Skiatook, Oklahoma

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Information Abstracted from:

Tulsa County Historic Sites July 1982: Prepared by the Community Planning Division Indian Nations Council of Governments for the Tulsa County Historical Society (Financed in part with Federal funds ...) Description

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The Town of Skiatook was founded by the late William C. Rogers, who was the last regularly elected chief of the Cherokees. Rogers established a general store or trading post on the banks of Bird Creek about two miles north of the present town in about 1880. His store was close to the line of the old Coo-wee-scoo-wee district of the Cherokee Nation and the Osage reservation.(1)

In 1880, the nearest town and railroad were at Coffeyville, Kansas. Rogers brought his supplies from Coffeyville by oxen and mule team. When settlers began coming in, it became the custom for Rogers to bring them their mail and an occasional newspaper.

Col. Adair, a Cherokee, serving as a delegate of the Cherokee Nation in U.S. Congress, is credited with bringing the first official post office to the settlement in 1882. Rogers chose the name Ski-A-Took for the post office. The meaning of the name remains a puzzle after 100 years. Most old-timers believe Ski-A-Took was an old Cherokee Indian who frequented Rogers' store. On his return from a trip to the Store, he mysteriously vanished and Rogers named the post office after him. Other people believe Ski-A-Took was a prominent Osage Indian. Many residents claim that the name came from the exclamation an old Indian made when a strong wind or tornado carried away his teepee. "Sky 'took us',' he said. A fourth interpretation of the name is that it is a Cherokee phrase meaning Big-Injun-Me. In 1892, the name was changed to Skiatook. (2)

On December 18, 1904, Skiatook was established on the present site near 146th Street North and State Highway 11. The Midland Valley Railroad Company laid a railroad at this site which was two miles south of Rogers' store. Rogers moved to the new townsite and built a large brick store building. He continued to do business there until his death in 1917. Rogers is buried at Hillside Mission Cemetery just south of 186th Street North, 1/4 mile east of State Highway 11.

Immediately after December 18, 1904, building began. The first deed granted in the town was made to the Skiatook Bank. Among other pioneer businesses were the O'Brill Drug Store, Dickason-Goodman Lumber Company, Al Fiegly and Son, and Townsend, Sullivan and Company. (3) The American Exchange Bank (now Jack's Coney Island) was built in 1907 and the First National Bank (now Auto Parts of Skiatook) was built in 1911. The commercial district of Skiatook spans two counties, Osage and Tulsa. Most of the structures are in Tulsa County, but the Midland Valley Railroad Depot is in Osage County. Another early business enterprise in Skiatook was horse racing, which took place on Main Street (Rogers Blvd.) complete with racing forms and betting. Early residences were built in the area south of Cherokee Street and north of 5th between "A" and "D" Streets.

Skiatook was incorporated as a town in the summer of 1905. A. E. Townsend was the first mayor, with Fred Lynde, Al K. Fiegly, C. H. Cleveland, C. E. Tyler and George Bleavins, acting aldermen. Judge Gill approved the charter, Joseph Mucer was the first Chief of Police and Mr. Stokes was the first Clerk. (4)

The first permanent school in Skiatook was built in 1908. Mssrs. Craig, Jewett and LaFoon are credited with the building of this school. At that time, or soon after, several other schools existed around Skiatook. Eureka School was about six miles east of Skiatook, Goodwill School was three miles northeast of Skiatook and the Lakeview Schools 1 and 2 were seven and ten miles west of Skiatook, respectively. Other schools in the area were Javine School, Wild Horse School, Rock Creek School, and Sunny Slope School.

In 1906, a gas company was organized and natural gas became a household commodity. Also in 1906, a public telephone system was established. Permanent cement sidewalks were constructed in 1909 and 1910.

In 1911, fire destroyed almost the entire south side of Rogers Boulevard, Block 23, between "A" Street and Broadway. Immediately C. F. Rogers had plans underway for new brick buildings to occupy a portion of the burned district. (5) C. F. Rogers (no relation to W. C. Rogers) was a prominent civic leader in the community, arriving in Skiatook in 1905. He was instrumental in the building of Skiatook's churches, schools, business houses and homes. He backed every progressive movement which was instituted and served as the town's mayor. He also served as Tulsa County's first county clerk after statehood. (6)

1. Bill Hodge, "Oologah Oozings", Skiatook News.
2. Various newspaper articles and histories.
3. C.B. Douglas, History of Tulsa, Oklahoma (Vol. 1. Chicago: The S.J. Clark Publishing Company, 1921), p. 683.
4. Ibid., p. 681
5. Ibid,. p. 681
6. Obituary, "C.F. Rogers, Skiatook builder, Died Saturday Night", Skiatook News, Vol. 1, Wednesday, July 17, 1946.

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