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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.

1975 — Construction of the new bridge over the Arkansas River at Kaw City was completed in January. The 1,366 foot long bridge was 100 feet above the riverbed. The structure cost $1,287,670. Work on the bridge had begun in September, 1972.

Ten new car dealers presented a mid-winter Open Air Show at Ponca Plaza in January. There were 75 new cars on display for public viewing, daylight to dark. No salesmen were present for the showing. Dealers participating were Sutton, Bowker, Randall, Cannon, Whitlock, Coons, Murphy, Hastings, and Stevens.

Graduation exercises were held for the first class of licensed practical nurses at Pioneer Area Vo-Tech.

Construction of the indoor Community Swimming Pool began on January 14. The final cost estimate was $577,363.

Ray Falconer received the Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Heritage Association for preserving his collection of old negatives and glass plates of early day Oklahoma photographs.

Allan Muchmore was named “Outstanding Citizen” at the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet. He was co-owner and business manager of the Ponca City News and managing partner of WBBZ Radio.

Conoco donated $2500 to the city for a study to determine the feasibility of purchasing the Marland Mansion.

The Wildcat wrestling team finished their dual-meet season with a 11-0 season and a 4-0 conference mark. It was their first undefeated, untied season. State champions were Bruce Horton and Kelsy Lynes. Bob Wilson was Coach.

Ponca City Savings and Loan announced a new name…Frontier Federal Savings and Loan. They were planning a new building in the near future.

Ponca City Conoco union refinery workers went on strike on March 1, but the refinery continued to operate with supervisory and technical personnel.

Dr. John Robinson, local dentist, and chairman of the Planning Commission, announced he would seek the City Commission post being vacated by Charles Hollar. Willie Davis Jr., Conoco employee, and Lebern Showalter, also announced their candidacy. Commissioner Bob Friday said he would seek re-election. Roy Ramsey filed as a candidate for Friday’s position. He was a former plumbing inspector for the city.

“That Championship Season,” Ponca Playhouse’s entry in the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association bi-annual festival, won first place in the state.

In March, there were 700 students from 42 schools on the Po-Hi campus for the first annual Ponca City High School Speech Tournament.

Bob Ford was named Assistant School Superintendent, a newly created position. His duties included director of secondary education and athletics. He had been High School principal for ten years.

On March 14, there were 17 truck and tractor vehicles lined up at the airport, ready to deliver vibroseis units to Texas, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. Manufactured by Mertz Iron and Machine, 13 of the units were equipped with electronic equipment furnished by Pelco.

The city received a new green 1,500 gallon-per-minute pumper for the fire department.

Commissioners passed an ordinance that required all collected yard trimmings to be placed in suitable containers and all brush and tree trimmings be cut in reasonable lengths and piled at the edge of the alley or curb.

By March 19, construction of the spillway at the Kaw Dam, first stage of the powerhouse, and completion of the embankment was about 90% complete. Kaw Dam was 80% complete overall.

John Raley, Ponca City attorney, was notified he had been promoted to captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

The city authorized the purchase of 121 pairs of coveralls for the fire department.

Col. William V. Cox, founder of the Ponca Military Academy, died in late March, only 10 months after he had permanently closed the school.

Larry Stephenson, Bicentennial Commission chairman, and his committee announced the projects planned for 1975 and 1976. Cheryl Fletcher was handling plans for the presentation of the Bicentennial flag. The Park Department was creating a United States flag of living plants. They also planted 76 redbud trees throughout the city as a lasting tribute to the celebration. Bob Westmoreland and Truman Smith were making a film of “Bride of the Morning Star,” and a slide presentation of a tour through the Marland Mansion.

In the City Commission election, Dr. John Robinson won a decisive victory over his two opponents. Bob Friday was returned to office by a 2-to-1 vote. Both were elected to three-year terms.

Conoco donated a matched, hand-carved set of office furniture, owned by former Oklahoma Governor E.W. Marland, to the state. Governor Boren said he would use the desk for formal signing of major legislation and proclamations.

Certified members of the Ponca Indian Tribe of Oklahoma received checks for their share of claims against the U.S. Government. Checks of $1146.92 were distributed to each certified member of the tribe.

Bill Hicks was named principal of Ponca City High School. He had been assistant superintendent of Blackwell schools.

In April, five citizens were featured on a Denver television newscast. Mr. and Mrs. Terry Franklin, Mr. and Mrs. Lester Freeman, and Mrs. Ann Bandy were returning from a skiing vacation in Breckenridge when they got caught in a mountain blizzard. While Franklin drove, the rest of the group pushed Mrs. Bandy’s car up the mountain. A television crew captured the slow, and at times not so sure, ascent on film. The nearly frozen bunch made it back to Denver safely, just in time to watch their television debut.

The Cimarron Turnpike officially opened for traffic on May 16.

Glenn Paris and Sons Furniture Store celebrated their 35th Anniversary.

Jeanne Fanning became the owner of the Pioneer Credit Adjustment Co. and Pioneer Personnel Service.

Joseph Dannenmaier was one of 1,000 high school seniors in the nation awarded a National Merit Scholarship.

Close to 500 people attended the ceremony beginning Ponca City’s observance of the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Ponca City Art Association held their first annual Arts Festival on the grounds of the Art Center on May 24 and 25. Over 100 artists from four states pre-registered for the event. They were competing for nearly $3000 in prize money and purchase awards.

