A Summer of Political Unrest

Stop 8: At Cox Convention Center where N Broadway deadends into W Sheridan Ave, Downtown

Soon after the election on May 1, the city became ensnarled in political conflict.

The rules for establishing lot ownership were unclear and the attempts of the city council to clarify matters with ordinances and lot certificates sold by the city or the Seminole Company poured fuel on the flames. Opponents (calling themselves Kickapoos) challenged the city charter that had been adopted with little debate on April 27.

All summer long the Kickapoo and Seminole factions argued over the need for a new charter. An election on a Kickapoo proposal was blocked by the city government on July 16. A Seminole counter-proposal taken to the polls on August 29 was overwhelmingly rejected. Finally, an election called by the Kickapoos for September 21 was blocked by the mayor and soldiers armed with bayonets.

But even as debate raged in the streets every evening near Main and Broadway, settlers were busy with their new lives. Wooden houses replaced tents, businesses appeared everywhere, churches formed, schools and civic organizations were established, and the tent city quickly became a thriving community

  • 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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