The History of the Oklahoma City of the US State of Oklahoma
The United States government forcefully resettled some tribes in the State of Oklahoma in the 1820s, which rendered much of western Oklahoma State, including the present-day Oklahoma City, “Unassigned Lands.”
The Land Run
These “Unassigned Lands” started attracting waves of unauthorized settlers – “Boomers” – forcing the government to allow a series of land runs between 1889 and 1895 for settlers to claim the ground.
In the first wave on April 22, 1889, about 50,000 immigrants settled along the boundaries, some sneaking in the area around present day Oklahoma City receiving about 10,000 people. The population had doubled by 1900, creating a metropolis.
The pioneers of the city’s growth from 1890 were Anton Classen, John Shartel, Henry Overholser and James W. Maney.
Oklahoma became the 46th State of the Union. Oklahoma City was by now bigger than Guthrie, which was the area capital city, in terms of population and commercial activities. In no time, Oklahoma City became the capital city. In 1928, oil was discovered in the area cementing Oklahoma City’s position as a major center of the oil industry.
Growth and decline
Oklahoma City continued to grow as new industries sprung up. The Great Depression of 1929 to 1939 did not affect the city’s commercial areas because they had become wealthy from the oil boom.
The old supply had dried up in the 1960s, and Oklahoma City declined considerably, forcing much of its population to move out of the city. The trend continued in the 1970s and 1980s. The city’s authorities made various efforts to revive the city. For instance, the urban renewal projects in the 1970s, including the Pei Plan, which demolished the older structures, with no success.
The city unveiled a major redevelopment package in 1993 – the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) – to improve its downtown. The projects that came up include a new baseball park, library, remodeled civic center, convention center, and fairgrounds. Others are a water canal in the Bricktown entertainment district where water taxis transport passengers.
Population shot up creating demand for housing, additional residential and retail amenities, such as grocery, services, and shops.
Terrorist attack on the City
Timothy James McVeigh, a decorated Iraq War veteran, detonated a truck loaded with 5,000 pounds of explosives on April 19, 1995, in front of the Alfred P. Murrah, a US government building in Oklahoma City. The explosion killed 168 people, among them, 19 young children, and 684 wounded people. It also destroyed over 300 nearby buildings. McVeigh received a lethal injection on June 11, 2001, and was subsequently cremated.
The site on which the building stood is now the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Every April 19, survivors, families and friends return to the memorial to read the names of each person lost.
It remains the second worst terrorist attack on US soil after the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attack.
Resilience of the people of Oklahoma City
The people of Oklahoma City proved resilient and emerged from the tragedy strong, and the city has grown since then. Subsequent developments signaled a town full of hope and determination to grow.
For instance, a consortium of Oklahoma City investors led by Clay Bennett, operating as the Professional Basketball Club LLC, bought the Seattle, Washington, based Seattle SuperSonics from former Starbucks Chief Executive Officer, Howard Schultz.
They renamed it Oklahoma City Thunder and relocated it to Oklahoma in 2008 where it plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division.
Similarly, Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corporation, through its subsidiary, Devon World Headquarters LLC, started constructing a new corporate office on October 6, 2009.
The sparkling Devon Energy Center or the Devon Tower, a 50-story corporate skyscraper in downtown Oklahoma City, opened its doors to the public in October 2012.
The city’s population has continued to grow. It had 579,999 residents as per the 2010 US Census. The Oklahoma City-Shawnee area has a population of 1.34 million.
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