Fascinating Historical Photos Of Oklahoma City From 20th Century

Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of Oklahoma state, first settled on April 22, 1889. After the Settlement, the population of the town doubled between 1890 and 1900. The city was initially developed as a distribution point for crops and cattle; large stockyards were built, which attracted people and jobs from other states. Meatpacking plants were established, and when the railroads arrived in the city, it doubled the trade. The first oil well in Oklahoma City was discovered in 1928, which significantly accelerated and expanded the economy, and at one time, about 1,400 wells were producing oil within the city limits. World War II brought several industries, Air Force base and the city became a significant hub in the national Interstate Highway System. In the 1970s, Patience Latting was elected as the first female mayor of Oklahoma City.

Here below are some interesting historical photos of old Oklahoma City form the early 20th century that shows street scenes, architecture, cityscapes, streetcars, and everyday life of people.

#1 Children of May Avenue camp pumping water from thirty-foot well which supplies about a dozen families, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#2 Railway workmen with handcar, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, February 1940

#3 Boy living in camp near May Avenue, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#4 Bed with roof over it in May Avenue camp, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#5 Boy living in May Avenue camp with homemade ax, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#6 Independent refinery, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, August 1939

#7 The Derrick, roadhouse in Oklahoma City oil field, August 1939

#8 Home and family of oil field roustabout in Oklahoma City, August 1939

#9 Shack of family living in May Avenue camp, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#10 Looking north on Broadway from Grand Avenue, Oklahoma City

#11 Barns for Oklahoma City streetcars at Northwest 13th Street and Santa Fe Avenue, c. 1914

#12 Family in front of shack home, May Avenue camp, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#14 Tent home of family living in community camp, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#15 Children taking bath in their home in May Avenue community camp, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#16 Resident of May Avenue camp, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#17 Woman living in camp near May Avenue, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#18 Activity around station master’s shack. Streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, July 1939

#19 Idle men attend the morning movies, Oklahoma City, June 1937

#20 Workshop of Sanitary Ice Cream Cone Co., 116 Street, Dewey Street, Oklahoma City, April 3, 1917

#21 Tracks on South Walker Street crossing over the North Canadian River to Capitol Hill, c. 1912

#26 Shacks, tents, other makeshift shelter in May Avenue camp, which is partially under bridge and adjacent to city dump and hog wallow, Oklahoma City, July 1939

#27 Children of May Avenue camp, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, July 1939

#28 Manley Creasson [Creason], 914 West Sixth Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, March 15, 1917

#29 Jack Ryan, 6-year-old newsie at 126½ West Reno Street, Oklahoma City, March 15, 1917

#30 Woman with children at streetcar terminal in Oklahoma City, July 1939

#31 Jack Ryan and Jesse Ryan at 1506 S. Robinson St, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, March 14, 1917

#32 Child living in Oklahoma City shacktown, August 1936

#33 Eleven-year-old bakery worker Glenn Dungey, Oklahoma City, April 1917

#34 Swipin’ coal from the freight yards, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. April 1917

#38 Tracks under construction on Broadway Avenue, Oklahoma City

#39 Initial trip of the first pay-as-you-enter car at the stockyards, Oklahoma City, November 18, 1910

#47 El Reno streetcar Oklahoma Electric Railway Lines

#48 View of Moore, Oklahoma, taken from interurban car

#51 Terminal Station located on north Harvey Avenue, Oklahoma City

#52 Oklahoma Electric Railway Lines Collection, OHS).

#54 Negro drinking at ‘colored’ water cooler in Oklahoma City streetcar terminal, July 1939

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        • I grew up on SW 9th street off of Agnew. We always called that area Packin’ Town, because of the meat packing companies in the area. Many of the old timers in my neighborhood had once lived in the Camps. The Camps at their height strung from May Avenue all the way down the river to Byers Avenue. Many of the people living there had lost their farms during the depression. The one located at May Avenue was the largest due to the fact that the city dump was adjacent to the camp. Many of those families survived from what they called ‘trashin’ rummaging thru the trash to make ends meet. Most of the camps were torn down when the Corp of Engineers built the levees from Portland to Eastern Ave. A section of the camps still existed into the late 1970’s at South Pennsylvania Ave. and the Canadian River. I went to school with many of the kids that lived there. In my neighborhood the people who lived there were often referred to as Campers.

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