Prosperity from the Get-go
Sitting about 40 miles north of the Red River, Ardmore was at first a fledgling trading center within the Chickasaw Indian Nation.  Anglos
began settling the area when they realized that the fertile lands surrounding the town, coupled with a fairly mild climate, allowed perfect
conditions for cattle grazing and farming (mostly cotton). Once the Santa Fe rail road laid its tracks in 1887, Ardmore was born - the rail
road execs named the new townsite after a rail town in Pennsylvania.

Although a bad fire in 1895 destroyed much of the town, it was rebuilt bigger and better than ever - and by statehood, it already boasted
the first public school in Oklahoma. Its expansion mirrored the growth of Oklahoma. When oil was discovered in 1910, Ardmore's
prosperity manifested itself in a dazzling downtown. But with riches, oil fields brought their own tragedies, too - like the 1915 disaster,
where a rail road tanker full of gas exploded, leveling the depot and several downtown buildings.

Still Growing
Today, Ardmore continues to play a big part in Oklahoma's economy, and even in Texas history - it's the place where Texas Democrats
fled when they went on strike in May 2003. The city is also the anchor for regional tourism and is home to a branch of  Murray State
College, a branch of East Central University, and the Oklahoma State Horse Shoeing School. Quite fitting for a ranching center!

Things to See and Do
Ardmore's location and amenities lends itself to a good weekend get-a-way. The walking tour of its Art Deco downtown, including
Heritage Hall, is worth the drive alone.
The 1910 courthouse which, oddly enough, faces an alley, has been restored.

Then, check out the large number of WPA buildings, like the Hardy Murphy Coliseum and the old Armory building, which is now the
Greater Southwest Museum. This museum hides local history treasures, including an electric car and a fully restored homesteader cabin.
For more information, call 580-226-3857.

Across the street from the museum you'll find the first cabin (dogtrot style) built by Anglo settlers in what would become Ardmore.

The nature lover is bound to have a good time in Ardmore. To the north are the Arbuckle mountains, home to
Turner Falls Park
(580-369-2917) and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area complete with scenic drives and nature trails. South of town is Lake Murray
State Park (580-223-4044), with the picturesque, WPA-built Tucker Tower Nature Center.

Ardmore also has a great selection of eclectic restaurants and stores. The downtow
n area is chock full of funky specialty shops that
gives the city the feel of a college town. It's a great place to visit - so if you're in the mood for a an Ardmore road trip, call the Chamber of
Commerce at 580-223-776, the Ardmore Tourism Authority at 580-221-5118, or log on to
visitsunnyardmore.com.  
The Ardmore courthouse.
The Hamburger Inn in downtown Ardmore.
Ardmore - where trees make fun of you
Ardmore is 30 miles north of the Red River on Interstate
35. You can visualize that by clicking on the map!
Ardmore: Parallel Path to Statehood
Downtown Ardmore in the 1920s, looking west from either Washington or Mill Streets (Ardmore Public Library).
Despite its exotic name, the Oklahoma, New Mexico & Pacific
Railway (pictured is the depot in Ardmore) only spanned to
nearby Ringling.
Ella Hunter was an early 20th century real estate tycoon in Ardmore.
She wanted to make sure you knew this building belonged to her.
Ardmore's old high school sits on Washington Street, very close to
the downtown area. After desegregation, a more modern high
school was built to accommodate all students.
Here's one of Ardmore's best builidngs, in my opinion. First, it survived the downtown blast; second, much of its
early 20th century fonts are still visible. This building is located near the railroad tracks along A Street NE.
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
How to Get
There