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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1961

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1961 — Work began to prepare the municipal power plant for the new generating unit. Seven tons of concrete were blasted from the old base to be replaced with a new base to hold the 5800 kilowatt generator.

The city limits was extended to include 15 acres at the northwest edge of town, west of Ash and south of Hartford. On the northeast side, the Woodlands subdivision was brought into the city, adding 144 acres.

Signal lights were installed at 14th and Hartford.

In a special election, voters approved the north seven acres of War Memorial Park for the location of the Hutchins Memorial.

Representatives of the V.F.W. and owners of property near Wentz Camp met with city commissioners to discuss the possibility of getting city treated water.

In March, supporters of the Kaw Dam and reservoir attended a meeting in Tulsa of the Arkansas Basin Development Assn. The governors of Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma were present.

Conoco announced they would build a $775,000 three-story building to house the new central computer department and process center.

A gas accumulation in a muffler at the municipal electric plant was blamed for an explosion that rocked the northwest portion of the city. Damage was estimated at $5000.

On May 1, Jack Mertz took the oath of office as city commissioner of public property, replacing Perry Whiting.

E.M. Trout was elected president of the board of education. He had been a member for 33 years and president since 1942.

L.W. (Brownie) Brown was appointed Lake Ponca patrolman.

The Traffic Authority recommended that traffic lights be installed at South Ave. and Seventh Street. They also requested “No Parking” signs in the 100 block of South Fifth St.

Construction began on the first segment of a new road on the west side of Lake Ponca.

Members of the Hon-Pe-Aika (Moccasin people) interpretive Indian dancers of Wichita stopped at Ponca City on a canoe trip down the Arkansas River. They were headed to Ft. Gibson. They presented Mayor Jennings with a letter from the Wichita mayor, publicizing the Kansas Centennial Celebration.

An anonymous phone call to WBBZ resulted in the recovery of 120 sticks of dynamite. The badly decomposed explosives were pulled from rock crevices near a quarry a mile from Uncas. The dynamite was believed to have been stolen about a year ago.

The Public Health Service area office in Dallas approved final plans and bids for the $1.6 million addition to the Ponca City hospital. Groundbreaking was set for June 25.

Francis Eagle, grandson of Chief White Eagle, was named chairman of the 1961 Ponca Indian Pow-Wow.

On July 1, Robert I. Spray announced his purchase of Spray’s Jewelry and Gifts at 210 E. Grand. He had been manager for 16 years.

Kay County’s unemployment rate was reported lowest of any of Oklahoma’s major labor markets, with 19,000 working and 725 jobless.

Southwestern Bell completed delivery of 14,838 new telephone directories.

Kay County’s assessed valuation was $75,578,600, third highest in the state. Only Oklahoma and Tulsa counties had higher valuations.

Work was underway at Lake Ponca Park to provide fishing for children in one of the small lakes. City workmen cleaned out the lake after it was drained, and stocked it with catfish, bass, perch and crappie.

On August 11, Mayor Jennings threw the control panel switch to activate the huge Nordberg engine that powered the new 5,800-kilowatt generator at the power plant.

In 1961, a new rodeo site was selected — 11 1/2 acres owned by the city just east of Darr School at the intersection of West Prospect and the extension of North Ash. This site remains the location of the annual rodeo today.

A crowd of over 5000 attended the first night’s rodeo performance. The parade had over 10,000 spectators. Gabby Hayes, “old timer” cowboy movie star was here for the 3-day event.

Henry Bellmon, Republican state chairman, affirmed that he would be a candidate for governor in 1962.

There were 7,000 people at a Kaw Dam rally in October. Senator Kerr was the primary speaker. He assured the crowd that authorization of the Kaw Reservoir would come in 1962.

The city annexed an area of 240 acres, north of Hartford Ave. and east of 14th Street.

The Felician Sisters at Assumption Villa began a $120,000 construction project for an administration building, new chapel, and novitiate house.

In December, fire destroyed the upper portion of the Woolworth store. A short in an air conditioner wire apparently started the fire. Estimated loss was $100,000, as all stock and fixtures were destroyed. Adjoining businesses, Frohlich’s and Zale’s, had only water damage.

On December 13, the Army Corps of Engineers officially recommended construction of the $78 million reservoir on the Arkansas River. Congressional approval was needed before actual construction could begin, and a spokesman estimated that could take five years.