Chickasha, Oklahoma

Coordinates: 35°02′28″N 97°56′50″W / 35.04111°N 97.94722°W / 35.04111; -97.94722
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Chickasha, Oklahoma
Rock Island Depot in Chickasha
Rock Island Depot in Chickasha
Chickasha city limits on Grady County
Chickasha city limits on Grady County
Chickasha, Oklahoma is located in the United States
Chickasha, Oklahoma
Chickasha, Oklahoma
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°02′28″N 97°56′50″W / 35.04111°N 97.94722°W / 35.04111; -97.94722
CountryUnited States
 • MayorChris Mosley
 • Total22.48 sq mi (58.23 km2)
 • Land22.43 sq mi (58.11 km2)
 • Water0.05 sq mi (0.12 km2)
Elevation1,112 ft (339 m)
 • Total16,051
 • Density715.44/sq mi (276.24/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
73018, 73023
Area code405
FIPS code40-13950[3]
GNIS feature ID2409446[2]

Chickasha /ˈɪkəʃ/ is a city in and the county seat of Grady County, Oklahoma, United States.[4] The population was 16,051 at the 2020 census, a 0.1% increase from 2010.[5] The city is named for and strongly connected to Native American heritage, as "Chickasha" (Chikashsha) is the Choctaw word for Chickasaw. Chickasha is home to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.


Chickasha was founded by Hobart Johnstone Whitley, a land developer, banker, farmer and Rock Island Railroad executive.[6] At the time of its founding, Chickasha was located in Pontotoc County, Chickasaw Nation.[7] The founding took place in 1892 when the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (Rock Island) built a track through Indian Territory. A post office was established in June 1892. One of the earliest industrial plants to come to Chickasha was the Chickasha Cotton Oil Company, which was established in 1899.[8] The town incorporated in 1902.[9] From 1910 to 1927, the town was served by the Chickasha Street Railway, the town’s own electric trolley system.[10]

In 1908, the Oklahoma Industrial Institute and College for Girls was established in Chickasha. A local rancher named J. B. Sparks donated land for the school in memory of his daughter, Nellie. The girl was a Chickasaw descendant, and the land had been part of her allotment. The Nellie Sparks Dormitory commemorated her. The school was renamed as the Oklahoma College for Women in 1916. It became coeducational in 1965, and was renamed the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts. It was renamed again in 1975 as the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.[9]

The Wilson and Bonfis Flying School opened in October 1941 to train cadets of the U.S. Army Air Force. Over eight thousand cadets completed training there during World War II. After the war, the facility became the Chickasha Municipal Airport.[9]

Also during the war, the army built and used Borden General Hospital. This site now contains Grady Memorial Hospital, Five Oaks Medical Group, Southern Plains Medical Center and Borden Park.[9]

A prisoner of war camp established in 1944 is now the site of the Grady County Fairgrounds.[9]

A panoramic view showing wooden houses and businesses, many along two main dirt roads that meet at a corner
Chickasha, 1909


Chickasha is located west of the center of Grady County and is 42 miles (68 km) southwest of Oklahoma City,[9] which is accessible via Interstate 44 (the H. E. Bailey Turnpike). I-44 passes through the southeast side of the city, with access from Exits 80 and 83, and leads southwest 47 miles (76 km) to Lawton. U.S. Route 62 runs through the city as Choctaw Avenue, leading east and then northeast 18 miles (29 km) to Blanchard and west 18 miles to Anadarko. U.S. Route 81 passes through the city center, leading south 40 miles (64 km) to Duncan and north 35 miles (56 km) to El Reno. U.S. Route 277 enters Chickasha from the south with US 81 and leaves to the east with US 62.

Line Creek passes through the north part of the city and flows into the Washita River about one mile northeast of the city.[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.1 square miles (57.2 km2), of which 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.22%, is water.[5] The Washita River flows through the northern end of the city, then turns south and forms part of the city's eastern border.


