Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Last updated
Medicine Park, Oklahoma
Town
Nickname(s): "America's First Cobblestone Community"
OKMap-doton-MedicinePark.PNG
Location of Medicine Park, Oklahoma
Coordinates: 34°44′04″N98°28′39″W / 34.7344071°N 98.4776209°W / 34.7344071; -98.4776209
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Comanche
Area
  Total 2.064977 sq mi (5.348265 km2)
  Land 2.015280 sq mi (5.219551 km2)
  Water 0.049697 sq mi (0.128714 km2)
Elevation 1,270 ft (387 m)
Population (2010)
  Total 382
  Density 180/sq mi (71/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 73557
Area code(s) 580
FIPS code 40-47350 [1]
GNIS feature ID 1095292 [2]

Medicine Park is a town in Comanche County, Oklahoma, United States, situated in the Wichita Mountains near the entrance to the 60,000-acre (240 km2) Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. Medicine Park has a long history as a vintage cobblestone resort town. Medicine Park is located near the city of Lawton and Fort Sill. It is an exurb, part of the Lawton Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many of the original structures are constructed of naturally formed cobblestonesthese red granite cobblestones are unique to the Wichita Mountains. The population was 382 at the 2010 census.

Comanche County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Comanche County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 124,098, making it the fourth-most populous county in Oklahoma. Its county seat is Lawton. The county was created in 1901 as part of Oklahoma Territory. It was named for the Comanche tribe.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Wichita Mountains Mountains in the US state Oklahoma

The Wichita Mountains are located in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It is the principal relief system in the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen, being the result of a failed continental rift. The mountains are a northwest-southeast trending series of rocky promontories, many capped by 500 million-year old granite. These were exposed and rounded by weathering during the Pennsylvanian & Permian Periods. The eastern end of the mountains offers 1,000 feet (305 m) of topographic relief in a region otherwise dominated by gently rolling grasslands.

Contents

History

Medicine Park was founded on July 4, 1908, by Elmer Thomas, a young lawyer who had just become a member of the Oklahoma State Senate and would end his career in 1951 as a U.S. senator.

Elmer Thomas American politician

John William Elmer Thomas was a native of Indiana who moved to Oklahoma Territory in 1901, where he practiced law in Lawton. After statehood, he was elected to the first state senate, representing the Lawton area. Representative and a Senator from Oklahoma. In 1922, he ran successfully on the Democratic Party ticket for the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1926; he won this race and held the seat until 1950, when he lost the party nomination to A.S. (Mike) Monroney. Thomas returned to a private law practice in Washington, D.C., and in 1957 moved his practice back to Lawton, where he died in 1965.

In the spring of 1906, five years after the establishment of the Wichita Mountains National Forest, Elmer Thomas envisioned the need not only for a recreational area but for a permanent water source for the newly founded nearby city of Lawton. Over a period of a few years, he and a partner, Hal Lloyd from Altus, Oklahoma, quietly purchased approximately 900 acres (3.6 km2) of what became the cobblestone community of Medicine Park.

Altus, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Altus is a city and the county seat in Jackson County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 19,813 at the 2010 census, a loss of 7.7 percent compared to 21,454 at the 2000 census.

When the resort first opened, it consisted merely of a large surplus Army tent with a wooden floor where hot meals were served. Two dams were constructed on Medicine Creek to form Bath Lake Swimming Hole, and a limited number of campsites were constructed. Over a period of some four years, numerous improvements were added, and the area began to take on the characteristics of a bona fide resort.

About this same time, numerous such resorts were opening near the entries of other newly founded national parks and national forests across the country. With public interest growing in nature, the automobile gave unprecedented access to natural wonders. Resorts began springing up nationwide to provide food, lodging, and entertainment for a new generation of tourists.

Tourists came to Medicine Park from around Oklahoma and North Texas. Soon, there were two inns—the Outside Inn and the Apache Inn (formerly the Press Association Clubhouse) -- Baird’s Health Sanitarium (which featured clay tennis courts and a spa) -- a Dance Hall, The Medicine Park Lodge (atop Mount Dunbar), a Canteen, Petting Zoo, Bath House, General Store, School, Bait Shop, Hydro Electric Power Plant and the infamous Dam Café.Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys (the kings of western swing) became regulars at the Dance Hall from 1929 through the late 1930s. Soon numerous other famous bands of the day made their way through Medicine Park en route to big city venues in Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Fort Worth.

North Texas

North Texas is a term used primarily by residents of Dallas, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas to describe much of the northern portion of the U.S. state of Texas. Residents of the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex generally consider North Texas to include the area south of Oklahoma, east of Abilene, west of Paris, and north of Waco. A more precise term for this region would be the northern part of the central portion of Texas. It does not include the Panhandle of Texas, which expands further north than the region previously described, nor does it include most of the region near the northern border of Texas.

Bob Wills American Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader

James Robert Wills was an American Western swing musician, songwriter, and bandleader. Considered by music authorities as the co-founder of Western swing, he was widely known as the King of Western Swing.

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 643,648 as of July 2017. As of 2018, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area.

