Military Land Becomes School Land

Stop 21: NW Corner of Mickey Mantle Plaza at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Bricktown

The Military Reservation was released to Oklahoma City in 1894 and proceeds of lot sales were used to pay for school sites and construction.

Just before the Run of '89, the federal government reserved 160 acres east of the Santa Fe Railroad for troops to maintain law and order. Known as the Military Reservation, the area's function became obsolete when soldiers turned over peace keeping to civilian authorities in 1890.

To meet the needs of a bustling community, women's organizations joined forces to secure the acreage for schools. They turned to Sidney Clarke, chairman of the city council and a former congressman from Kansas, and Dennis Flynn, the Oklahoma Territory congressional delegate. Flynn attached a rider to an appropriation bill passed by Congress in August, 1894. The bill authorized the release of the Military Reservation to the city of Oklahoma City for public school purposes.

The four-room log house formerly used as barracks was converted to a high school - the city's first - until Irving High could be built nearby. The city was divided into four wards with a school to be located in each. Land purchase and school construction were funded by the sale of bonds, which were retired by the proceeds of lot sales in the former Military Reservation.

  • 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.


©2018 '89er Trail Fund. All rights reserved. Terms of Use and Copyright Notifications. Site designed and hosted by Wiggin Properties, LLC. Contact webmaster.