Durant, Oklahoma

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City of Durant
—  City  —

Seal
Nickname(s): City of Magnolias, Queen of Three Valleys
Location within the state of Oklahoma
Coordinates: 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472Coordinates: 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472
CountryUnited States
StateOklahoma
CountyBryan
Government
 • MayorJerry Tomlinson
 • Vice MayorThomas Marcum
 • City ManagerJames Dunegan
Area
 • Total19.1 sq mi (49.4 km2)
 • Land19.0 sq mi (49.3 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation636 ft (194 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total15,811
 • Density830/sq mi (322/km2)
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes74701-74702
Area code(s)580
FIPS code40-22050[1]
GNIS feature ID1092307[2]
Websitehttp://www.durant.org/
 
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City of Durant
—  City  —

Seal
Nickname(s): City of Magnolias, Queen of Three Valleys
Location within the state of Oklahoma
Coordinates: 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472Coordinates: 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472
CountryUnited States
StateOklahoma
CountyBryan
Government
 • MayorJerry Tomlinson
 • Vice MayorThomas Marcum
 • City ManagerJames Dunegan
Area
 • Total19.1 sq mi (49.4 km2)
 • Land19.0 sq mi (49.3 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation636 ft (194 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total15,811
 • Density830/sq mi (322/km2)
Time zoneCST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes74701-74702
Area code(s)580
FIPS code40-22050[1]
GNIS feature ID1092307[2]
Websitehttp://www.durant.org/

Durant is a city in Bryan County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 15,877 at the 2010 census. Durant is the principal city of the Durant Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 42,416 in 2010. Durant ranks as the second largest city within the Choctaw Nation, following McAlester, and ahead of Poteau.

The city was founded by Dixon Durant, a Choctaw who lived in the area,[3] after the MK&T railroad came through the Indian Territory in the early 1870s. It became the county seat of Bryan County[4] in 1907 after Oklahoma statehood.

Durant is home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The city is officially known as the Magnolia Capital of Oklahoma.[5]

Contents

History

Bryan County Courthouse.

The Durant area was once claimed by both Spain and France before officially becoming part of the United States after the Louisiana Purchase and Adams-Onis Treaty. During the 1820s and 1830s the area was designated as part of the Choctaw Nation in the southern Indian Territory. During the Indian removals the Choctaws followed the Choctaw Trail of Tears from their ancestral homeland in Mississippi and Alabama into this area. The Choctaw Nation originally extended from the Mexican border in the west (now part of the Texas panhandle) to the Arkansas Territory in the east, from the Red River in the south to the South Canadian River in the north.

Pierre Durant and his four sons, all of French-Choctaw origin, made the journey up the Trail of Tears on the way to the southeastern part of the Choctaw Nation in 1832. The brothers, grown, with families of their own, established homesteads from the Arkansas line to Durant. One son, Fisher, married to a full blood Choctaw, found a beautiful location for a home between Durant's present Eight and Ninth Avenues.

Fisher Durant's son Dixon Durant is recognized as the founder of Durant and is honored as its namesake. As an early day minister, businessman and civic leader, Dixon Durant is credited with pastorates in local Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist churches. He established the first store selling general merchandise in 1873,[6] around the time of the 1872 creation of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy Railroad) siding at Durant, which was the initial impetus for establishing the community.[6]

The first post office at the site was known as Durant Station, opening on February 20, 1879 and closing on July 11, 1881.[7] A.E. Fulsom was post master.[8] The USPS re-established the post office at the site as Durant on March 8, 1882, dropping the word "station" from the name.[7]

W.H. Hilton was elected as the first mayor of Durant.

A memorable event in Durant’s rail history occurred on April 5, 1905. A special southbound Katy train stopped in the city with none other than President Theodore Roosevelt aboard.[9]

Durant City Hall.

Bryan County was created from Choctaw lands in 1907, the same time as statehood, and was named after William Jennings Bryan. He was nominated three times for President of the United States and at the age of 36 lost to William McKinley. He also lost to Woodrow Wilson, and William H. Taft. Woodrow Wilson appointed Bryan as United States Secretary of State.

11 people were killed in Durant by a tornado in April 1919.[10]

The town's population grew from 2,969 in 1900 to 5,330 in 1910, 12,823 in 1990, and to 13,549 in 2000.[6]

In 1953, Actor José Ferrer and actress/singer Rosemary Clooney were married in Durant while Jose was performing in the musical "Kiss Me Kate" in Dallas, TX.[11]

Geography

Durant is located in southern Oklahoma, in a region named Texoma, or Texomaland, because of its short distance from Lake Texoma. The city is also part of Kiamichi Country and Arbuckle Country. Its geographic coordinates are 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472 (33.999834, −96.384825)[12]. It is approximately 14 miles (23 km) north of the Texas border at the Red River. Dallas is also about 88 miles (142 km) south of Durant. The north edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, in McKinney. is about 58 miles (93 km) to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.1 square miles (49 km2), of which, 19.0 square miles (49 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.16%) is water.

