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Cloud Chief, Oklahoma
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member gparkes
N 35° 15.179 W 098° 50.568
14S E 514300 N 3901109
Quick Description: Originally the Washita county seat, today not much remains other than a few destolate buildings and a historical marker. I noticed a farmer on the land of the former school.
Location: Oklahoma, United States
Date Posted: 1/9/2010 9:14:16 PM
Waymark Code: WM81MR
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 15

Long Description:

In the spring of 1892, Cloud Chief was established as the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation was opened up for settlement during one of Oklahoma's Landruns. Congress had designated the townsite of 320 acres as the county seat of "County H." Within a few weeks of the opening of the landrun, the town's population jumped from zero to over three thousand. Saloons, grocery stores and assorted other business number about 50, populated the streets in tents, creating an overnight town.

This, however, would not keep Cloud Chief a popular location for long. Within months as quick as the town had grown, the town declined downward to only a few hundred. Only after a year of existence, the town's businesses included four saloons and two grocery stores. The county courthouse was made from warped cottonwood boards, seemingly, to be the poor standard of many other buildings constructed in the early 1890's.

By 1898, population again had risen to several hundred. Fifty homes had been built as well as 35 dugouts. But population of the county had also grown, more towards the central portion of the county.

The county petitioned to have the county seat moved. Cordell was the popular with the county residents, but the town was not prepared to give up without a fight. Blow by blow, the town held onto the courthouse, until in a necessary filing, mailed rather than taken to El Reno, Oklahoma, arrived too late to save the courthouse. The courthouse would be moved. In 1904, still the Supreme Court ruled that the move was illegal and Cloud Chief was the legal county seat. This was until two county commissioners went to Washington D.C. to petition Congress to interviene with a bill. It moved through Congress eventially being signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. This ended the fight, and ended the growth of the town.

Over the next few year, population and businesses moved away. A High School was built in the town in 1938 under the WPA. This would not last long, as the last classes held here were in 1960. By 1964, the town had lost its charter, and slowly faded into the country side.

Today, a few building can be found in disarray through the original townsite. The High School has all of its windows broken out, and is used as farm storage. Several other buildings can be found, littered around a central street. Seemingly, the only residents are a couple of farmers raising cattle.


There are two historical markers located within the former town. The first marker addresses the former County Court House, which is no longer here. The text states:

Site of First
Washita County
Court House

Cloud Chief, originally Tacola, served as the first county seat. Area settled by land run April 19, 1892. August 7, 1900, citizens voted to move county seat to Cordell. U.S. Supreme Court voided the election since U.S. Congress had designated Cloud CHief the county seat. In 1906, Congress officially named Cordell the co. seat.



The second marker is for the former High School located here. You can see the building over the hill, on private property, and also in pictures on this waymark. The marker states:

Tacola / Cloud Chief
School

Created in 1892, Tacola school met in a dugout until 1894 when a 30' x 50' bldg. was built 1/2 mi. SW of this marker. In 1918, the school was moved to a new bldg. north of this marker. During the 1921 consolidation of school districts, the name changed to Cloud Chief. The high school moved to Cordell in 1958 and the school closed in 1960.


The above information was researched using the following refernces:

  • Morris, John. Ghost towns of Oklahoma. Univ of Oklahoma Pr, 1977. 49-51. Print. (Partial views available through Google Books as linked.
  • Cloud Chief, Oklahoma, Wikipedia entry, accessed on January 9, 2010.
  • List of ghost towns in Oklahoma, Wikipedia entry, accessed on January 9, 2010.
  • Two Oklahoma Historical Markers. Text written above.
  • No text was directly plagiarized with sources noted above.

  • Reason for Abandonment: Economic

    Date Abandoned: 1/1/1964

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