El Reno, Oklahoma

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El Reno, Oklahoma
Location of El Reno, Oklahoma
Location of El Reno, Oklahoma
Coordinates: 35°31′49″N 97°57′27″W / 35.53028°N 97.95750°W / 35.53028; -97.95750Coordinates: 35°31′49″N 97°57′27″W / 35.53028°N 97.95750°W / 35.53028; -97.95750
CountryUnited States
 • Total80.4 sq mi (208.3 km2)
 • Land80.0 sq mi (207.1 km2)
 • Water0.4 sq mi (1.2 km2)
Elevation1,358 ft (414 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total17,510
 • Density202.7/sq mi (78.3/km2)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code73036
Area code(s)405
FIPS code40-23700
GNIS feature ID1092512[1]
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El Reno, Oklahoma
Location of El Reno, Oklahoma
Location of El Reno, Oklahoma
Coordinates: 35°31′49″N 97°57′27″W / 35.53028°N 97.95750°W / 35.53028; -97.95750Coordinates: 35°31′49″N 97°57′27″W / 35.53028°N 97.95750°W / 35.53028; -97.95750
CountryUnited States
 • Total80.4 sq mi (208.3 km2)
 • Land80.0 sq mi (207.1 km2)
 • Water0.4 sq mi (1.2 km2)
Elevation1,358 ft (414 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total17,510
 • Density202.7/sq mi (78.3/km2)
Time zoneCentral (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST)CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code73036
Area code(s)405
FIPS code40-23700
GNIS feature ID1092512[1]

El Reno is a city in and county seat of Canadian County, Oklahoma, United States[2]. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 16,729. The city was begun shortly after the 1889 land rush and named for the nearby Fort Reno.[3] It is located in the central part of the state, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of downtown Oklahoma City, and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Panoramic map of El Reno, 1891

The city was originally located about five miles (8 km) north of its present location, on the banks of the North Canadian river, bearing the name Reno City, which caused its mail to get mixed up with mail for Reno, Nevada. After the second time the town flooded, it was moved to its present location and changed its name to El Reno. El Reno is Spanish for "the reindeer".[4]

Historic Fort Reno was built in 1874, and first commanded by General Philip Sheridan. He named it in honor of his friend, Gen. Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in the Civil War. The grounds of the old fort became home to a research laboratory for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1948.[3] The laboratory studies environmentally sustainable forage and livestock production, contributing to preservation of the great plains of North America.

El Reno is located on the 98th Meridian, which allowed the eastern side to be opened to non-Indian settlement in the Land Run of 1889. The western side was opened in the 1892 opening of the Cheyenne and Arapaho lands. It was subsequently selected as the land district office for the 1901 land lottery drawings.[3]

During WWII, Fort Reno, about 5 mi (8.0 km) north west of El Reno, was the site of a prisoner of war camp, and today contains a P.O.W. cemetery, with stones bearing the names of German and Italian prisoners who died there.

Southwestern Federal Reformatory, restricted to male prisoners under the age of 35, was constructed about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of El Reno in 1935. Renamed the Federal Correctional Institution of El Reno in the mid-1970s, the population expanded to include men of all ages. It became the fifth largest prison in the U.S. It is still one of the largest employers in El Reno.[3]

It is the only city in Oklahoma to have a streetcar in operation in the downtown area. At one time it possessed a terminal and repair facility for the CRI&P (Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, or "Rock Island") railroad, which employed a large number of people. The CRI&P went bankrupt in 1975. The railroad yards have remained vacant property. The old depot and some other buildings were acquired by the Canadian County Historical Society for use as part of a museum complex.[3]

El Reno is a Main Street community. The Oklahoma Main Street Program is a downtown revitalization program and the El Reno Program won the Great American Main Street Award in 2006.

The town is noted for its annual Fried Onion Burger Day Festival, which is always the 1st Saturday in May. Burger Day is where you can witness the cooking of the world’s largest fried onion hamburger, weighing over 850 pounds (400 kg). The giant burger contains all the important parts of the famous El Reno fried onion burgers which includes meat, fried onions, sliced pickles, and mustard all between two giant buns. Not only do festival goers get to watch the massive burger be built and cooked, but they are also allowed to help eat the monstrosity. Volunteers divide the giant burger into individual sized portions with burger-sized cookie cutters. Other volunteers shuttle back and forth from the burger to the crowd, delivering the free portions to anyone wanting a piece. In 2008, El Reno celebrated the 20th Annual Fried Onion Burger Day.

On May 31, 2013, El Reno was hit by the widest tornado on record.


El Reno is located at 35°31′49″N 97°57′27″W / 35.53028°N 97.95750°W / 35.53028; -97.95750 (35.530261, −97.957529)[5]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 80.4 square miles (208 km2), of which, 80.0 square miles (207 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of it (0.56%) is water.

El Reno is located in the United States at the interchange of I-40 and U.S. Route 81. At one time it sat on the boundary between Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, and sits about 20 miles (32 km) west of the old Chisholm Trail. Jesse Chisholm is buried nearby.

In 1952, a magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck near El Reno, causing damage to several buildings in the city. It was the strongest earthquake in Oklahoma history prior to the November 5, 2011 earthquake near Sparks.


El Reno has endured numerous weather- and climate-related incidents in recent years:

Climate data for El Reno, Oklahoma
Average high °F (°C)47.4
Average low °F (°C)23.9
Precipitation inches (mm)1.0
Source #1: weather.com
Source #2: Weatherbase.com [6]


Historical population
Est. 201217,5104.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2012 Estimate[8]

As of the census of 2010,[9] there were 16,749 people, 5,727 households, and 3,842 families residing in the city. The population density was 202.7 people per square mile (78.3/km²). There were 6,484 housing units at an average density of 81.1 per square mile (31.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.8% White, 11.1% Native American, 7.2% African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.9% of the population.

There were 5,727 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the age distribution pf the population shows 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 114.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 119.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,200, and the median income for a family was $39,106. Males had a median income of $29,521 versus $20,107 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,570. About 11.4% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.6% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The City of El Reno operates under a council-manager government system. City employees include the city manager, finance director, police chief, fire chief, city clerk, public works director, code enforcement director, community services director and city librarian.[10]

The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates the Federal Correctional Institution, El Reno in El Reno.[11]



The El Reno Tribune publishes Wednesday and Sunday and has a circulation of about 5,000.[12]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

National Register of Historic Places


  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Savage, Cynthia. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "El Reno." Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 118. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Historical Weather for El Reno, Oklahoma, United States". 
  7. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  9. ^ El Reno, Oklahoma. 2010 Census results
  10. ^ City of El Reno (accessed August 14, 2013)
  11. ^ "FCI El Reno Contact Information." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on October 1, 2010.
  12. ^ FinderBinder: Oklahoma's Updated Media Directory, 2010 Winter Issue.
  13. ^ http://www.traphof.org/Inductees/Sears-Gene.html

External links[edit]