Waurika, Oklahoma

Last updated
Waurika, Oklahoma
Jefferson county courthouse.jpg
Jefferson County Courthouse in Waurika c. 2014
Motto(s): 
"On The Trail, By The Lake"
USA Oklahoma location map.svg
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Waurika
Usa edcp location map.svg
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Waurika
Coordinates: 34°10′12″N98°0′5″W / 34.17000°N 98.00139°W / 34.17000; -98.00139 Coordinates: 34°10′12″N98°0′5″W / 34.17000°N 98.00139°W / 34.17000; -98.00139
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Jefferson
Area
[1]
  Total12.49 sq mi (32.36 km2)
  Land12.48 sq mi (32.33 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
Elevation
896 ft (273 m)
Population
 (2010)
  Total2,064
  Estimate 
(2019) [2]
1,885
  Density151.01/sq mi (58.30/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
73573
Area code(s) 580
FIPS code 40-79250 [3]
GNIS feature ID1099439 [4]

Waurika is the county seat of Jefferson County, Oklahoma, United States. [5] The population was 2,064 at the 2010 census, a 4.36 percent decrease from 2,158 at the 2000 census. [6]

Contents

An article from 1985 in The Oklahoman claimed that Waurika promoted itself as "The Parakeet Capital of the World". It gave no explanation for using this slogan. [7] The Waurika Chamber of Commerce website in 2020 echoes that the town was “once a parakeet paradise,” but currently seems to be promoting the motto, “On The Trail, By The Lake,” complete with a logo of a cowboy bronc-riding a fish. [8]

City name

The name is the anglicized version of the Comanche compound woarɨhka ("worm eater") from woa ("worm") + tɨhka ("eat") and presumably refers to early European settlers whose plowing humorously resembled digging for worms. [9] Without indicating the source of their opinions, the City of Waurika and the Oklahoma Historical Society say the name means "clear (or pure) water" in some unidentified "American Indian language". [10] [11] (See the etymology of "Idaho" for another example of an inspiring, but fictitious, meaning of Native American origin.)

History

Former First Presbyterian Church transformed into a city office building. Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. First Presbyterian Church Waurika.jpg
Former First Presbyterian Church transformed into a city office building. Listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Waurika was settled after the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache Reservation was opened to non-Indians on August 6, 1901. The first white settler was James McGraw, who homesteaded on the present town site after moving from Burlington, Iowa. [11] The first sale of town lots was held on June 18, 1902. Nearly three thousand people attended the sale. [11]

Waurika was incorporated in May 1903. On May 8 of that year, C.A. McBrian was sworn in as the town's first mayor. [11] At the time of its founding, Waurika was located in Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation. [12]

The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway came to Waurika on January 1902 after the railroad superintendent "designated the town as a flag station." [11] Waurika was formerly the northern terminus for the Wichita Falls and Southern Railroad, one of the 20th century properties of Frank Kell and Joseph A. Kemp of Wichita Falls, Texas, [13] where the Kell House Museum is located today.

Historical population
CensusPop.
1910 2,928
1920 3,2049.4%
1930 2,368−26.1%
1940 2,4583.8%
1950 2,327−5.3%
1960 1,933−16.9%
1970 1,833−5.2%
1980 2,36929.2%
1990 2,088−11.9%
2000 2,1583.4%
2010 2,064−4.4%
2019 (est.)1,885 [2] −8.7%
[6] [11]

Geography

Waurika is located in northwestern Jefferson County at 34°10′12″N98°0′5″W / 34.17000°N 98.00139°W / 34.17000; -98.00139 (34.170130, -98.001268). [14] U.S. Route 70 passes through the southern side of the city, leading east 49 miles (79 km) to Ardmore and west 27 miles (43 km) to Randlett. U.S. Route 81 crosses US 70 in the southeastern corner of Waurika, leading north 26 miles (42 km) to Duncan and south 24 miles (39 km) to Ringgold. Oklahoma State Highway 5 (Waurika's Main Street) leads northwest 19 miles (31 km) to Temple. Waurika is approximately 109 miles (175 km) southwest of Oklahoma City. [11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Waurika has a total area of 12.5 square miles (32.4 km2), of which 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.08%, are water. [15] The city center lies on the east side of the valley of Beaver Creek, a south-flowing tributary of the Red River.

Waurika Lake is 6 miles (10 km) northwest of the city center. [16]

Economy

Waurika's economy has largely been based on cattle raising, agriculture and petroleum production since the founding of the city. [11]

Demographics

As of the census [3] of 2000, there were 1,988 people, 741 households, and 500 families residing in the city. The population density was 168.0 people per square mile (64.9/km2). There were 929 housing units at an average density of 78.5 per square mile (30.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 85.41% White, 1.81% African American, 4.28% Native American, 3.37% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 2.36% from other races, and 2.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.00% of the population.

There were 741 households, out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.3% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 107.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,800, and the median income for a family was $31,594. Males had a median income of $24,844 versus $16,286 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,496. About 6.4% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 17.4% of those age 65 or over.

Government

Waurika has a home rule charter form of government. [11]

Notable people

Places

The town's Rock Island Passenger Depot was rehabilitated starting in 1987, and in 2002 was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Jefferson County, Oklahoma. [10] Also NHRP-listed are the First Presbyterian Church, [10] the Jefferson County Courthouse, [17] and the State Highway 79 Bridge at the Red River leading to Byers, Texas, which has since been demolished. [17] There was a Chisholm Trail Historical Museum in Waurika, now closed. [18]

Waurika Lake, completed in 1980, is 11 miles long, contains 192,000 acre feet of water at its normal elevation of 951 feet, has a surface area of 10,000 acres, and features 80 miles of shoreline. [10]

Notable events

The 1996 murder of Heather Rich brought brief notoriety to Waurika. Rich, a 16-year-old sophomore at the local high school, was murdered by two classmates and an acquaintance in a case that attracted national media coverage.

Related Research Articles

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Jefferson County, Oklahoma U.S. county in Oklahoma

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References

  1. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. 1 2 "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. 1 2 "Census Viewer: Waurika, Oklahoma Population". Moonshadow Mobile, Inc. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  7. Etter, Jim. "Catchy Slogans Strive to Put Towns on Map." The Oklahoman. October 20, 1985. Accessed November 3, 2016.
  8. "Waurika, Oklahoma". Waurika Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  9. William Bright. 2013. Native American Placenames of the Southwest (Univ. of Oklahoma Press)
  10. 1 2 3 4 "History". City of Waurika. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Sheridan B. Drowatzky, "Waurika," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 27, 2015.
  12. Charles Goins, Historical Atlas of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006), plate 105.
  13. "H. Allen Anderson, "Wichita Falls and Southern Railroad"". tshaonline.org. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  14. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  15. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Waurika city, Oklahoma". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  16. Google Maps
  17. 1 2 "Jefferson County". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  18. "Chisholm Trail Historical Museum". Yelp. Retrieved November 16, 2020.