Ada City Hall
Location in the state of Oklahoma
|• Type||City Council|
|• Mayor||Tre Landrum|
|• Total||19.81 sq mi (51.31 km2)|
|• Land||19.75 sq mi (51.16 km2)|
|• Water||0.06 sq mi (0.15 km2) 0%|
|Elevation||1,010 ft (308 m)|
|• Density||874.20/sq mi (337.53/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1089523|
Ada is a city in and the county seat of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, United States.The population was 16,810 at the 2010 census, an increase of 7.1 percent from 15,691 at the 2000 census. The city was named for Ada Reed, the daughter of an early settler, and was incorporated in 1901. Ada is home to East Central University, and is the headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation.
Ada is an Oklahoma Main Street City, an Oklahoma Certified City, and a Tree City USA member.
In the late 1880s, the Daggs family (by way of Texas) became the first white family to settle what is now known as Ada, which was formerly known as Daggs Prairie. In April 1889, Jeff Reed (a native Texan and relative of the Daggs family) was appointed to carry the mail from Stonewall to Center (which was later combined with Pickett), two small communities in then Indian Territory. With his family and his stock, he sought a place for a home on a prairie midway between the two points, where he constructed a log house and started Reed's Store. Other settlers soon built homes nearby. In 1891, a post office was established and named after Reed's oldest daughter, Ada.Ada incorporated as a city in 1901 and grew rapidly with the arrival of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway line. Within a decade the Santa Fe Railroad and the Oklahoma Central Railway also served the town.
Ada was originally a sundown town, where African Americans were not allowed to live. In the 1900s, the town was opened up to African Americans so that black witnesses could stay while testifying in district court. Despite a violent episode in 1904, the town remained open to African Americans to provide labor for a local cotton compress.
In 1909, the women of Ada organized an effort to build a normal school in their city. It resulted in the founding of East Central College (now East Central University).
On April 19, 1909, an organized mob hanged four men, among whom was American outlaw Deacon Jim Miller, who was set to be tried for the murder of a former U.S. marshal and member of the local freemason lodge.The town had a population of about 5,000 at the time, and 38 murders a year at the time of the lynching. The Daily Ardmoreite reported that the four lynched men were "one of the bloodiest band of murderers in the state of Oklahoma and an organization of professional assassins, that for a record of blood crimes, probably has no equal in the annals of criminal history in the entire southwest."
The first manufacturing company in Ada, the Portland Cement Company, installed the first cement clinker in Oklahoma in 1910. American Glass Casket Company began manufacturing glass caskets in 1916, but the business failed. Hazel Atlas Glass bought the plant in 1928 and produced glass products until 1991.
The following sites in Ada are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
Ada is located in the rolling hills of southeastern Oklahoma. Ada is 88 miles (142 km) from Oklahoma City, 122 mi (196 km) from Tulsa, and 133 mi (214 km) from Dallas, Texas.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.8 square miles (40.9 km2), of which 15.7 square miles (40.7 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.44%) is water.
|Climate data for Ada, Oklahoma|
|Record high °F (°C)||84|
|Average high °F (°C)||51|
|Average low °F (°C)||30|
|Record low °F (°C)||−10|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.1|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||2.7|
As of the 2010 census, Ada's 16,810 residents consisted of 6,697 households and 3,803 families. The population density was 999.3 people per square mile (385.9/km²). The 7,862 housing units were dispersed at an average density of 475.9 per square mile (183.8/km²). Ada's 2006 racial makeup was 73.81% White, 3.54% African American, 15.10% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races, and 5.81% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.89% of the population.
Of Ada's 6,697 households, 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. The 15.8% of those 65 years or older living alone made up a substantial portion of the 37.1% single-person households. Average household size was 2.20 persons; average family size was 2.91.
The age breakdown in 2006 was 22.3% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% aged 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females aged 18 or over, there were 84.5 males, while for all ages, there were 100 females for every 88.4 males.
Median household income was $22,977, while median family income was $31,805. Males had a median income of $25,223 versus $17,688 for females. Ada's per capita income was $14,666. Some 14.8% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.8% of those under 18 and 11.4% of those 65 or over.
An estimated 2,000-3,000 residents speak the Chickasaw language.
The economy of Ada is diversified. In the mid and late 20th century, the town was a manufacturing center, producing products such as Wrangler jeans, auto parts, cement and concrete, plasticware, and other products. Since the start of the 21st century, manufacturers have made major investments in expansions and new technology.
