cherokee Strip land run.

At the age of 20, Ponca City had 500 phones and a population of approximately 5,000. The city had four blocks of brick streets and 1.5 miles of "macadamized" streets. The city limits were from South Avenue to Highland, and Tenth Street to the railroad, with a few streets west of the tracks and two blocks south of South Avenue between Third and Seventh Streets.

The city boasted six churches, three lumber yards, nine hotels or boarding houses, and four movie houses.

William McFadden was elected mayor. McFadden was associated with George L. Miller of the 101 Ranch, Lew Wentz and E.W. Marland in the oil business, which made him wealthy. He came to Ponca City from Pennsylvania, where he had been in the steel business. McFadden loved being mayor and enjoyed participating in fire and police activities.

The 101 Ranch Wild West Show toured in 13 states, mostly in the northeast area. They then took the show to Rio de Janeiro on a ship. The ocean was rough and many people were seasick. One man contracted smallpox, and begged to be thrown overboard. He survived, but four of the Indians died of smallpox. The stock became ill with glandular, a very contagious and deadly equine disease. All of the horses had to be shot and burned.


1914 — White Eagle, Chief of the Ponca Tribe, died suddenly on Feb. 5. He was the oldest living member of his tribe. There was some disagreement about his age, but most thought he was at least 100 years old. He had been chief as early as 1880, and had relinquished his duties to his eldest son, Horse Chief Eagle, in 1907.

White Eagle was very well respected by Indians and whites alike. His obituary mentions that he was an ideal Indian chief in appearance "...tall, straight as an arrow, he bore himself with the dignity and reserve which becomes high position and seldom spoke except in his own language."

Jackie McFarlin Laird joined the 101 Ranch Wild West Show as a trick rider and roper. Jackie worked with four horses, but her favorite was Alice, who would kneel, pray or lie down at Jackie's direction.

The most dangerous trick she performed, known as "tailback," involved sliding off the backside of the horse and being dragged around the arena. Jackie also appeared in one of the favorite acts of the show, the "Indian Raid" act. She was the one who was seated in the covered wagon when the Indians set fire to it.

The 101 Ranch Wild West Show performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City; then the Miller Brothers traveling road show went to Europe, where they performed in Berlin and Paris before going to London. In August, Zack Miller received word that the English were confiscating the show animals and vehicles, due to the start of World War I.

The Millers quickly closed the show, sold their horses to the British government for war purposes, disposed of their equipment, and returned to Ponca City.

Virginia and E.W. Marland moved from the Arcade Hotel to a home on North Sixth Street while they waited for their new home on Grand Avenue to be constructed. George and Lydie Roberts, Virginia's niece and nephew from Pennsylvania, had earlier come to Ponca City to live with the Marlands.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for a permanent state capital building in Oklahoma City took place on July 20, with Governor Lee Cruce making the first dig. The firm of Solomon Layton and S. Wemyss Smith were chosen to design the building. Layton, recognized as the capitol's visionary lead architect, designed his plans in the Greco-Roman, or neoclassical architectural style.

He positioned eight winged lions atop the building's roof as symbols of the continual struggle of regal dignity and victory. Corinthian columns surround the building, and 34 massive steps stretch across the south span of the building, taking visitors to the second story entrance.


1915 — Governor Robert C. Williams tapped the cornerstone in place on the capitol's northwest side on Statehood Day, Nov. 16. The four-ton granite stone came from Tishomingo, Okla., and holds 50 historical documents from 1915.

The Glass Factory, unable to negotiate a new contract for natural gas, closed its doors. It had only been in business in Ponca City for three years.

Marland opened the Three Sands oilfield, and along with Mayor Bill McFadden, Lew Wentz, and others, began amassing considerable fortunes.

This created tremendous spill over effects for Ponca City in the form of philanthropic gifts of public buildings, parks, school sites, and swimming pools.

The original Lincoln Elementary School opened its doors as a one-room schoolhouse.

The 101 Ranch shipped horses and mules to the allied forces overseas.

The 1915 season of The Wild West Show closed on Nov. 20. The show had traveled for 34 weeks for a total of 12,000 miles, performed 188 shows in 23 states, and made a profit of $200,000.