Climate data for Chickasha, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 87
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 52
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 26
Record low °F (°C) −11
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.5
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1
Average rainy days 3.2 3.2 4.8 6.4 7.3 6.6 4.8 4.8 5.2 5.2 3.2 3.6 58.3
Average relative humidity (%) 70 69 62 62 71 69 67 64 63 65 63 67 66


Historical population

As of the 2010 Census, there were 16,036 people, 6,374 households, and 3,898 families residing in the city.[16][17] From 2000 to 2010, the Chickasha city population growth percentage was 1.2% (or from 15,850 people to 16,036 people). There were 7,380 housing units.[18] The racial makeup of the city was 80.0% White, 7.1% African American, 4.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.1% from other races, and 5.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.5% of the population.[19]

Of the 6,434 households, 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.95.[16]

The population included 22.8% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 24.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.[20]

According to the 2009-2013 American Community Survey (ACS), the median income for a household in the city was $38,341, and the median income for a family was $44,547. Males had a median income of $38,987 versus $27,357 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,848. About 12.9% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.0% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.[21]


Agriculture, particularly wheat production, and cattle raising have been important to the city's economy since its earliest days. Manufacturing became important about the middle of the 20th century. ArvinMeritor Replacement Parts and Delta Faucet opened facilities in the 1970s.[9]

Arts and culture[edit]

Shannon Springs Park during the Annual Festival of Light

The city's annual Festival of Light takes place at the 43-acre (170,000 m2) Shannon Springs Park and opens nightly from around Thanksgiving to the end of December. Concessions, carriage rides, pictures with Santa, and shopping are available. The Festival of Light has received many awards over the years including Regional Event of the Year, A.B.A. Top 100 Event, National Top 25 Holiday Event, Festival of the Year, Best Community Festival Event and Best Place to Take Out of Town Visitors. The festival has been featured statewide on Discover Oklahoma, ranked as a Top Place to Visit by Fine Living Network (2004), and designated as an official 2007 Oklahoma Centennial Event. Over 140 businesses and clubs sponsor the event in various ways. The installation of lights in 290 trees, 8 miles (13 km) of walk-ways, bridges, arbors, gazebos and buildings begins in September; however, it takes through March to get the lights taken down and stored away. More than 1,200 volunteers donate time and skill, and now Display Sponsors have reached the 100 mark. The park has over 3.5 million lights, and the crystal pedestrian bridge boasts over 75,000 lights alone. It draws together over a thousand local volunteers and more than 250,000 visitors from across the United States.[22]

A statue of a woman in Native American costume in front of a yellow brick three-story building.
Te Ata statue in front of Trout Hall on the USAO campus

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma hosts an annual festival, the Spring Triad, which is made up of the Montmartre Chalk Art Festival, the Droverstock music festival, and the Scholastic Meet.[23][24] The event is held annually on the first Thursday of April.[25] The art festival is held around the USAO Oval, where over 700 artists compete in a chalk art contest.[26][27] Droverstock features over 12 hours of live music from various bands of all styles and genres.[28] There are also many vendors, inflatables, and activities associated with the festival.[28] The Scholastic Meet attracts around 1000 students annually from over 50 Oklahoma counties who compete in academic disciplines such as math, science, music, history, and other subjects.[29][30] The competition is the largest academic meet in the state. Overall, the day-long event attracts thousands into the community.[25]

The Muscle Car Ranch located on the south edge of Chickasha hosts an annual swap meet and concert, which is held in August. The Ranch, located on 70 acres (280,000 m2) of a 1900s dairy farm, features hundreds of nostalgic advertisements and memorabilia representing the last 75 years of American history.[31] The concert has featured rock and roll groups such as The Byrds, The Grass Roots, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Jefferson Airplane, The Lovin' Spoonful, Firefall, John Conlee, Dr. Hook and Bad Company.[32][33]

From a small local swapmeet, the Chickasha Pre-war Swap Meet has evolved to be one of the significant swapmeets for owners and collectors of cars from before 1942 (World War II). According to numerous posts in the forum of the Model T Club of America, the Chickasha Pre-war Swap Meet is considered the best Ford Model T swapmeet in the US.[34]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Lake Chickasha is a City-owned lake located northwest of town in neighboring Caddo County.[35][36] It offers recreation such as swimming, boating, and water sports, as well as hiking, camping, and playground usage.[37]

Shannon Springs Park has a splash pad and pool, free fishing for those under 16 or over 65, playground equipment, an outdoor amphitheater, pavilions and more.[37] Events are held here such as the annual Festival of Lights.[37]

