County Seat
Ponca City
101 Ranch
Marland Mansion
Marland's Grand Home
Hutchins Auditorium

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What Do You Think ? A Rhetorical Question.

Where the Heck Is Kay County ?

Oklahoma and Kay County are a crossroads of the United States and is home to no less than eight museums. The seeds of modern movie making were sewn here. A world class oil company has its beginnings here. The famous and infamous have called Kay County home at various times and many historical and genealogical threads run through it. Dust Bowl refugees from the area traveled to California on the Mother Road, Route 66. A surprising number of people all over the U.S. have their roots in Kay County, Oklahoma

Kay County in modern day Oklahoma was mapped before the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. Originally all the perspective counties were given a letter name. Newkirk was designated the county seat. Several other towns were planned before the run. Some exist to this day while others have disappeared. The best example was the town of Cross. It was suppose to be the railhead and postal stop for "K" county. But an enterprising gentleman by the name of B.S. Barnes found a spot south and east of Cross that was closer to a natural river crossing, a fresh water spring and within earshot of the railroad. So he set about surveying home lots and pre-selling them to those headed for the Cherokee Strip. He would call his city Ponca after the local Indian tribe who had been settled just to the south. A community that is now known as White Eagle. The rivalry between Cross and Ponca City was intense for many years. One night the leaders of Ponca City stole the train depot (a temporary structure on wooden skids) from Cross and established itself as the railhead. B.S. Barnes attracted businesses and employment and before long the citizens of Cross were coming to Ponca City for work.

Today the town site of Cross is a part of Ponca City but only the locals can show you where it was. Ponca City has become the principle town in Kay County. It is also the place that E.W. Marland chose to make his home and fortunes. E.W. Marland discovered oil and opened a refinery. Marland Oils grew to become Conoco with its world offices in Ponca City. Long after E.W.'s death in 1941 his main competitor Phillips Petroleum gained control. ConocoPhillips still has the refinery in Ponca City but has moved the main offices to Bartlesville in Osage County, Oklahoma. The history is in Ponca City. Marland built two homes here. The best known is his "Palace on the Prairie" a 55 room mansion in the European style. The 22 room Grand Home was built and lived in for twelve years before that. The Pioneer Woman Statue by the well known artist Bryant Baker and dedicated by Will Rogers on April 22, 1930 stands at the corner of 14th and Lake Road.

The world famous Miller Brothers 101 Ranch was nine miles southwest of Ponca City. At its peak the working ranch was 110,000 acres across four counties and employed thousands. The ranch hands and entertainers of the Real Wild West Show often found their way to town. Cowboy movie stars like Tom Mix, Art Accord, Hoot Gibson and Buck Jones started out at the 101 Ranch. Anyone who has heard of bulldogging or steer wrestling knows of Bill Pickett the black cowboy who invented the modern day rodeo sport. Ponca City in Kay County was established in 1893 and was full grown by the time Oklahoma changed from Indian Territory to the 46th state of the United States on November 16, 1907.


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