Oklahoma State Facts - Oklahoma History Firsts

Catch up on your state trivia with these Oklahoma history firsts and interesting fun facts about the state.

Official Name Oklahoma
Capital Oklahoma City
35.46705 N, 097.51349 W
Great Plains
Constitution Ratified 1907
Statehood November 16, 1907
46th state
Number of Counties 77 Counties in Oklahoma
Largest County
(by population)
Oklahoma County
709 sq. mi.

Oklahoma History Firsts & State Facts

  • 850-AD - Spiro Mounds, Oklahoma's only archaeological park, is a 140-acre site encompassing 12 southern mounds that contain evidence of an Indian culture that occupied the site from 850 A.D. to 1450 A.D. The Mounds are considered one of the four most important prehistoric Indian sites east of the Rocky Mountains.
  • 1800 - Oklahoma was mostly Indian Territory until the late 1800s.
  • 1829 - Sequoyah's Cabin in Akins is a frontier house of logs, occupied (1829-44) by Sequoyah (George Gist), the teacher who in 1821 invented a syllabary that made it possible to read and write the Cherokee language.
  • 1871 - Vinita is the oldest incorporated town on Oklahoma Route 66 being established in 1871. Vinita was the first town in Oklahoma to enjoy electricity. Originally named Downingville. The towns name was later changed to Vinita, in honor of Vinnie Ream, the sculptress who created the life-size statue of Lincoln at the United States Capitol.
  • 1879 - Born in 1879 on a large ranch in the Cherokee Nation near what later would become Oologah, Oklahoma, Will Rogers was first an Indian, a cowboy then a national figure. Will Rogers was a star of Broadway and 71 movies of the 1920s and 1930s, a popular broadcaster and wrote more than 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns.
  • 1889 - On April 22, 1889, the first day homesteading was permitted, 50,000 people swarmed into the area. Those who tried to beat the noon starting gun were called Sooners. Hence the state's nickname.
  • 1889 -
    • Foress B. Lillie was a participant in the land run of 1889, and set up a tent for business as soon as shots were fired. Lillie's Drug was the first drug store established in Guthrie. Lillie was issued the No. 1 license certificate when the new state of Oklahoma registered him as a practicing pharmacist.
    • The Raccoon (Procyon lotor) was designated as the Oklahoma State Furbearer animal
  • 1893 -
  • 1893 - A Spanish Colonial Revival building serves as the backdrop for Ponca City's Centennial Plaza, dedicated during the 100th anniversary celebration of the 1893 Land Run. The Plaza features the Centennial Monument by Jo Saylors, surrounded by 7,000 named bricks, a statue of E.W. Marland, a War Memorial Fountain, Fire Station No. 1 and City Hall.
  • 1906 - Find out more about the Oklahoma State Great seal
  • 1915 - The colors: Green and white ere designated as Oklahoma State Colors
  • 1925 - Find out more about the Oklahoma State Flag
  • 1930 - Oklahoma was among the states hardest hit by the Great Depression and the drought that created the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.
  • 1933 - The Amateur Softball Association of America - a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, OK - was founded in 1933 and has evolved into the strongest softball organization in the country.
  • 1935 -
    • The world's first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Carl C. Magee, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is generally credited with originating the parking meter. He filed for a patent for a "coin controlled parking meter" on May 13, 1935.
    • Bob Dunn a musician from Beggs invented the first electric guitar 1935.
  • 1937 - The Redbud (Cercis canadensis) was designated as the Oklahoma State Tree
  • 1940 - Located on the south shores of Grand Lake O' the Cherokees between Langley and Disney. The Pensacola Dam was built in 1940 and is still the World's Longest Multiple Arch Dam. Length of dam/spillway ... 6,565 feet. Length of multiple-arch section ... 4,284 feet. Pensacola Dam was the first hydroelectric facility in Oklahoma.
