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.