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Location : Chamber of Commerce > About Ponca City

As they waited in the hot sun, straining to hear the gunshot signaling the beginning of a new territory and a new state, our forefathers shared a common thread …a dream. Their fierce desire for free land would bind them together in one sense and set them apart, as competitors, in another.
     They came from diverse backgrounds but in that moment were woven together like a patchwork quilt on the face of the land. They would stake their claim to the future, divide the land and unify a territory on hopes of a better life.
     Of such spirit was the “American Dream” in those who established the land we know as Oklahoma.Much has changed in the past 100 years, but what has not changed is the spirit which fueled the dream.While the land run was over in a few short days, the determination to create a better life still binds Ponca Citians together and drives us to work for even greater achievements in the future.

It all Began September 16, 1893 
     Early in the spring of 1893, B.S. Barnes, having heard that the Cherokee Strip was to be opened for settlement, headed for Arkansas City with the hope of building a new city in this frontier area. Barnes had sold his furniture manufacturing plant in Adrian, Michigan, desiring to make his fortune on "The Strip".

After driving for many days, with a team and buggy, over what is now referred to as the counties of Kay, Grant, Garfield, and Noble, he observed a wagon road in Kay County that ran from Arkansas City southward and crossed the Arkansas river at a point one mile south of the present Arkansas river bridge near
Ponca City.

Certificates for lots were sold by the Ponca Townsite Company for $2.00 each, and it was understood that each certificate would be good for one business lot or two residence lots, the location to be determined by a "drawing". The certificates were to give the holder a prior claim to the lots, and after proper title had been vested in the claimants of the quarter sections of the new city, deeds were to be issued at a reasonable cost.

Mr. Barnes interested people in this program and in so doing, banded them together to help build the new city of Ponca. This is believed to be the first instance of a new city being started with a town lot drawing. On September 21st, four days after the Oklahoma Land Run, surveyors completed surveying the selected section of land into street and lots, and the lot drawing began. And such was the beginning of Ponca City!

Excerpt from "The Last Run"
written by the Ponca City Chapter of the D.A.R.

Copyright © 2008