  • 1943 - Boise City, Oklahoma was the only city in the United States to be bombed during World War II. On Monday night, July 5, 1943, at approximately 12:30 a.m., a B-17 Bomber based at Dalhart Army Air Base (50 miles to the south of Boise City) dropped six practice bombs on the sleeping town.
  • 1948 - On the evening of March 25, 1948, a tornado roared through Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, causing considerable damage, a few injuries, but no fatalities. However, the destruction could have been much worse. A few hours earlier Air Force Captain Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest J. Fawbush correctly predicted that Atmospheric conditions were ripe for tornadoes in the vicinity of Tinker AFB. This first tornado forecast was instrumental in advancing the nation's commitment to protecting the American public and military resources from the dangers caused by natural hazards.
  • 1951 - Scissor-tailed flycatcher (Muscivora forficata) was designated as the Oklahoma State Bird Oklahoma's state bird the Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher is a somewhat quiet bird with beautiful plumage and a long sleek tail that is twice as long as its body. The deeply-forked tail resembles a pair of scissors.
  • 1953 - "Oklahoma!," lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Richard Rogers is Oklahoma State Song and anthem
  • 1968 - Barite rose, commonly known and referred to as the "rose rock" is Oklahoma State Rock
  • 1971 - Lynn Riggs Players of Oklahoma, Inc.  was designated as Oklahoma State Theatre
  • 1972 -
  • 1974 - The White bass, also called sand bass (Morone chrysops) was selected as the  Oklahoma State Fish
  • 1990 -
  • 1995 - Oklahoma City National Memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on the site of the bombing in Oklahoma City April 19, 1995.
  • 1998 - In 1998, a life size statue of a cattle drive, titled "On the Chisholm Trail," was set in place in Duncan as a monument to the American Cowboy.
  • 2000 - On July 25, 2000, Governor Keating announced plans to construct a dome on the Oklahoma State Capitol Building. Construction is slated to begin April 2001 with an estimated completion date of November 2002.
  • 1973 - "Howdy Folks" by David Randolph Milsten  was designated as Oklahoma State Poem
  • 1982 -
  • 1985 - Milk »»»State "beverage" or state "drink? Oklahoma State Beverage
  • 1986 - The Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) is Oklahoma State Wild flower
  • 1987 - Port silt loam (Cumulic haplustolls) Find out more about Oklahoma State Soil
  • 1988 -
  • 1992 - Honeybee (Apis millifera) was designated as the Oklahoma State Insect
  • 1993 - The Drum was designated as the Oklahoma State Percussive musical instrument
  • 1994 - Appointed by the Governor for a period of two years, appointment made by January 1 of every odd year. Oklahoma State Poet Laureate
  • 1996 -
  • 1997 -
  • 1999 - Oklahoma Tartan adopted with House Concurrent Resolution No. 1025 as the official Oklahoma State Tartan
  • 2000 - Saurophaganax maximus is designated as Oklahoma State Fossil
  • 2001 - "Oklahoma Hills," composed and written by Woody Guthrie and Jack Guthrie is the Oklahoma State Folk song
  • 2002 - Milk designated as the Oklahoma State Beverage
  • 2004 - The Oklahoma rose was designated as the Oklahoma State Flower
    2005 -
  • 2006 -
  • 2007 - Watermelon was selected as Oklahoma State Vegetable
  • 2009 -
    • "The Oklahoma Run," composed by Harold Fletcher is Oklahoma State Land run song
    • "Do You Realize??" by the Flaming Lips (By proclamation of Goveronor Brad Henry) is the Oklahoma State Rock song
  • 2010 - The Oklahoma Forest Heritage Center Museum, located in Beavers Bend State Park was selected as the Oklahoma State Wood Capital of Oklahoma
  • 2011 - "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," composed and written by Wallis Willis is Oklahoma State Gospel song
  • 2013 - Woodring Wall of Honor and Veterans Park in Enid was designated as the Oklahoma State Vietnam war memorial