The entire Bath Lake Park was landscaped with beautiful gardens, large trees, foot bridges, and grassy areas for visitors to lounge around, sunbathe and enjoy the natural beauty. The area flourished during the late teens to the 1940s as the “Jewel of the Southwest.”

The nearby Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and Lake Lawtonka attracted thousands of people each weekend and throughout the seasons. Medicine Park became the “playground” for the state’s rich, famous and notorious. Outlaws and horse thieves mixed with noted politicians and businessmen, soldiers and officers from Fort Sill, families, and socialites in the new cobblestone community. The pages of the town’s colorful history are filled with such figures as Will Rogers, Wiley Post, Frank Phillips, Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Colonel Jack Abernathy, Les Brown, Roy Rogers, and Dale Evans. [3]

Lake Lawtonka lake of the United States of America

Lake Lawtonka is a lake in Comanche County in the state of Oklahoma in the United States.

Will Rogers American humorist and entertainer

William Penn Adair Rogers was an American stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, American cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator from Oklahoma. He was a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

Wiley Post American aviator; first pilot to fly solo around the world

Wiley Hardeman Post was a famed American aviator during the interwar period, the first pilot to fly solo around the world. Also known for his work in high-altitude flying, Post helped develop one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream. On August 15, 1935, Post and American humorist Will Rogers were killed when Post's aircraft crashed on takeoff from a lagoon near Point Barrow in the Territory of Alaska.

An Oklahoma television station reported on June 13, 2018 that Expedia had named Medicine Park as "... the fifth prettiest town in the U.S." [4]

Expedia.com is a travel booking website owned by Expedia Group. The website can be used to book airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages.

People of Interest

Elmer Thomas, the founder of Medicine Park, served in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1907 to 1920, was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1923 to 1927 and a United States senator from 1927 until 1951.

In the early 1960s, Rex and Ruby “Grandma” Leath purchased from the Texas Land Company the building that was originally constructed as The Outside Inn in 1910 and later called The Grand Hotel. They renamed it The Old Plantation Restaurant. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The restaurant was known for its burgers, catfish, huge sirloin steaks, and rolls. Rex could always be found behind the bar or in the kitchen, Grandma at someone's table telling her tall tales, promoting Medicine Park or giving out her recipe for hot rolls. She constituted a “one-woman Chamber of Commerce.”

In the late 1960s, the need for improving and expanding the utilities infrastructure became apparent to the residents. The town was officially incorporated as “The Town of Medicine Park” in 1969. Edward A. Hilliary, Jr., was elected as chairman (mayor) and served as such for twelve years. Early members of the town council included: Jack Laughter, R. C. “Chuck” Gardener, and Roy Brown, followed by Rex Leath, “Doc” Dodson and A. P. Tuck, who served as police commissioner. Hilliary worked to secure the first water and sewer systems for Medicine Park. He owned the Medicine Park Propane and Medicine Park Telephone companies. He partnered with Edna Hennessee to develop the Big Rock Mountain Estates.

David and Candace McCoy helped jump start the rebirth of Medicine Park through construction and renovation of businesses and residential houses as well as donations of land and time. In 1995, The Riverside Café, closed for many years, was purchased by the McCoys. The couple reopened a restored facility in 1996.

Restoration of structures in town began in the late 1990s when a few historic cobblestone cabins were restored by McCoy Development Company, Charley Wright, the Hennessee family and a few others. Cobblestone Court (a commercial grouping of shops) and the restoration and new construction of numerous cabins and homes on both sides of Medicine Creek, were accomplished through the efforts of McCoy Development Company.

Geography

Medicine Park is located at 34°44′00″N98°29′02″W / 34.733270°N 98.483923°W / 34.733270; -98.483923 Coordinates: 34°44′00″N98°29′02″W / 34.733270°N 98.483923°W / 34.733270; -98.483923 (34.733270, -98.483923). [5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2), of which, 1.7 square miles (4.4 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (2.89%) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1970 483
1980 437−9.5%
1990 285−34.8%
2000 37330.9%
2010 3822.4%
Est. 2015444 [6] 16.2%
U.S. Decennial Census [7]

According to the census of 2010, the town had 382 people living in 191 households and 112 families. The population density was 189.6 people per square mile (73.2/km²). There were 306 housing units at an average density of 151.8 per square mile (58.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 88.2% White, 0.8% African American, 3.7% Native American, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.0% of the population. Of the 191 households 16.2% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% were non-families. Of all households 35.6% were composed of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.58.

In the town, the population was spread out with 14.1% under the age of 18, 3.7% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 39.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 100 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 105 males.

According to the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the town was $26,607, and the median income for a family was $33,929. Males had a median income of $22,321 versus $18,854 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,236. About 19.6% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.9% of those under age 18 and 16.7% of those age 65 or over.

Utilities

Medicine Park Telephone Company provides service, including DSL, to the town and the surrounding area. The company is in the process of an FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) project in Granite Ridge. Medicine Park will be one of the few communities in Oklahoma with FTTH.

