The Military Reservation Becomes School Land

When the Oklahoma country was opened to non-Indian settlement in the Run of 1889, the federal government reserved 160 acres east of the Santa Fe Railroad and north of the Reno section line for troops responsible for maintaining law and order. Known as the Military Reservation, the area became obsolete after Congress passed the Organic Act in 1890 establishing territorial government and soldiers ceded peace-keeping functions to civilian authorities.

Anxious to convert that prime real estate to uses more suitable to the needs of a bustling community, womenís organizations joined forces to secure the Military Reservation for schools. To further their cause, they convinced Sidney Clarke, a former Congressman from Kansas, an 89er, and the second provisional mayor of Oklahoma City to travel to Washington, DC to exert his influence in Congress. Thanks largely to his efforts [says who? Iíve seen others given credit], Congress passed a bill in 1894 containing a rider giving the Military Reservation to the city of Oklahoma City for school purposes. It was now the Military Addition.

Captain Stilesís headquarters were converted to Irvington High School, the first high school in Oklahoma City [when?]. The city was divided into four wards, and a school was located in each. School sites and construction were funded by the sale of bonds and land in the new Military Addition. By the early 1890s, four schools were in operation: Washington School at Washington (South 4th) and Walker Avenue; Emerson School at North Seventh and Walker Avenue; Central High School at North Fourth and Central Avenue [where?]; and Irvington School in the Military Addition [where?], where barracks and a stockade made way for educational pursuits.

©2015 '89er Trail Project. All rights reserved. Terms of Use and Copyright Notifications. Site designed and hosted by Wiggin Properties, LLC. Contact webmaster.