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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1960

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1960 — Continental Oil announced that they would construct a million dollar petrochemical plant, with an annual capacity of more than 20 million gallons of cyclohexane, which is used primarily as a raw material in the manufacture of nylon.

The Red Cross Blood Bank announced plans to provide donors for open-heart surgery patients.

The Ponca City Traffic Authority approved a plan to limit traffic around the Pioneer Woman Monument to one way.

Vern and William Eubank, co-owners of the new Ben Franklin Store, held a three-day grand opening.

Ponca City’s Jerrie Cobb received the 1959 “Woman of the Year in Aviation” trophy. She also was selected as one of twelve candidates to be the first woman in space.

A new Photostat machine was installed at the police department to make accurate copies of bogus checks, mug shots, fingerprints and accident reports.

Five Po-Hi seniors were named finalists in the 1959-60 National Merit Scholarship competition: Marilyn Clark, Delores Kester, Karen Padgett, Stephen Wittmer, and Boyd Christensen.

Construction began on West Junior High. The board of education decided to amend the plans and build a storm shelter under the auditorium.

Lee Knight, traffic engineer, announced that right turns on red lights after stop would go into effect at almost all of the city’s signalized intersections. The first intersection with the new signs was Cleveland and Central.

On February 24, more than 1700 Northern Oklahoma citizens went to the Capitol to plead with Gov. Edmondson to “Fix Highway 60 in ’60.”

The Ponca City Wildcat wrestling team walked away with their second straight state championship.

A group of Ponca City bankers and businessmen purchased the entire capital stock of First National Bank of Kaw City.

About 300 high school students participated in the 1960 Pon-Dram Panic and 50 more helped in the planning and preparation of the all-school production, “Thoro-Fair.”

A new historic marker was installed Cowboy Hill just south of the Salt Fork River on U.S. 77, honoring the 101 Ranch.

Scores of youngsters thronged to Lake Ponca Park to hunt for 17,000 Easter eggs hidden by members of American Business Club.

There were 400 American Legion and Auxiliary members registered for the 33rd annual Home School Day that was highlighted by the opening of the new $72,900 dining hall at the Legion Home School.

As the only CONELRAD station in North Central Oklahoma, WBBZ furnished area residents with Civil Defense information for 30 minutes on May 3rd, when all other AM and FM radio stations and TV stations were off the air.

Ponca City’s 1960 unofficial preliminary census population was 24,266. The Census Bureau reported that the number of housing units had increased 25% since 1950.

Ponca City’s beauty shop operators won their battle for the right to operate shops in residential areas.

Members of the Planning Commission unanimously approved the location of the Hutchins Memorial in North Park. Mr. Hutchins’ widow left $500,000 in her will for a tribute to her husband, and the city contributed $75,000. Plans were made to landscape a portion of the north end of North Park to enhance the new building. City commissioners approved the contract with John D. Forsyth, Tulsa architect, for drawings of the building.

Gordon Holland purchased Dreyfus Janitor Supply in May. He had managed the C.R. Anthony store for ten years.

In June, Mayor Jennings, and new city commissioners Clark and Whiting approved Maurice H. DeFord Jr. as municipal judge, Marland Johnson as city attorney, and Ralph Bowman as city treasurer.

Jack Bowker, owner of the Jack Bowker Ford Co. in Blackwell, purchased the Parkinson Motor Company from Ted Parkinson.

Ponca City Jaycees launched a safety campaign by painting orange “X” marks on city streets at locations of personal injury traffic accidents.

Tents spotted the pageant area at Lake Ponca in late June as 16 local amateur radio operators began a 24-hour test under simulated disaster conditions. During the around-the-clock operation, they contacted many other stations in and outside of the U.S.

Oklahoma Natural Gas introduced an artificial odor into gas lines to aid users in detecting leaks.

In July, Conoco announced plans for a $2.5 million expansion of the research and development facilities in Ponca City. Plans were to double the size of the main research lab and add 135 scientific personnel in the next five years.

More than 1500 people signed a petition calling for an election to amend the city charter. The amendment would restrict the use of parks within the city limits.

Ponca City Traffic Authority approved plans to install a drive-up mail deposit box and a drop-in box for payment of city bills on 6th Street, just east of the Civic Center.

Merchants sponsored the city’s first “Crazy Days,” which was like a sidewalk sale. Employees dressed in bizarre costumes and sold merchandise at bargain prices.

Former Po-Hi and OSU wrestling stars, Doug Blubaugh and Shelby Wilson were named to the U.S. Olympic team. They each won gold medals in welterweight and lightweight wrestling in the Rome Olympics. A special welcome home was September 15 - “Wilson-Blubaugh Day.” Dignitaries included Lt. Gov. George Nigh, Allan Muchmore, Chamber of Commerce president, Mayor Jennings, and coaches who had worked with the Olympian winners, plus about 2,000 fans.

Allan W. Muchmore, president of the chamber of commerce appointed Scott Hancock as president of the Ponca City Rodeo Foundation, a subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce formed for the purpose of promoting and sponsoring rodeo here. Members appointed to the first board were Scott Hancock, Harry Hayman, vice president, Glen Hickman, Paul Northcutt, Melvin Ford and Bethel Freeman Jr. Leon Nelson, city manager, is the seventh member.

It was determined that the site of the Cherokee Strip Celebration rodeo, would be just north of the Agriculture Building on West Hartford. (The present location of The Ponca City Park's and Recreation office.) Leon Nelson, city manager, said city commissioners approved the location during a meeting with the chamber committees making plans for the RCA approved show. Nelson estimated that the fenced area will be about 200 by 300 feet.

Glenn W. Peel, rancher and oilman, was elected wagon train boss for the 101 Ranch Memorial Trail Ride. It started at the Kansas line and wound up in Ponca City on opening night of the Cherokee Strip Rodeo in September.

On the opening night of the RCA world championship rodeo in August, Mayor Jennings issued a calf-roping challenge to area mayors, including those from Blackwell, Newkirk, Tonkawa, Kaw City, Stillwater, and Perry.

James Garner, movie and TV star, arrived in Ponca City to attend the Cherokee Strip celebration, appear at the rodeo, and ride in the parade. More than 20,000 spectators lined Grand Avenue to watch the three-mile-long rodeo parade. Capacity crowds filled the rodeo arena for three nights. Officials extended the rodeo one more day and held another full performance for ticket holders who couldn’t get a seat for the earlier shows.

In November, Lawrence S. Cannon, president of Kaw Dam and Reservoir Development Assn. was one of four Oklahomans appointed by President-elect Kennedy to the Natural Resources Advisory Committee.

On November 22, Ponca City voters approved an $885,000 bond issue for new generating equipment at the power plant. Voters rejected a proposal to construct a municipal hospital for $575,000, using the memorial money from Mrs. Hutchins.