Cultural depictions of Medicine Park, Oklahoma
Waterfall on Medicine Creek Waterfall at Medicine Park Creek, OK IMG 6987.JPG
Waterfall on Medicine Creek
Waterfall on Medicine Creek 
Waterfall on Medicine Creek with Mount Scott in the background Waterfalls with Mount Scott in the background IMG 6985.JPG
Waterfall on Medicine Creek with Mount Scott in the background
Waterfall on Medicine Creek with Mount Scott in the background 
Fishing and kayaking on Medicine Creek (2013) Fishing, kayaking at Medicine Park, OK IMG 6995.JPG
Fishing and kayaking on Medicine Creek (2013)
Fishing and kayaking on Medicine Creek (2013) 
Bridge over Medicine Creek Medicineparkbridge.jpg
Bridge over Medicine Creek
Bridge over Medicine Creek 
Original cobblestone house in Medicine Park Medicineparkhouse.JPG
Original cobblestone house in Medicine Park
Original cobblestone house in Medicine Park 
Cobblestone construction in Medicine Park Medicineparkstones.jpg
Cobblestone construction in Medicine Park
Cobblestone construction in Medicine Park 
Medicine Bluff Creek bridge is the passage from Medicine Park to the Wichita Mountains & Wildlife Refuge Medicine Creek Bridge at Medicine Park, Okla..jpg
Medicine Bluff Creek bridge is the passage from Medicine Park to the Wichita Mountains & Wildlife Refuge
Medicine Bluff Creek bridge is the passage from Medicine Park to the Wichita Mountains & Wildlife Refuge 
Medicine Park, Oklahoma cobblestone archway ... cobblestone archways garnished the Medicine Park & Wichita Mountains landscapes Medicine Park, Okla. Archway Sign.jpg
Medicine Park, Oklahoma cobblestone archway ... cobblestone archways garnished the Medicine Park & Wichita Mountains landscapes
Medicine Park, Oklahoma cobblestone archway ... cobblestone archways garnished the Medicine Park & Wichita Mountains landscapes 

Related Research Articles

Kiowa County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Kiowa County is a county located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,446. Its county seat is Hobart. The county was created in 1901 as part of Oklahoma Territory. It was named for the Kiowa people.

Jefferson County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Jefferson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,472. Its county seat is Waurika. The county was created at statehood and named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson.

Caddo County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Caddo County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 29,600. Its county seat is Anadarko. Created in 1901 as part of Oklahoma Territory, the county is named for the Caddo tribe who were settled here on a reservation in the 1870s. Caddo County is immediately west of the seven-county Greater Oklahoma City metro area, and although is not officially in the metro area, it has many economic ties in this region.

Apache, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Apache is a town in Caddo County, Oklahoma, USA. The population was 1,444 at the 2010 census.

Cement, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Cement is a town in Caddo County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 501 at the 2010 census.

Gracemont, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Gracemont is a town in Caddo County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 318 at the 2010 census. The town name is a portmanteau of Grace and Montgomery, the names of two friends of the first postmaster, Alice L. Bailey.

Faxon, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Faxon is a town in Comanche County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 136 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Lawton, Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Fletcher, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Fletcher is a town in Comanche County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,177 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Lawton, Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Indiahoma, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Indiahoma is a town in Comanche County, Oklahoma, United States

Lawton, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma

The city of Lawton is the county seat of Comanche County, in the State of Oklahoma. Located in southwestern Oklahoma, about 87 mi (140 km) southwest of Oklahoma City, it is the principal city of the Lawton, Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area. According to the 2010 census, Lawton's population was 96,867, making it the fifth-largest city in the state.

Sterling, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Sterling is a town in Comanche County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 793 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Lawton Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Walters, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Walters is a town in Cotton County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,551 at the 2010 census. The city, nestled in between twin creeks, is the county seat of Cotton County. The city's motto is "Small town; Big heart."

Waurika, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Waurika is the county seat of Jefferson County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,064 at the 2010 census, a 4.36 percent decrease from 2,158 at the 2000 census.

Gotebo, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Gotebo is a town in Kiowa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 226 at the 2010 census, a loss of 16.9 percent from 272 at the 2000 census.

Mountain Park, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Mountain Park is a town in Kiowa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 409 at the 2010 census, a 4.9 percent increase from 390 at the 2000 census.

Mountain View, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Mountain View is a town in Kiowa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 795 at the 2010 census, a decline of 9.7 percent from 880 at the 2000 census.

Central High, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Central High is a town in Stephens County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,199 at the 2010 census, an increase of 25.7 percent from 954 at the 2000 census.

Chattanooga, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Chattanooga is a town in Comanche and Tillman counties in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The population was 461 at the 2010 census. The Comanche County portion of Chattanooga is included in the Lawton, Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.

References

  1. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. http://www.lasr.net/travel/city.php?Old%20Plantation%20Restaurant&Attraction_ID=OK0203020a001&City_ID=OK0203020
  4. "Oklahoma town named among ‘Most Beautiful Towns in America’." KFOR-TV. Undated. Accessed June 13, 2018.
  5. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  7. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.