The City reached an agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Highways to widen 14th Street into five lanes, with the center lane used as a turning lane.

The Wildcat Volleyball Team, coached by Lloyd Gelmers, captured the state title for the sixth time in seven years.

Kay County Sheriff Norman Coffelt was named Ponca City’s new chief of police. Chief Forrest Walker had earlier announced his retirement.

Dedication and Open House for the new $10 million addition was held at the expanded facilities of the hospital, which also had a new name…St. Joseph Medical Center.

Po-Hi Chorale was selected best overall mixed chorus in Oklahoma State Class 4A competition.

Stan Hoffmeyer, sixth grade teacher at Liberty Elementary, was named Teacher of the Year.

On May 19, the first of five 78-foot wooden ceiling beams, which would span the Community Swimming Pool building, was lifted into place.

On June 3, Frontier Federal Savings & Loan held groundbreaking ceremonies for their new home office building at Fifth Street and Oklahoma. Gov. David Boren was principal speaker. While in Ponca City, Boren also toured the Kaw Dam site in a helicopter.

H&N Sporting goods opened at 123 N. Third in June. Owners were Mr. and Mrs. Larry Harrison and Mr. and Mrs. Larry Noel.

The High School Athletic Coaches Association honored Wally Smith, Po Hi tennis coach, as National Coach of the Year. His boys team were state champions, and the girls were runners-up.

On June 23, the OCAW Union at Conoco returned to work following a 118-day strike.

In July, Lydie Marland returned to Ponca City. She had been away since 1953, and was now 75 years old.

First National Bank began an expansion project to include three adjoining buildings to their present facility, which would add 5,000 square feet to the existing 10,000 foot structure. The three buildings housed the Capri Theatre, Dene’s Stork Shop and the Wetzel Building, formerly occupied by Whiting Furniture.

In her will, Mrs. Elsie Cann Brown left the Cann Estate at 14th and Grand to the city including ten acres of land for a park and gardens in memory of her father and mother, Lester and Mary Cann. She also bequeathed a trust fund to the city for improvements and upkeep of the estate.

The City approved a six-month agreement for Kay County to use the city’s sanitary landfill for solid waste disposal. The County had become concerned about rural residents dumping trash along the sides of roadways. The County was to pay the City $100 per month.

Within a three week period in August, close to 30,000 visitors toured the Marland Estate. It was the first time the general public had seen the mansion. Tourists came from Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Nevada, and Louisiana. Three chartered buses came from Tulsa. Some came from New York and Chicago, flying in for the event. During the following week, local school children visited the estate.

Lee Drake Homes began constructing homes at the new Stoneridge addition.

In September, Ponca City Publishing held an Open House at their new newspaper plant at Third Street and Chestnut.

On September 16, the citizens of Ponca City voted to purchase the Marland Estate for $1,435,000. The Felician Sisters had purchased it for $1,500,000 in 1948. Half the price was to be paid with a one-cent sales tax, in effect for two years. Conoco donated the other half.

On September 26 and 27, a local cast of 140 presented “That’s the Spirit,” a fast-paced follies that told the story of America in its songs and dances. Sponsored by the Bicentennial Commission, the show raised $6000 to support the multiple activities that were planned.

City Commissioners voted to annex the Country Club, the former Ponca Military Academy and the American Legion Home properties into the city limits.

In October, the Ponca City Housing Authority auctioned off 8 residences on the block bounded by 2nd and 3rd Streets and Broadway and Hazel to provide space for a proposed high rise low rent facility for the elderly. Ex-mayor Curtis Hall’s house at 402 N. 3rd was razed.

Gregg’s True Value Hardware opened for business at 601 W. Highland in the old Leonard Grocery store.

More than 10,000 Conocoans attended the Continental Oil Co. Centennial Celebration on Oct. 11 at the Municipal Airport. Pioneer Bank featured a historic display of Marland Oil items and publications.

Ponca City Downtown, Inc., a group of local businessmen, purchased the Jens Marie Hotel at a sheriff’s auction for $79,000.

In October, Kay County Commissioners approved $29,465 to remodel the county jail. The cost did not include plumbing work.

Walt Harris exhibited his 24 paintings that were created for “Bride of the Morning Star” at the Art Center.

City Commissioners authorized a special bond election of $1.4 million to construct a new police station, city jail, administrative offices, and emergency operation center. It would have a courtroom that would also be a city meeting room. The issue passed in November.

Beginning November 3, residents had to dial the “76” that began each phone number. Dialing only five digits would give them a busy signal.

United Way raised a record $283,939, using a Bicentennial theme and involving many city organizations. Warren Jensen was campaign chairman.

On December 1, the City of Ponca City assumed control of the Marland Mansion property.

A Lew Wentz Memorial Clubhouse at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course was proposed. Wentz had bequeathed the property to the city prior to his death.

Building permits in October for new homes and three new apartment buildings amounted to $1.1 million.

Ponca City High School held an open house and dedication of the new Fieldhouse.

A bronze statue of Bill Pickett, famous bulldogger, commissioned by the Rodeo Foundation, was presented to the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City on December 11.

Wildcat Girls basketball team won the championship at the Bartlesville Invitational Tournament, and ran their perfect record to 10-0.