Climate

Climate data for Durant, Oklahoma
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)89
(32)
93
(34)
99
(37)
97
(36)
103
(39)
107
(42)
111
(44)
118
(48)
111
(44)
100
(38)
88
(31)
87
(31)
118
(48)
Average high °F (°C)53
(12)
57
(14)
66
(19)
75
(24)
82
(28)
91
(33)
95
(35)
96
(36)
89
(32)
78
(26)
65
(18)
55
(13)
75
(24)
Average low °F (°C)31
(−1)
34
(1)
42
(6)
51
(11)
59
(15)
68
(20)
71
(22)
70
(21)
63
(17)
52
(11)
41
(5)
33
(1)
51
(11)
Record low °F (°C)−6
(−21)
−4
(−20)
−7
(−22)
28
(−2)
33
(1)
46
(8)
52
(11)
50
(10)
34
(1)
16
(−9)
9
(−13)
5
(−15)
−6
(−21)
Precipitation inches (mm)2.2
(56)
2.7
(69)
2.9
(74)
4.5
(114)
5.4
(137)
3.8
(97)
3.2
(81)
2.8
(71)
3
(76)
3.8
(97)
2.6
(66)
2.6
(66)
39.5
(1,003)
Snowfall inches (cm)1.2
(3)
0.8
(2)
0.3
(0.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.4
(1)
2.7
(6.9)
Source #1: weather.com
Source #2: Weatherbase.com [13]

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 13,549 people, 5,488 households, and 3,309 families residing in the city. The population density was 712.1 people per square mile (274.9/km²). There were 6,082 housing units at an average density of 319.7 per square mile (123.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.99% White, 1.54% African American, 12.27% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.57% from other races, and 4.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.56% of the population.

Durant's first census was recorded in 1900, and the population was 2,969. The 2000 census reported Durant's population to be 13,549.

There were 5,488 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 18.1% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,328, and the median income for a family was $32,988. Males had a median income of $26,574 versus $19,676 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,849. About 17.2% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.8% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.

Economy

Durant was ranked as the fastest growing rural city in Oklahoma in 2004, having the fastest growth rate outside of the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas.[citation needed]

Durant's daytime population increases to approximately 20,000 people.[citation needed] The city has a pull factor of 1.8–2.1 times its population and was named an All-American City finalist for 2006.[citation needed]

Since 1999, the Durant Economic Development Department, the Durant Industrial Authority and the City of Durant have developed over $600,000,000 in new investments to the city.[citation needed]

Durant currently leads the state in economic development.[citation needed] One of the city's strongest industries is tourism; attractions include Lake Texoma, Lake Durant, the Choctaw Casino Resort, Choctaw Casino Bingo and Fort Washita. Manufacturing and distribution are growing industries in Durant with several factories being constructed and planned.

Durant is headquarters to J.C. Potter meat processing facility.

Another important part of Durant's economy is the city's Historic Central Business District and the Retail District. In the past few years, Downtown Durant has seen growth, renewal projects such as streetscaping, and new businesses arriving. Durant is part of the Main Street Program. The Retail District is west of Downtown, at the intersection of U.S. 69/75 and U.S. 70, and is Durant's fastest growing area.

Cardinal Glass Industries has a float glass manufacturing facility in western Durant. It became operational in July 2004. This plant is number twenty for Cardinal Glass Industries. This is the largest single investment ever made in Durant and Bryan County of $122,000,000.[citation needed]

Big Lots has a 1,200,000 sq ft (110,000 m2). distribution center in Durant that began operating in January 2004. This represents the second largest investment ever for Durant, and Bryan county, of $80,000,000.[citation needed]

Durant is home to the headquarters of First United Bank, one of the largest privately owned banks in the United States,[citation needed] and First Texoma National Bank. Indian Nation Wholesale, also headquartered in Durant, is the 15th largest wholesaler in the United States as of 2008.[14]

Wal-Mart opened a 195,000-square-foot (18,100 m2) supercenter in Durant in 2003, replacing the older, smaller Wal-Mart that had operated since 1986. Smaller grocery stores in Durant include Green Spray, Save-A-Lot, and Nichol's Dollar Saver.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The north casino of the Choctaw Casino Resort.

