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El Reno City

El Reno City Hall is located at 101 North Choctaw Avenue, El Reno, OK 73036; phone: 405-262-4070.

Beginnings [1]

The community of El Reno, Oklahoma, was formed in 1889, its creation coinciding with the Land Run of 1889, which opened the Unassigned Lands of central Oklahoma to settlement. El Reno's Grand Street was the west boundary line of the Unassigned Lands, and thus the town developed first on its "east side." In 1892, with the opening of the Cheyenne-Arapaho lands, which lay west of the Unassigned Lands, the west side of El Reno developed. The town was essentially laid out by the Oklahoma Homestead and Townsite Company.

El Reno grew and prospered in its first years. Stores, newspapers, and other amenities developed as the population increased. On June 11, 1890, the town was incorporated and by 1900 the population numbered 4,120. At statehood in 1907 the number had swelled to 5,370, and by the end of the decade the town was home to nearly 8,000 Oklahomans. During 1907-1908, 13 new residential areas, with a combined total of 281 residences, were constructed and occupied. By 1930 the town's population had risen to 9,384.

The town was a service center for a surrounding region of agricultural enterprise. El Reno was a market place for selling crops primarily cotton and wheat and for transporting those and other products out to a wider regional and national market and for transporting manufactured goods into the local market. The arrival of the Rock Island Railroad, shortly after the town's establishment, provided the important transportation link. Commercial and industrial enterprises thrived. These included the standard agriculture-oriented retail businesses, such as seed stores and implement dealers, as well as "light industry" that included mills and grain elevators; a foundry and machine shop that manufactured stoves; an automobile factory that produced the "Auto Buggy"; and a china plant. An expanding population and industrial development provided a tax base to meet the needs of a growing community. By 1908 the amount of taxable property was an estimated $2.9 million. Economic activities continued to expand through the 1920s and 1930s, despite the onset of the Great Depression.

During the community's first two decades many civic projects improved the quality of life for El Reno's citizens. El Reno local government created an infrastructure that incorporated a fire department, gas and electric light systems, paving, and a modern sewer system. A street railway provided local transportation. In 1907-1908 the citizens constructed a new courthouse for Canadian County and a new city hall for El Reno. Education also received attention with the establishment of a public library (with new building funded in 1904 by the Carnegie library program)and new buildings for the town's public school system. Parks and recreational facilities also appeared.

  1. Dianna Everett, public historian/consultant, Preservation El Reno, Inc., El Reno Municipal Pool Bath House, Canadian County, Oklahoma, nomination document, 1999, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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