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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1955

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.

1955 – The city’s new $350,000 sewage disposal plant went into operation, eliminating raw sewage being dumped into the Arkansas River.

Walter Doggett, Ponca City attorney, took office as the new county judge.

W.P. Hytche, math teacher and assistant coach at Attucks, took over the Blue Moon restaurant.

Great Lake Carbon Corp. bought a 20-acre tract in Ponca Industrial acreage north of the city to build a plant for making coke briquettes out of petroleum coke.

The Chamber of Commerce had a record 640 members, with paid fees of $3802.

The city was given the rights to water east of the city coming from 70 wells that would pump 19,000 gallons per minute.

As one of its golden anniversary projects, Ponca City Rotary Club presented a piano to the American Legion Home School.

Jack Blubaugh won a position on the wrestling team that would represent the United States in the Pan-American games in Mexico City.

In March, Continental Oil Co. announced a 4% wage increase for their 3,000 workers.

The company was also constructing a research lab to house 60 scientists and technicians. The building was in the shape of a donut, built out of an 80,000 barrel oil storage tank.

Ponca Indians won the first Conservation Service Award ever won in Oklahoma by an Indian farmer group. One of the few given in the nation, it was presented to 15 young Indians farming about 1,500 acres of land.

Prior to an upcoming city vote, The Ponca City News published diagrams of a proposed amphitheater in North Park. Many citizens sent letters to the paper about the issue, and 100 high school students signed a petition against it, suggesting the money be used instead for tennis courts. The proposal failed by a 5-1 margin.

A total of 1,099 children in Ponca City schools began the series of inoculations against polio with the Salk vaccine.

Joe C. Steichen, Route 4, was named the outstanding young farmer of Oklahoma.

On May 3, over 90 interested citizens attended a kick-off breakfast at the Jens Marie Hotel to discuss establishing a YMCA here. By May 15, they had raised $11,026 of the $14,000 goal.

The Pioneer Woman Statue was announced as the top tourist attraction in the state. It had 58,050 visitors in 1954.

Continental announced it would build a $500,000 dairy wax plant at the local refinery.

On May 25, a tornado at Blackwell destroyed the northeast part of town, leaving 70 reported dead and more than 500 injured. The Hazel-Atlas glass plant was flattened and 70 blocks were leveled. Two days later, the same area was flooded by the Chikaskia River.

On May 27, the new sirens were set off for the first time in Ponca City, due to a tornado alert. The alert lasted more than ten hours.

In June, President Eisenhower declared Kay County a disaster area, and granted $125,000 for tornado damage. Directors of city civil defense reappraised the tornado warning system and determined that, in the future, sirens and whistles would be blown intermittently instead of continually, and the all-clear signal would be three short blasts repeated at intervals.

Bill Maugans of the local tornado warning center announced that Ponca City was in line to receive a $50,000 radar storm spotter.

Police Chief Don Thurber began recruiting a city auxiliary police company of volunteers to function in a disaster or emergency.

Zales Jewelry bought Stanley’s Jewelers, a store founded in Ponca City in 1897.

Speeches and a tournament opened the 9-hole Municipal Golf Course.

Board of Education members adopted a modified plan of integration at a special meeting in July. Negro junior and senior high school students could enroll on a volunteer basis at Ponca City junior high or senior high. Attucks Junior-Senior High School was to operate through 1956. At the beginning of the 1956-57 terms, Attucks would be only an elementary school, first through sixth grades.

American Business Club challenged the Jaycees to a whisker contest to begin August 1 for the Cherokee Strip celebration in September.

City commissioners approved a $1.975 million budget for the new fiscal year, the biggest ever passed. All city employees received a 4% raise.

There were 754 children who received their second Salk polio vaccine shots, representing 58% of the children eligible.

On July 31, Mrs. Lydie Marland, widow of the late E.W. Marland, was declared missing. She had left Ponca City in 1953 and reportedly had not been seen since. In August, a motel owner in Independence, Mo. said Mrs. Marland had stayed there several months.

In August, fresh cool water from 30 of the 57 new water wells was flowing to the settling basin at the Main pump station. The wells could pump up to 300 gallons per minute. City officials announced a 15% discount on residential use of water for trees and lawns only.

Cities Service announced the $5 million expansion at their local refinery.

The Ponca City Library was air conditioned at a cost of $10,000. The library had 31,340 books. The 480 readers in the library Vacation Reading Club read almost 7,000 books. Mrs. Gertrude Sterba, city librarian, donated duplicate books to Brazil.

The Home Builders Assn. opened 35 new homes at the Parade of Homes in September.

Final plans were approved for the new Liberty Elementary School and an addition to the Junior High School.

The Cherokee Strip Celebration in September was bigger than ever before. A pageant with 300 people in the cast was held at Lake Ponca for three nights. There were 41 ladies entered in the queen contest. Ila Slavin, 18, won, and received a 4-day all expense paid trip to Kansas City, plus a $500 wardrobe. The long parade featured drill units from Oklahoma City, a six-hitch white pony team, and Tulsa’s Shrine Mounted Drill Team with 21 purebred Palominos plus many local floats.

The Rev. Evans Moseley of First Baptist Church was named official chaplain for the jail.

Ponca City’s Arkalalah queen candidate was Miss Sue Cooper (Ziegenhain).

Fishing, boating and hunting areas at Lake Ponca were set up as duck season opened with 100 hunters on hand.

The new $80,000 armory in Dan Moran Park was dedicated in November.

Several employees of the Ponca City News were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for its news and picture coverage of the Blackwell tornado May 25. The Associated Press Managing Editors Assn. also honored the newspaper staff.

David Richards, Wildcats football back, won a spot on the 1955 Tulsa all-state squad.

The Wildcats played Bartlesville on December 13, swamping them 58-41. It was the first time the two teams had played one another since the Korean War.

The Ponca City Hospital received a $49,700 grant from the Ford Foundation.