The largest employer in Durant is the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, including the Choctaw Nation Headquarters and the Choctaw Casino Resort, which has two Choctaw Travel Plazas, two Choctaw casinos, the Choctaw Inn, and many more facilities that are located in the resort with more plans of construction. Over 5,400 people work for the Choctaw Nation in Durant.

In 1894, Calvin Institute, one of a few schools for Native American youths, was established in Durant. The school was to change its name twice more (Durant Presbyterian College in 1900, and Oklahoma Presbyterian College in 1910), and by 1899 it had attracted an enrollment of 300. The school eventually became known as Oklahoma Presbyterian College. This was accomplished shortly after Oklahoma was admitted to the Union as a State. The support for the school came from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the federal government, and several denominational missionary boards. Because of financial difficulties, the school was closed as a learning institution in the late 1960s.

Chief Clark David Gardner established the Choctaw Nation administrative offices at the old Oklahoma Presbyterian College Building in 1975.

In 1976, in cooperation with the Durant Chamber of Commerce and the owners of the buildings, the Red River Valley Historical Association, title was transferred into the federal government of the United States. Ceremonies were held August 17, 1976, commemorating the title transfer. Reacquisition of this building allowed centralization of government which permits more effective utilization of personnel in administering current programs and developing future programs. The buildings has been renovated, and administration of many Choctaw programs are headquartered there.

Calvin Institute was originally the North Building of the Choctaw Nation Headquarters. The establishment of Oklahoma Presbyterian College lead to the construction of the current South Building of the CNHQ. After Choctaw Nation had acquired the former OPC buildings, Choctaw Nation built a third structure, the Financial Building, to accommodate growth. The Nation and has since then built several other structures behind the main buildings to accommodate even more growth, creating today's complex.

Though the Capitol of the Choctaw Nation is recognized as being Tuskahoma, the administrative offices remain at the old Presbyterian College, formerly the old Calvin Institute. The Choctaws have strong ties with the school, being a part of their culture, history and religion, having served as one of the early educational institutions for their people.

Arts and culture

Durant is home to the annual Magnolia Festival and the Three Valley Museum. The festival is put on by the Durant Chamber of Commerce and Durant Main Street Program the weekend following Memorial Day. It features music, shopping, shows, and two pageants (the Magnolia Pageant and the Choctaw Princess Pageant).[15]

Durant has a "World's Largest Peanut" monument, a title it shares with two other monuments in Texas and Ashburn, Georgia. This monument to the peanut growers in Bryan County is located on the front lawn of Durant's city hall. Dedicated in 1973, it includes a time capsule that contains historic and legal documents, which will be unearthed in the year 2023.

Durant's Big Nut on display

Three Valley Museum

The city's Three Valley Museum houses historical artifacts of Bryan County. Opened in 1976, it is named for a book about Durant, Queen of the Three Valleys by Henry McCreary, which references the city's location in the middle of the Red, Blue, and Washita River valleys. The museum has several exhibits, including an early law office, doctors office, childs room, parlor, and general store.

Sports

Although there is no major sports team located in Durant, there are sporting opportunities located within the city, including the Durant Multi-Sports Complex, Golf, soccer fields and baseball fields.

Parks and recreation

The City of Durant maintains and operates 11 parks totaling more than 251 acres (1.02 km2). Including:

Golf Courses:

Less than ten miles (16 km) away, Lake Texoma has between 8–10 million tourists every year and is the 12th largest lake in the United States, and also one of the largest reservoirs in the country, contributing to Durant's economic and population growth.

Government

Durant is governed by a council-manager form of municipal government. The city manager is the administrative leader of the government and is appointed by the city council. The city's ceremonial head is the mayor, who is a voting member of the council with limited administrative power.

The current city manager, James Dunegan, was appointed in 2006. The current mayor is Jerry Tomlinson. The city is divided into four wards with a members of the city council from each. There is also an at-large city council member. The current mayor is also represents Ward 1.[16]

Education

Higher education

Durant is home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which has about 4,000 enrolled students. Oklahoma State University (OSU), with branches throughout Oklahoma, is the only university in Oklahoma to offer a Master of Science in Aviation and Space. Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers degrees through its Aviation Sciences Institute (ASI). The ASI the largest aviation program in the state with three locations. The main campus in Durant has facilities at the airport to support flight training and facilities on campus to facilitate the management options in business, maintenance, safety, and security. The institute also has two locations in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Community College and Tinker AFB, offering the undergraduate management degrees as well as the Master of Science degree in Aerospace Administration & Logistics. http://www.bestaviation.net/school/southeastern_oklahoma_state_university/

OSU also offers a doctoral degree, Ed.D., in Applied Educational Studies with the Aviation and Space Science specialization and a Graduate Certificate in Aviation Security.

