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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1943

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1943 – Ponca City activities centered more than ever on the war effort. Residents took part in war production, contributed to scrap and bond drives, and sent members of the family into the service. Many appreciated the increased payrolls and trade that resulted from the war.

Infantile paralysis, chicken pox and influenza victimized a large number of citizens.

War production increased with the first shipments from the Continental Oil Company’s new toluene plant, and increased production from the refineries, the airplane sub-assemblies plant, and army garment manufacturers.

Major Cox of the Ponca Military Academy reported his school was at full enrollment with 70 students.

In March, prices for milk remained at 13 cents a quart retail, due to the milk price ceilings established by the Oklahoma Price Administration. It was raised to 14 cents in April.

L.A. Farmer, president of Northern Oklahoma Gas company, was the new president of the Chamber of Commerce.

900 Continental employees, members of the Independent Oil Workers union, agreed to work two days per week per man to help area farmers harvest and care for their crops.

Tag licenses for automobiles were numbered stickers to be pasted on windshields.

The school census revealed the highest number of students ever recorded, with a total of 5,280 children between 6 and 21 years of age.

Charles P. Howell was re-elected for the eighth consecutive time to serve as superintendent of the public schools.

A section of the 34-year-old bridge east of Ponca City over the Arkansas River dropped eight inches, making it unsafe for traffic.

Local shoe repair shops reported rushing business since shoe rationing had become effective.

The Lummus Company constructed a 100-octane gasoline plant south of town. They were able to increase wages for their employees with common labor receiving 60 cents an hour and semi-skilled 70 cents. The highest increase was from $1.25 to $1.50 for steamfitters.

In April, Glenn E. Paris & Sons furniture store observed its third anniversary by moving to a new location, 216-18 East Grand Avenue.

On April 3, the Tonkawa prisoner of war camp held an open house.

Grocers urged Ponca City housewives to spend their ration coupons as they needed them so that the stores would be able to replenish their stocks.

Ponca victory gardeners were allowed water rate reductions from April through September.

The estimated budget set by the Board of Education for the 1943-44 school year was $349,740, an increase of almost $32,000, which was mostly for teacher salaries.

City commissioners passed a new city ordinance to keep Ponca City clean.

Payrolls had increased 61% since 1940, post office receipts rose 24%, sales tax collections rose 30%.

On April 14, the first day of issuance for canning sugar, 400 citizens lined up at the fire station to purchase up to 25 pounds each, the maximum amount allowed. Potatoes had also been scarce. Hatfield Grocery reported receiving 2,500 pounds, and selling them all in one afternoon.

Residents donated almost enough tin cans to fill a railroad car. Total weight of the cans was 710 pounds.

On June 15, shoe dealers experienced their busiest day in months. The first shoe ration stamp had expired.

Mid-American Manufacturing hired 200 additional workers. They were now manufacturing clothing for the army.

All city department heads except two received a salary increase, thanks to a new city ordinance.

Ponca City Savings and Loan Association had the 51st semi-annual and consecutive dividend since their founding in 1917. L.S. Barnes, president, distributed checks totaling over $50,000 to stockowners.

All cadets at Darr School of Aeronautics were placed under a two-week quarantine after one of the British students was diagnosed with infantile paralysis.

In August, Continental Oil increased their week work to 44 hours. Local stores changed their hours to accommodate the oil company’s employees.

Sisters of St. Joseph held open house at the new nurse’s home and hospital annex.

Ponca City barbers charged 60 cents for a haircut and 25 cents for a shave, upping prices by 10 cents.

John E. Boyer Company, airplane parts assembly plant, increased contracts by 30 to 40 percent.

In September, the prisoner of war camp in Tonkawa received 461 more German prisoners.

The Chamber of Commerce and real estate agencies requested that persons having available rooms or living quarters for rent to list them. Many newcomers to Ponca City could not find a place to live.

City commissioners approved a contract to raise and widen the Lake Ponca dam and repair the spillway.

Cities Service Refinery went to a 48-hour week.

On October 23, a B-17 bomber crashed in Ponca City just before a rainstorm. All 14 men aboard were killed.

Two groups of war prisoners from the camp at Tonkawa were approved for agricultural work in Ponca City.

The White House at the 101 Ranch, one of the most noted landmarks in Oklahoma, was sold to F.G. VanSickle, along with the round house dormitory and the long barn. He announced that he would tear down the house.

State Sen. Charles Duffy reported that engineering plans for a new bridge over the Arkansas River had been finished and would be carried out as one of the first post-war projects.

The huge Christmas tree was erected downtown in the middle of Grand Avenue. It stood 35 feet high, its branches made of trees. A star made of 40 white electric light bulbs topped the tree.

The cooperation of Ponca Citians in worthy drives became more outstanding than ever before. War bond drives, scrap drives, Red Cross and national war chest campaigns continued to receive sizable local donations.

Total war bonds sold in Kay County in 1943 were $4,567,484, which was 148% over the quota, topped only by Tulsa, Oklahoma and Muskogee Counties.