More Oklahoma History Firsts & State Facts

  • During a tornado in Ponca City, a man and his wife were carried aloft in their house by a tornado. The walls and roof were blown away. But the floor remained intact and eventually glided downward, setting the couple safely back on the ground.
  • A statue entitled "Hopes and Dreams," in downtown Perry was created by local sculptor Bill Bennett and placed there on a massive granite pedestal as a Cherokee Strip Centennial memorial. The statue portrays an early-day couple coming to the newly opened western frontier.
  • Turner Falls Park in Davis is the oldest park in Oklahoma. Many springs from the world famous Arbuckle Mountains form Honey Creek that cascades down a seventy-seven foot fall to a natural swimming pool making the majestic Turner Falls the largest waterfall in Oklahoma.
  • There is an operating oil well on state capitol grounds called Capitol Site No. 1.
  • Anadarko is home to the only authentic Indian City in the United States. It is located in the beautiful Washita river valley in southwest Oklahoma
  • Phillip H. Sheridan, George A. Custer and William T. Sherman were the founders of the USA's main artillery fort at Fort Sill.
  • A life-size statue stands in honor of Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford in Weatherford.
  • Okmulgee owns the world record for largest pecan pie, pecan cookie, pecan brownie, and biggest ice cream and cookie party. Each June, Okmulgee rolls out the welcome mat to thousands of its closest friends as the annual Pecan Festival comes to town.
  • The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City.
  • The town of Beaver claims to be the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World. It is here that the World Championship Cow Chip Throw is held each April.
  • An Oklahoman, Sylvan Goldman, invented the first shopping cart.
  • Known as the Antique Capital of Oklahoma, Jenks is home to the state's best variety of: Antique Stores, Gift Shops, Galleries, Museums, Crafters Malls, and Collectible Retailers.
  • The first capital of Oklahoma was in Guthrie, but was moved later to Oklahoma City following a vote of the people.
  • Originally Indian Territory, the state of Oklahoma was opened to settlers in a "Land Rush" in 1889. On a given date, prospective settlers would be allowed into the territory to claim plots of land by grabbing the stakes marking each plot. A few of these settlers entered to claim land before the official start of the land run; these cheaters were called "Sooners".
  • Tahlequah, Oklahoma is the Tribal capital of the Cherokee Nation.
  • Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma.
  • WKY Radio was the first radio station transmitting from west of the Mississippi River.
  • Oklahoma State Motto: "Labor Omnia Vincit" {Labor Conquers All Things}
  • Belle Starr one of the most famous women outlaws is buried in an isolated grave southwest of Porum, Oklahoma near the Eufuala Dam.
  • Originally the "Normal School," University of Central Oklahoma was Oklahoma's first public school of higher education. It began as a teachers college, and is now a premier institution of education in this region of the United States.
  • In Gurhrie nearly 20,000 lighters and "fire starters" are displayed at the National Lighter Museum. The nation's only museum devoted to the collection of lighters.
  • Oklahoma's four mountain ranges include the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas and the Kiamichis.
  • Oklahoma was the setting for the movie "Twister".
  • Oklahoma is bordered by six states: Texas to the south and west, Arkansas and Missouri to the east, Kansas to the north and Colorado and New Mexico at the tip of the northwestern Oklahoma panhandle.
  • Antlers bill itself as "The Deer Capital of the World and gateway to Southeast Oklahoma."
  • The slogan "Buckle of the Wheat Belt" designates Kingfisher. Kingfisher was the largest wheat market in America and is still perceived as such today.
  • Oklahoma is one of only two states whose capital cities name includes the state name. The other is Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Clinton Riggs designed the YIELD sign. It was first used on a trial basis in Tulsa.
  • Oklahoma's state wildflower the Indian Blanket is red with yellow tips. It symbolizes the state's scenic beauty as well as the its Indian heritage. The wildflower blooms in June and July.
    Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, with over one million surface acres of water.
  • Springs, streams and lakes are the attractions at Chickasaw National Recreation Area, the first national park in the state of Oklahoma. Chickasaw lies in a transition zone where the Eastern deciduous forest and the Western prairies meet.
  • Attendance at school is compulsory for children ages 5 to 18 in Oklahoma, the longest education commitment of any state in the nation.
  • The name "Oklahoma" comes from the Choctaw words: "okla" meaning people and "humma" meaning red, so the state's name literally means "red people."
  • Oklahoma has produced more astronauts than any other state. These include Major General Thomas P. Stafford (Weatherford); Gordon Cooper (Shawnee); Owen Garriott (Enid); Shannon Lucid (Oklahoma City) and William Reid Pogue (Okemah).
  • Oklahoma has the largest American Indian population of any state. Many of the 252,420 American Indians living in Oklahoma today are descendants from the original 67 tribes inhabiting Indian Territory.
  • Oklahoma's Cimarron county is bordered by more states than any other US county: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas.
  • Oklahoma doesn't have Indian Reservations. The State does however, have 39 federally-recognized tribal nations headquarters in the state, and rank second to California as the state with the largest Native American population.
  • Oklahoma's state capitol building is the only capitol in the world with an oil well under it. Although its legal description is Capitol Site #1, it is referred to as Petunia #1 because it was originally drilled in the middle of a flower bed.
  • The aerosol can was invented in Bartlesville; the parking meter in Oklahoma; and the shopping cart in Ardmore.
  • Oklahoma ranks fourth in the nation in the production of all wheat, fourth in cattle and calf production; fifth in the production of pecans; sixth in peanuts and eighth in peaches.
  • Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, with over one million surface acres of water and 2,000 more miles of shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined.
  • Oklahoma is the third largest gas-producing state in the nation.
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