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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History


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.

1949 – On January 10, five inches of sleet pelted down, causing the collapse of the Church of Christ building. Many roofs all over town were severely damaged. Eight days later, the city was blanketed by a six-inch snowfall and temperatures dropped below zero. During January, the city received over 25 inches of snow.

First Baptist Church was destroyed by fire on January 24. Firemen battled the blaze for six hours in 16-degree weather. Estimated loss was more than $200,000, the costliest fire in Ponca City history. Snow and sleet kept the fire from spreading.

In February, Ponca City’s new three-way police radio system went into full time operation. The police department also adopted several traffic safety improvements that were recommended by the National Safety Council.

The Jens Marie Hotel celebrated its 25th year in March.

Laura Valentine, long time manager, purchased the Arcade Hotel.

A mass X-ray survey in April revealed 67 Ponca City residents had symptoms of tuberculosis. There were 7,775 citizens x-rayed in Ponca City, and a total of 14,000 in Kay County.

A hailstorm pelted the city in late May, damaging roofs all over town. Winds were as high as 72 miles an hour.

The Ponca City War Memorial was dedicated at Ponca City High School.

Lew Wentz died on June 9 after an illness of several months. Known as Ponca City’s “first citizen,” he had been a benefactor to thousands. Nearly 1,500 people attended his funeral service. Merle P. Long was one of the administrators of the Wentz Estate. He served as a trustee of the Masonic Charities Foundation of Oklahoma that received one-fifth of the residual of the Wentz Estate.

The familiar “Number, please” voices of the telephone operators were changed to a buzzing dial tone. In July, the telephone office moved into its new building, and installed dial service.

Plans for the new Arkansas River bridge were finalized and a Muskogee construction firm was awarded the contract with a low bid of $720,000. Kay County commissioners announced an additional budget of $596,000 for county roads and bridges.

Officials agreed to extend U.S. highways 60 and 77, construct straighter routes, and provide the necessary right-of-way.

The Sisters of St. Felix purchased the Carmel priory from the Carmel Fathers for $50,000. The nuns announced plans to establish a high school and convent at the original Marland Estate.

On July 4th, more than 3,000 people visited the Wentz farm to view 88 Shetland ponies and riding horses. The animals were all sold at the Wentz Stables in October. Top price was $4,000 for a seven year old stallion. Sales totaled $78,165.

The Ponca City municipal band, directed by A.H. Long, presented its first Independence Day concert in North Park.

In August, Lester Woolard, manager of the Ponca City state employment office, announced that close to $2.5 million had been paid to local veterans since the inception of the GI Bill of Rights.

John L. Smith, 20, joined his father as junior partner in Smitty’s Mens and Boys Wear.

The City Commission voted to accept a grant of $36,403 from the civil aeronautics authority to expand the airport.

The Ponca Indian Pow Wow opened in August with nearly 1,000 people participating. Chloe Eagle, a descendant of Chief White Eagle, was chosen as Princess of the Pow Wow.

Over 1000 youngsters participated in the first annual Small Fry fishing derby at Lake Ponca Park, sponsored by the Park Department.

Conoco moved its headquarters operations from Ponca City to Houston, and created regional headquarters to decentralize operations. Conoco was marketing 304 different products made from petroleum and owned 1,050 retail stations in the United States.

Conoco now ranked as the eighth largest producer in the United States, producing oil and gas from more than 8,000 wells in eleven states and Canada. Exploration and production had been stepped up, and Oklahoma ranked fifth in the company’s production.

L.H. Kurtz started construction of a $56,000 motel on Central at Fourteenth Street in October.

In November, Kay County ranked third in automobile registrations and license collection, according to a report of the motor vehicle license division of the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

On November 14, a fire at the Chilocco Indian school caused over $75,000 damage. Nine days later, a second fire caused $5,000 more damage.

Ponca City schools celebrated the 56th anniversary of the first school completed in Ponca City. Located at Sixth Street and Grand Avenue, it was built two months after the Cherokee Strip Run.

Central Airlines started east-west air service through Ponca City.

Ed Souligny purchased 60 acres of land adjacent to the city limits in the southeast district of town, with a bid of $25,000. He planned to provide additional living space contiguous to and south of the present Dixie hill. The new area would bring residents out of the river bottom where their homes were periodically flooded by the Arkansas River. The central portion of the property was platted to include 74 building sites to be for sale to Negro purchasers.

Mr. and Mrs. C.M. Sanders won the residential competition in the Christmas lighting contest.