Owasso, Oklahoma

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Owasso, Oklahoma
Shops in Owasso
Shops in Owasso
Nickname(s): "The City Without Limits"
Location of within Tulsa County, and the state of Oklahoma
Location of within Tulsa County, and the state of Oklahoma
Coordinates: 36°17′25″N 95°49′43″W / 36.29028°N 95.82861°W / 36.29028; -95.82861Coordinates: 36°17′25″N 95°49′43″W / 36.29028°N 95.82861°W / 36.29028; -95.82861
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Counties Tulsa, Rogers
Incorporated 1904 (town in Indian Territory); 1972 (city chartered in Oklahoma)[1]
 • Mayor Jeri Moberly
 • Total 16.31 sq mi (42.24 km2)
 • Land 16.29 sq mi (42.19 km2)
 • Water 0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
Elevation 610 ft (186 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 32,472
 • Density 1,775.3/sq mi (712.2/km2)
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 74055, 74073, 74021
Area code(s) 539/918
FIPS code 40-56650[2]
GNIS feature ID 1096358[3]
Website www.cityofowasso.com

Owasso is a city in Rogers and Tulsa counties in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and a northern suburb of Tulsa. The population was 28,915 at the 2010 census.[4] Originally settled in 1881 in Indian Territory, the town incorporated in 1904 just prior to Oklahoma statehood and was chartered as a city in 1972.

Scenes in The Outsiders film were shot in Owasso.


Owasso began as a settlement in 1881, located in the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory, near what is now 66th Street North and North 129th East Ave. It was called Elm Creek, and was named for Elm Creek, a tributary of Bird Creek. The first settler was H.T. (Tole) Richardson. In June 1893, plans began for a rail line to be extended south from Bartlesville to the cattle ranches in the vicinity of Bird Creek. At that time there were already several residences, a blacksmith shop, and a general store in the Elm Creek Settlement. Preston Ballard, owner of the general store, established a post office in the general store on February 10, 1898 and was appointed the first postmaster. The Joseph T. Barnes family moved to the settlement in 1897. Joseph and Luther Barnes bought the blacksmith shop in 1898.[5] The first gas station was open in 1902 by Donovan Ranta.

In 1897, the Kansas, Oklahoma Central & Southwestern Railway Company acquired right-of-way approximately three miles northwest of the Elm Creek Settlement, dammed a natural spring to form a lake as a water supply for the rail line, & built a depot about a mile south of the lake. The depot was torn down in 1942. Late in 1898, Joseph & Luther Barnes moved their blacksmith shop to the new community. The shop became a temporary home for the Joseph Barnes family. It was the first residence officially moved to the new depot community. During 1898, many of the residents and businesses moved from the Elm Creek Settlement to the new community. Preston Ballard moved his post office and general store during that time. The new community became known as Elm Creek, since the post office retained its name.

The railroad completed its line in 1899. Its parent company, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, took over the line and property. The first train came into Elm Creek on November 1, 1899. As the land around the end of this railroad developed, the Osage Indian word Owasso, meaning “the end of the trail” or “turn around”,[1] was adopted to identify the area because the rail line ended in a turnaround “Y” near the depot. The name of the Elm Creek post office was officially changed to Owasso on January 24, 1900. The rail line was not extended into Tulsa until 1905.[5]

A plat of the original townsite of Owasso, Cherokee Nation, I.T. was signed by the Secretary of the Interior on March 26, 1904, in connection with the town’s incorporation. That plat shows three streets running north and south and eight streets running east and west. The north/south streets were named Oklahoma, Kansas & Missouri, and the east/west streets north of what is now Broadway were named for Union generals, while the east/west streets to the south were named for Confederate generals. These names were later changed; east/west streets are now identified by street numbers, and north/south streets are now named after trees. The original street names were changed to their present names around 1960.[5]

By the time Oklahoma became a state on November 16, 1907, Owasso had a population of 379 within the town limits. The first newspaper was The Owasso Ledger, and was first published on August 7, 1903 by U. P. Wardrip. The subscription price was $1.00 per year, paid in advance. The Pioneer Telephone and Telegraph Company was granted a franchise on February 6, 1905 for the town’s first telephone exchange. Until the first water tower was erected in 1924, with Spavinaw as the water source, water came into town in barrels from the Owasso Lake and sold for $0.50 a barrel.

Owasso was chartered as a city on September 28, 1972.[1]


Owasso is a northern suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, located in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma known as "Green Country" for its green vegetation, hills and lakes, which contrast the drier Great Plains region of central and western Oklahoma. The geographic coordinates of the city of Owasso are 36°17′25″N 95°49′43″W / 36.29028°N 95.82861°W / 36.29028; -95.82861 (36.290373, -95.828640).[6] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.31 square miles (42.2 km2), 99.9% of which is land, the remainder being water.


