City Hall By Forfeiture

Stop 10: At Cox Convention Center where N Broadway deadends into W Sheridan Ave, Downtown

Always short on revenue, the City eventually acquired its own building by evicting a saloon.

The Mayor and City Council of Oklahoma City first met on May 3, 1889 in the law office of councilman Ledru Guthrie on the south side of Main Street, mid-block west of the Santa Fe tracks. The City had very little revenue to pay rent or salaries. Its revenues were limited to sales of lot certificates, fines, licenses, and the like.

Fifteen months later, after the election of a new mayor and city council in August, 1890, the council voted to lease council chambers, a police courtroom, and clerk's office in the Kuhlman Building at 13 N. Broadway for $25 per month. The Black and Rogers saloon occupied the first floor.

Nearby, on the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and Broadway, Joe and James T. Hill, who had arrived as sooners on April 22, were operating a boarding house, saloon, and billiard hall, all duly licensed by the City. In October, 1893, the townsite trustees determined that the Hill brothers were sooners and in the absence of other claimants, delivered a deed for the two lots to the City. A few days later, the Hill brothers were arrested for allowing gambling and liquor on the same premises, their property was seized, and the City offices promptly moved into the vacant building.

  • 1862
    The Homestead Act opens up settlement in the western U.S. by allowing any adult American to claim up to 160 acres of free federal land. 15,000 claims are made by the end of the Civil War.
  • 1866
    The Civilized Tribes are forced to cede large portions of their land, including the Unassigned Lands, to the U.S. Government for relocation of other Native American nations.
  • 1880
    Boomers begin attempts to settle in the Unassigned Lands. The U.S. military repeatedly forces them out.
  • 1887
    The Santa Fe Railroad from Kansas to Texas is completed. Multiple stops are opened in the Unassigned Lands.
  • January-March 1889
    Creek and Seminole Nations release claims to the Unassigned Lands, and Congress approves opening the land for settlement.
  • March-April 1889
    "Boomer camps" pop up along and inside the borders of the Unassigned Lands.
  • March 23, 1889
    President Harrison's Proclamation sets noon on April 22 as the time and date for the Land Run
  • April 19, 1889
    Prospective settlers are escorted from the Kansas and Texas borders to the perimeter of the Unassigned Lands. Those already inside are required to leave.
  • April 20, 1889
    Land east of the railroad tracks at Oklahoma Station is reserved for military use
  • April 22, 1889 at noon
    Oklahoma Land Run officially begins.


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