(http://education.okstate.edu/index.php/academic-units/school-of-educational-studies/space-and-aviation)

Career and technical education

Durant is also home to the Kiamichi Technology Center, which has eight other locations in Southeastern Oklahoma. Kiamichi is part of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Elementary and secondary

The Durant Independent School District is the largest school district in Southeastern Oklahoma and serves approximately 3,100 students.[17] The district includes six schools and includes preschool, primary and secondary education.

The city is also home to the Silo School District, which includes three schools and serves approximately 680 students,[18] and to one of two schools in the Rock Creek School District.[19]

The city also has a private K-12 school, Victory Life Academy, which has an enrollment of about 250 students.[20]

Media

Newspaper

Television stations

Durant, Oklahoma does not have any television studios, but gets over the air reception of the Sherman-Ada DMA, which happens to have studios nearby in Sherman and Denison, Texas with branch studios in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

Durant has an independent cable TV & Internet provider called CommuniCom Services.

Public-access television cable TV stations include:

Radio Stations

Magazines

Durant's KLBC publishes a monthly entertainment guide, The KLBC Buzz. Available online and the print version is distributed to a six-county region of Texoma.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Roads and highways

Northbound Highway 69/75 in Durant.

In a 2006 study by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, an average of about 19,100 vehicles pass Durant's Main Street on U.S. 69/75 everyday. Also, approximately 19,000 vehicles pass under 69/75 on Main Street daily.[21]

The major streets are: First Avenue, Southeast 3rd Avenue, South 9th Avenue, Washington Avenue, Radio Road, University Place, 49th Avenue, Choctaw Road, Rodeo Road, West Main Street, East Main Street, University Boulevard, Chuckwa Street, Gail Farrell Drive, and Mockingbird Lane.

There are four exits in Durant from U.S. 69/75 which are at First Avenue, Washington Avenue, University/Chuckwa (the exit off of northbound 69/75 is the only one complete), and Main Street. There are also traffic lights at the intersection of U.S. 69/75 and Choctaw Road south of Durant, where the Choctaw Casino Resort is located.

Air

Durant Regional Airport – Eaker Field, the city's airport, and home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University's Aviation Sciences Institute, was a U.S. Navy auxiliary airfield during World War II. It is named after U.S. Army Air Force General Ira C. Eaker, early commander of the legendary Eighth Air Force in wartime England, who graduated from the university (then known as Southeastern State Teacher's College) in 1917.

The closest international airports to Durant are Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa International Airport.

Rail

Durant is also a major railroad center. Union Pacific Railroad and Kiamichi Railroad intersect in Downtown, with Union Pacific being the busier railway.

Utilities

Durant has a water plant and a sewage treatment center. Electricity is served from OG&E.

Healthcare

The city of Durant, as is Bryan County, Southeastern Oklahoma and North Texas, is served by the Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma. Built in 1987, MCSO replaced the Bryan Memorial Hospital. MCSO is at the heart of Durant's medical district, along with the Durant Medical Complex, Choctaw/Chickasaw Indian Clinic, dentist offices, health clubs, and numerous other medical establishments.

Notable people

 * Joe Dobson – 1948 American League All-Star. 

References

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Phipps p. 180
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Master Plan – Section 2 The Campus of a Thousand Magnolias". Southeastern Oklahoma State University Master Plan. Southeastern Oklahoma State University. 2010. http://homepages.se.edu/master-plan/section-2-the-campus-of-a-thousand-magnolias/. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Milligan, Keith L., Durant, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Shirk, p. 74
  8. ^ Foreman, p. 6
  9. ^ "Roosevelt Says He's a Typical President". The New York Times (New York, New York). April 6, 1905. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9B04E3DC143AE733A25755C0A9629C946497D6CF. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Tornado Kills 100 in Texas and Oklahoma; Hundreds Buried in Debris of Ruined Towns". The New York Times (New York, New York). April 10, 1919. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9F07E5DF1F3BE03ABC4852DFB2668382609EDE. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1915&dat=19530714&id=N-8gAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xnIFAAAAIBAJ&pg=5074,2039063
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  13. ^ "Historical Weather for Durant, Oklahoma, United States". http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3?s=034837&refer=&units=us. 
  14. ^ http://www.csnews.com/csnews/images/pdf/top25wholesalers.pdf[dead link]
  15. ^ Magnolia Festival of Oklahoma (accessed May 8, 2010).
  16. ^ City of Durant . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  17. ^ Durant School District, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  18. ^ Silo School District, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  19. ^ Rock Creek Elementary School, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  20. ^ Victory Life Academy, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  21. ^ Oklahoma Traffic Count Information System
  22. ^ MCSO Website : About MCSO

Further reading

External links