unassigned lands urban renaissance oil discovery historic districts and museums
A little over a century ago, Oklahoma City was a grass and timber land of gently rolling hills flattening out into prairie. Today, it sprawls across 625 square miles of America’s heartland and a population of over a million. During the 1800s, the U.S. government forcibly relocated Indian tribes from all over the country into the area known as Oklahoma Territory. There was one parcel of land that was never given over to any tribe.
The Unassigned Lands in the 1880s, many frontier Americans wanted to move into this land; landless pioneers began slipping over into this area without authorization. The Boomers were trying to force the government into opening the territory up to homesteaders. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison signed legislation that opened-up the Unassigned Lands and about 50,000 homesteaders gathered at the boundaries with some people, known as the Sooners, sneaking over at night to stake out prime land. At noon, the cannon roared, and the hordes of people streamed over the line on wagons and buckboards, horseback, on foot and even on bicycles. Soon, nearly 10,000 people had staked out claims near the Oklahoma Station and what today is Oklahoma City.
Statehood came for Oklahoma in 1907. Oklahoma City was a center of commerce, attracting a number of packing plants in was then known as Packing Town. In 1910, the state capitol moved from Guthrie to Oklahoma City with the Lee-Huckins hotel as temporary capitol building. The new state capitol was dedicated in 1917.
Oil Discovery in 1928, oil was discovered, creating the city’s most important financial resource and making Oklahoma City the world’s newest boom town. Oil continues to be one the most important players in the city’s economy.