In 1975, the Chickasaw Nation opened its headquarters in Ada.Revenues for the Nation were over 12 billion dollars in 2011, most of which is funneled through Ada. The Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center, a large water research lab staffed by the Environmental Protection Agency, opened in 1966. LegalShield, a multi-level marketing provider of pre-paid legal services, is headquartered in the city. Oil and natural gas are still very much a part of the regional economy.
The largest employers in the region are the following:
East Central University, located in Ada, is a public four-year institution that has been in operation since 1909. ECU serves roughly 4,500 students and is perhaps best known internationally for its cartography program, as only a few such programs exist. ECU is also home to an Environmental Health Science Program, one of only 30 programs nationally accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).
Ada Public Schools has six primary and secondary schools.
Latta Public Schools has 1 high school in Ada: Latta High School
Pontotoc Technology Center (formerly Pontotoc Area Vo-Tech) is located in Ada.
Major highways are:
Rail Freight is serviced by BNSF
Because of its short, palindromic spelling with frequently used letters, Ada is a very common crossword puzzle answer. Associated clues often include "Oklahoma city", "Oklahoma palindrome", and "Sooner State city."
In 2006, a true crime book by author John Grisham brought Ada into the national spotlight by relating various false convictions and imprisonments resulting from two unconnected murder trials. Two men had been tried and convicted of the murder of Debra Sue "Debbie" Carter. After twelve years on death row, DNA evidence proved the men's innocence and established the guilt of the prosecution's main witness. Similar problems surrounded the trials of the two men convicted for the murder of Denice Haraway. Two of the books examining these cases are The Dreams of Ada (1987) by Robert Mayer and The Innocent Man , Grisham's first non-fiction book. Accounts from both books suggest major flaws, irregularities, and outright miscarriages of justice including forced and made-up confessions by the police and prosecutors. Prosecutor Bill Peterson has self-published his disagreements with Grisham's version of events.
Pontotoc County is in the south central part of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,492. Its county seat is Ada. The county was created at statehood from part of the Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory. It was named for a historic Chickasaw tribal area in Mississippi. According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Pontotoc is usually translated "cattail prairie" or "land of hanging grapes."
Murray County is a county located in the southern part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,488. This is a 6.9 percent increase from 12,623 at the 2000 census. The county seat is Sulphur. The county was named for William H. Murray, a member and president of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention and later a Governor of Oklahoma.
McClain County is a county located in south central Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 34,506. Its county seat is Purcell. The county was named for Charles M. McClain, an Oklahoma constitutional convention attendee.
Johnston County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,957. Its county seat is Tishomingo. It was established at statehood on November 16, 1907 and named for Douglas H. Johnston, a governor of the Chickasaw Nation.
DeSoto County is a county located on the northwest border of the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 161,252, making it the third-most populous county in Mississippi. Its county seat is Hernando.
Pontotoc is a city in, and the county seat of, Pontotoc County, Mississippi, located to the west of the much larger city of Tupelo. The population was 5,625 at the 2010 census.
Pauls Valley is a city in and the county seat of Garvin County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 6,187 at the 2010 census, a decline of 1.1 percent from 6,256 at the 2000 census. It was settled by and named for Smith Paul, a North Carolina native who married a Chickasaw woman and became a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation before the Civil War. The town economy is largely based on agriculture and oil production.
Chickasha is a city in and the county seat of Grady County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 16,036 at the 2010 census. Chickasha is home to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. The city is named for and strongly connected to Native American heritage, as "Chickasha" (Chikashsha) is the Choctaw word for Chickasaw.
Tishomingo is the largest city and the county seat of Johnston County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 3,034 at the 2010 census, a decline of 4.1 percent from 3,162 at the 2000 census. It was the first capital of the Chickasaw Nation, from 1856 until Oklahoma statehood in 1907. The city is home to Murray State College, a community college with an annual enrollment of 3,015 students. Tishomingo is part of the Texoma region.
Sulphur is a city in and county seat of Murray County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 4,929 at the 2010 census, a 3.4 percent gain from 4,794 at the 2000 census. The area around Sulphur has been noted for its mineral springs, since well before the city was founded late in the 19th century. The city received its name from the presence of sulfur in the water.
Stonewall is a town in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, United States. Named for Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, the settlement's post office was established in December, 1874.
Asher is a town in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 393 at the 2010 census, a decline of 6.2 percent from 419 at the 2000 census.
Purcell is a city in and the county seat of McClain County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,884.