The Chickasha Sports Complex hosts regional baseball, softball and soccer tournaments, as well as facilitating local games and practice sessions.[37]


Chickasha has an elected mayor and city council, with a city manager on its staff.[9]


A one-room schoolhouse with white-painted wooden siding
Verden Separate School in Chickasha

Chickasha Public School District includes Chickasha High School, Chickasha Middle School, Lincoln Elementary, Grand Elementary, and the Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center.[38]

Chickasha is the current location of a historic schoolhouse that served black children in Grady County. Verden Separate School was built by African American Allen Toles on his own property in the nearby town of Verden in 1910.[39] The school operated until 1935.[40] The school building was rediscovered by historians in 2004 and restored and relocated to Chickasha.[40] It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[40]

A branch of Canadian Valley Technology Center provides vocational and community education in Chickasha.[41]

The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Oklahoma's public liberal arts college, is located in Chickasha. It was founded in 1908 by the Oklahoma State Legislature as Oklahoma Industrial Institute and College for Girls.[42] The school's name was officially changed to Oklahoma College for Women in 1916.[43] In 1965, the school became coeducational, and its name was changed to Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts.[44] The school is currently known as the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.



Chickasha is served by Interstate 44, US Route 62, US Route 81, US Route 277, US Route 62, State 39, State 19, and State 92.[45]

Chickasha Municipal Airport (KCHK; FAA ID CHK), owned by the city and about 3 miles northwest, has multiple runways, the longest of which is 5101 ft by 100 ft and concrete-surfaced.[46]

Commercial air transportation is available at Will Rogers World Airport, about 38 miles northeast.[47]

Rail freight service is provided by Union Pacific. Union Pacific honors Chickasha as a “Train Town USA,” one of 131 communities out of the 7,300 communities it serves, because of the town’s unique, long-standing relationship with the railroad.[48]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Chickasha, Oklahoma
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 3, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Chickasha city, Oklahoma". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2017.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Hollywoodland H. J. Whitley."
  7. ^ Charles Goins, Historical Atlas of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006), p. 105.
  8. ^ Munn, 7
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  19. ^ "QT-P3: Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin: 2010," Archived 2015-01-31 at archive.todayUnited States Census Bureau, 2010. Accessed January 31, 2015.
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  22. ^ "Festival of Light History," Archived 2015-01-01 at the Wayback Machine Chickasha Festival of Light, Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  23. ^ Snyder, Rachel. " Annual Drover concert begins today," The Express-Star, April 3, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2015.
  24. ^ la terra studio. "Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma: Park System Master Plan,"[permanent dead link] Chickasha Parks and Recreation Department, July 24, 2013, p. 13. Accessed January 28, 2015.
  25. ^ a b "Spring Triad Events Draw Thousands to USAO Campus" Archived January 29, 2015, at, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, April 9, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2015.
  26. ^ Coppernoll, Carrie. "USAO sidewalk chalk festival draws out creativity in Chickasha," NewsOK, April 13, 2011. Accessed January 28, 2015.
  27. ^ Vollmar, Rob. "Chalk art festival sends out call to Oklahoma artists," The Express-Star, January 26, 2015. Accessed January 28, 2015.
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  29. ^ Snyder, Rachel. "Southmoore takes first at USAO scholastic meet," The Express-Star, April 6, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2015.
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  31. ^ Krebs, Michelle. "Auto Museums in the Deep South ," The New York Times, February 20, 2008. Accessed January 28, 2015.
  32. ^ Austerman, Lisa. "Muscle Car Ranch's Auto, Motorcycle Swap Meet Is Family Event," NewsOK, August 13, 1995. Accessed January 28, 2015.
  33. ^ "Okie Noodling Championship Saturday at Muscle Car Ranch," The Express-Star, July 9, 2011. Accessed January 28, 2015.
  34. ^ Pre-War Swap Meet Pre-War Swap Meet Archived February 26, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Accessed January 21, 2015.
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  39. ^ Lane, Jessica. "Verden Separate School featured as best in country," The Express-Star, June 25, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2015.
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  41. ^ "Chickasha Campus," Archived 2014-11-19 at the Wayback Machine Canadian Valley Technology Center, Accessed January 28, 2015.
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  • Munn, Irving (1992). Chickasha: Another Journey Back in Time. Chickasha, OK: USAO Foundation.

External links[edit]