Owasso lies in Tornado Alley and has a temperate climate of the humid subtropical variety (Köppen Cfa) with a yearly average temperature of 59 °F (15 °C) and an average precipitation of 39.5 inches (1,000 mm).[7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 373
1920 379 1.6%
1930 416 9.8%
1940 371 −10.8%
1950 431 16.2%
1960 2,032 371.5%
1970 3,491 71.8%
1980 6,149 76.1%
1990 11,151 81.3%
2000 18,502 65.9%
2010 28,915 56.3%
Est. 2013 32,472 12.3%

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 28,915 people, 10,689 households, and 7,807 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,775.3 people per square mile (712.2/km²). There were 7,004 housing units at an average density of 698.2 per square mile (269.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.4% White, 2.8% Black, 6.8% Native American, 1.8% Asian (0.7% Hmong, 0.3% Chinese, 0.3% Indian), 0.2% Pacific Islander, 3.0% from other races, and 3.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.7% of the population.[13][14]

There were 10,689 households out of which 46.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.3% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 19.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.81 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the city the population was spread out with 33.1% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 17.2% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $66,572, and the median income for a family was $76,044. The per capita income for the city was $27,634. About 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line.[15][16] Of the city's population over the age of 25, 30.8% holds a bachelor's degree or higher.

Current city data shows the population has grown to 39,517 and is expected to grow another 19% by 2014. More than 80% of the households in Owasso are families, and more Owasso residents have a post-secondary education than in the Tulsa metro area. Owasso is one of the fastest growing cities in the State of Oklahoma. According to the city's data, the average household income in Owasso is $80,877.[17]


Owasso's newspapers, the Owasso Reporter and the Owasso Progress, are both published weekly. The Reporter is owned by Community Publishers, a newspaper and Internet publisher and commercial printer that serves Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. The Progress is owned by Community Newspaper Holdings. Owasso has two community websites, Owassoisms and N2Owasso, that provide everyone in the community a free place to discuss local topics, share status updates, blog, list events, participate in discussions, and share photos and videos.[18]


Owasso became a bedroom community in the 1950s for Tulsa, which was only 12 miles (19 km) away. As Tulsa expanded, so did industry around Owasso, stimulating further growth. Industrial development proceeded through the 1980s and 1990s. Factories included American Airlines, with nine thousand employees, Nordam Group, with seventeen hundred, and Whirlpool, with twelve hundred and MCI WorldCom with twenty-two hundred.[5]


Owasso has a council-manager form of government.[5]

Notable people[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

The webcomic Penny Arcade mentions Owasso when one of the two main characters, Tycho Brahe, confesses that he once killed an old woman and buried her there.[21]

The movie The Outsiders has the old Owasso High School (currently the Owasso 7th Grade Center) in the background. Another scene shows downtown Owasso (Main Street) in the background.

The movie Midnight Runaround features a scene shot in a barn on the west side of Owasso. The movie refers to the location as Sperry, Oklahoma which actually sits further west of Owasso.

The nonfictional novel War Wagon by Patrick Hamblin references Bird Creek in Owasso, Oklahoma as the location of a stash of gold coins hidden by the Confederate Army during a retreat. Original documentation mentions a rock outcropping over the creek but the actual treasure has yet to be discovered. In 1984 a single coin was found that renewed interest in this legend.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Tulsa City-County Library Website: "Tulsa Area History: Tulsa County Communities" Accessed April 9, 2011.[1][dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "MuniNetGuide:Owasso." Retrieved July 22, 2011. Oklahoma
  5. ^ a b c d e Marcia Boutwell, "Owasso" Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ Owasso, Oklahoma, Weatherbase.com. (accessed October 13, 2013)
  8. ^ "Population-Oklahoma". U.S. Census 1910. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Population-Oklahoma". 15th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Oklahoma". 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Oklahoma: Population and Housing Unit Counts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  13. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  14. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  15. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  16. ^ Owasso (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  17. ^ Community Profile, City of Owasso website
  18. ^ "N2Owasso". Retrieved 2011-10-25. 
  19. ^ Curtis Sittenfeld,"Heaven, heartache and the power of deviled eggs", Salon.com, May 24, 2008.
  20. ^ Brandy McDonnell, "Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood moving from Oklahoma to Nashville", The Oklahoman, March 19, 2014.
  21. ^ Penny Arcade - Additional Revelations