East Central University is a public university in Ada, Oklahoma. It is part of Oklahoma's Regional University System. Beyond its flagship campus in Ada, the university has courses available in McAlester, Shawnee, and Durant, as well as online courses. Founded as East Central State Normal School in 1909, its present name was adopted in 1985. Some of its more prominent alumni include former Microsoft COO B. Kevin Turner, Modernist painter Leon Polk Smith, former NFL player Mark Gastineau, past governors Robert S. Kerr and George Nigh, former U.S. Representative Lyle Boren, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Tom Colbert, and U.S. Army General James D. Thurman.
The Chickasaw Nation is a federally recognized Native American nation, located in Oklahoma in the United States. The Chickasaw Nation originated in its homeland of the American Southeast, with territory in what is defined as modern-day Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky.
The Chickasaw Turnpike is a short toll road in the rural south central region of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. A two-lane freeway, it stretches for 13.3 miles (21.4 km) from north of Sulphur to just south of Ada. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) owns, maintains, and collects tolls on the turnpike. The first section of the Chickasaw Turnpike opened on September 1, 1991.
Bill Anoatubby is the Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, a position he has held since 1987. From 1979 to 1987, Anoatubby served two terms as Lieutenant Governor of the Chickasaw Nation in the administration of Governor Overton James.
The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town is a 2006 true crime book by John Grisham, his only nonfiction title as of 2020. The book tells the story of Ronald 'Ron' Keith Williamson of Ada, Oklahoma, a former minor league baseball player who was wrongly convicted in 1988 of the rape and murder of Debra Sue Carter in Ada and was sentenced to death. After serving 11 years on death row, he was exonerated by DNA evidence and other material introduced by the Innocence Project and was released in 1999.
Ronald Keith Williamson was a former minor league baseball catcher/pitcher who was one of two men wrongly convicted in 1988 in Oklahoma for the rape and murder of Debra Sue "Debbie" Carter. His friend Dennis Fritz was sentenced to life imprisonment, while Williamson was sentenced to death. Both were released 11 years later when DNA evidence proved their innocence. Their story became the subject of bestselling author John Grisham's first nonfiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, and the adapted Netflix docu-series of the same name.
South Central Oklahoma is an amorphous region in the state of Oklahoma, perhaps encompassing 10 counties. It is centered on the Arbuckle Mountains, an ancient, eroded range traversing some 70 miles (110 km) across the region, and surrounded by rivers and lakes, notably Lake Texoma, Lake Murray and Lake of the Arbuckles. For tourism purposes, the Oklahoma Department of Tourism has more narrowly defined South Central Oklahoma, which they refer to as Chickasaw Country, as being a seven-county region including Pontotoc, Johnston, Marshall, Garvin, Murray, Carter, and Love counties. A ten-county definition might also include Coal, Atoka, and Bryan counties, although the Department of Tourism includes those in Choctaw Country. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma covers the eastern third of the region. Its headquarters is in Durant, and its capitol building, now a museum, is in Tuskahoma. The Chickasaw Nation lies within the region, with the tribal capitol building located at Tishomingo and its headquarters in Ada. The Chickasaw Nation, which runs "Chickasawcountry.com"., promotes the idea of Chickasaw Country as the 13 south-central Oklahoma counties that comprise the Chickasaw Nation, being the Tourism Department’s seven counties plus Coal, Bryan, Jefferson, Stephens, Grady, and McClain counties.
Until recently the people of Ada, a town of 300, have refused to allow negroes to reside within the corporation. As district court is held there it became necessary to secure some place where negro witnesses might stay during the session. Judge Townsend induced the people to allow a negro restaurant to be established. Following this barber shops, stores and hotels were put up by negroes. Notices were served on these people by unknown parties that unless they left the town immediately they must suffer the consequences. They refused to leave and last night a negro restaurant was blown up by dynamite and an occupant of the building seriously injured. ... As a cotton compress is to begin operations here next fall considerable negro labor will be required, and most citizens now believe negroes should be allowed to live there.
Unknown parties dynamited the house of Lum Williams, seriously injuring one negro and demolishing the building. The negroes occupying the house had been warned several times not to let the sun go down on them in Ada. The card of warning was signed 'Old Danger.' Heretofore negroes were not allowed to live in Ada, and these were only allowed to stay to accomodate[ sic ] the negroes attending court. After court they refused to leave.
Now in Durant and other towns in the Central District, and for that matter, in Holdenville, Ada and other towns in the territory notices had been posted for the Negroes not to let the sun go down on them in said towns.
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