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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1936 - 1937

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.

1936 – Empire Oil and Refining changed its name to Cities Service Oil Company.

The WPA completed construction of Blaine Stadium and the Fieldhouse.

Ponca City could boast of four motion picture theaters, a municipal auditorium that seated 1000 people, two golf courses, 13 parks, two open-air swimming pools, five playgrounds, and two recreational camps.

The public library had 16,994 books, with 6,832 card holders.

The school district comprised 32 square miles. Public school students totaled 4,469, with 158 teachers, in 8 elementary schools, 1 junior high, 1 senior high, 1 parochial, and 2 special schools.

Citizens of Ponca City owned 4,487 cars and 570 trucks.

There were 316 babies born, a rate of 16.1 per 1,000 population.

There were 226 deaths, a rate of 11.5 per 1,000 population.

The city issued 246 building permits with a total value of $359,996. New house construction was a part of the total, at $182,095. Total homes in the city limits were 4,344.

Ponca City had three bus lines.

The Police Department employed 15 men.

Ponca City’s population was estimated at 18,000. Of that number, 9,562 were registered voters.

The city had 106 miles of streets, with 30 miles paved, 67 miles of water mains and 64 miles of sewers.

There were 24 churches, representing all leading denominations.

4,589 families lived in 4,344 dwellings, with an average spendable income of $2,573.

Visitors in town could choose from four hotels, with 300 first class rooms.

Residents with telephones numbered 4,634. They paid $2.50 per month for a single line, or $2.00 for a two-party line.


1937 – Edward Donahoe wrote and published a book entitled Madness in the Heart. The book used fictitious names and places, but it was the disguised tale of well known Ponca City citizens, in particular the Donahoes, the McGraws, the Soldanis and E.W. and Mary Virginia Marland.

Many social scandals of Ponca City were highlighted. Edward’s father, D.J. Donahoe, purchased and burned every copy of the book he could find.

W.H. Casey purchased a lot in the Acre Homes Addition at 717 E. Overbrook. The Addition’s restrictions stipulated that the cost of the structure be no less than $5,000 and that the house must set back 75 feet from the Overbrook curb line.

While E.W. was governor, the Marlands periodically spent time at the mansion to escape the hassles at the capital. Once as Lydie was walking on the grounds, a swan attacked her along the bank of Whitemarsh Lake, and injured her arm. She had to wear a sling for a few days while she healed. Marland ordered the swans removed from the property.

The WPA constructed Blaine Stadium and Fieldhouse with assistance from two other agencies, the Civil Workers Association and the Federal Employees Relief Administration. The stadium, with stone north stands, cost $83,000. Ponca City paid $28,000 while the federal government paid the rest. The first football game in the new stadium was played in September.

Another New Deal project was the 101 Ranch. The Farm Security Administration controlled much of the former Ranch land, and they organized the 101 Ranch Resettlement Project. The land was to be divided into 26 farms for landless farmers. They could lease the land for three years, and then would be allowed to purchase it with a 40 year note at 3% interest. To provide the families with income, the government allowed them to tear down old 101 Ranch buildings for materials. The buildings included the White House residence, hotel, cider mill, grain elevator, packing plant, refinery and some of the barns.

In December, Continental Oil Company fed employees doughnuts and coffee, and began distribution of 1,667 bonus checks totaling $200,000. Part of a $770,000 bonus to be distributed among the 5,000 employees of the company in various parts of the United States, it was one of the biggest bonuses given anywhere in the country. The average bonus check to Conoco employees amounted to two weeks pay.

The U.S. National Safety Council recognized Conoco’s impressive safety record with several awards.