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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1951

The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by the Ponca City Publishing Company, Inc. as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

1951 – In January, work orders were issued for highway paving that was connected with the Arkansas River bridge project. In October, the State Highway Director finally signed four work orders for completion of paving on the rerouting of U.S. Highways 60 and 77. The project was almost a year behind.

City commissioners approved an ordinance establishing a municipal water district over the Lake Ponca watershed.

The City scheduled a bond election for April 3, asking for approval of nine municipal projects totaling $1.75 million. Voters defeated seven of the proposals, and approved two, those of additional storm and sanitary sewers.

Mayor H. J. (Smitty) Smith resigned May 27. He had been called into active duty with the Air Force. Harper Baughman, president of Baughman Lumber Co., Arthur Frederick, a Cities Service employee, and D. J. Donahoe, owner of Ponca City Milling Company, filed for election. Baughman was elected to serve the remaining two years of Smith’s term.

Due to the continuous flooding, City Commissioners approved a resolution calling for bids for five reinforced concrete culverts for storm water drainage.

Construction of the new highway was slowed down by weather. Wet weather in mid-year delayed contractors who were building the roadway. In late December, sub-freezing temperatures stopped the project again.

New streetlights were installed on Grand Avenue from First to Fourth Streets.

Civil Aeronautics Administration officials met with city officials to discuss the future expansion of the airport.

On April 8, the new Arkansas River Bridge was completed. It opened to traffic prematurely because of early summer floods.

City commissioners gave the board of directors of Lakeside Golf Course approval to plan an additional nine holes.

The Airport Management Board suggested improvements at the airport including an administration building and a 4,700 foot runway.

The street department’s new $500 motor-operated “salt shaker” got its first workout as crews salted down slippery intersections.

County Attorney Lowell Doggett and Sheriff Roy Welch announced a “get tough” policy against county bootleggers and gamblers.

In April, the Board of Education signed the anti-Communist oath, which was required of all state employees and school officials.

The Ponca City High School Band won the sweepstakes at the annual tri-state festival in Enid. They were the only Oklahoma band invited to play at the Texas State Fair. The Wildcats, under Coach Sullins, reached the state football championship finals for the first time in history.

Construction of the new Washington School began in the Crestview addition. Other improvement projects included a brick building at Roosevelt for maintenance, and expansion of the Junior High facilities located in the Administration Building.

Regular milk in glass bottles went up to 23 cents, homogenized was at 24 cents, and milk in paper cartons cost one cent more for each type.

County Attorney Lowell Doggett filed an application in the county court, seeking to dispose of contraband liquor seized the past two years.

In January, 32 building permits for new residences were issued in one day. Total estimated building cost was $273,500.

The combination of too dry in the early spring, too wet in late spring, and greenbug infestations, took a toll on wheat production in the county.

In March, Mid-American Manufacturing Company signed a new contract with the army to make fatigue clothing. They hired 100 new employees. The following month, some of the employees staged a walkout. Union representatives were seeking a 10 percent wage increase and wanted to establish a union shop. The strike, initiated by members of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, AFL, caused several flare-ups of violence between strikers and non-striking workers until it was settled in October.

The Big V Ranch was auctioned in sections, plus 1200 cattle, cars and trucks, and ranch equipment were sold at auction for a total of $1,057,973.

The statue of E.W. Marland was unveiled on the grounds at the Civic Center on the 77th anniversary of his birth. Sculpted by Jo Davidson, the statue was a gift to the city from his widow, Mrs. Lydie Roberts Marland.

Heavy rains throughout the year brought six floods on the Arkansas River. The July high water was the third worst flood in the recorded history of Ponca City.

Ponca City’s Joe C. Creager, vice president of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society, was instrumental in helping select the Scissortail Flycatcher as the state’s official bird.

Southwestern Bell Telephone won an increase from the State Corporation Commission, enabling them to raise monthly rates. Rates for businesses went up to $7.75, and single party residence lines were $4.00. There were 10,000 phones in Ponca City.

Local Jaycees received permission from the city fathers to clean the Pioneer Woman Statue. They installed scaffolding around the statue, and cleaned it with steel wool. The volunteers in charge were Thornton Paynter and Harold Goodman. Baughman Lumber, Glover Concrete, and Rock Island Concrete, offered to contribute the necessary materials for a six-foot sidewalk to be laid around the statue.

Andy Andersen had a formal three-day opening of Andersen Shoe Store in a new building at Second and Cleveland.

Smith Holt received a permit to build a $100,000 apartment house in the southwest part of town, near Continental.

The Ponca City News was one of 14 papers in the state to begin receiving AP news via a new statewide teletype setter circuit.

The new Cities Service unit went “on stream.” It was the newest and only type fluid catalytic cracking unit in the U.S.

On December 30, Continental Oil Co. announced a $7.5 million expansion plan.