Pryor Creek, Oklahoma

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Pryor Creek, Oklahoma
A Town For All Seasons
Location of Pryor Creek and Mayes County
Location of Pryor Creek and Mayes County
Coordinates: 36°18′30″N 95°19′1″W / 36.30833°N 95.31694°W / 36.30833; -95.31694Coordinates: 36°18′30″N 95°19′1″W / 36.30833°N 95.31694°W / 36.30833; -95.31694[1]
CountryUnited States
 • MayorLarry Lees [2]
 • Total6.5 sq mi (16.9 km2)
 • Land6.5 sq mi (16.8 km2)
 • Water0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)  0.31%
Elevation630 ft (190 m)
 • Total9,539
 • Density1,500/sq mi (560/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code918/539
FIPS code40-60950 [1]
GNIS feature ID1102850 [1]

Pryor Creek or Pryor[1][3][4] is a city in and county seat of Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 8,659 at the 2000 census, compared to 9,539 in the 2010 census.[5]

Originally named Coo-Y-Yah, Cherokee for "place of the huckleberries",[6] it was renamed Pryor Creek in 1887 which was the name of the local railroad station, which is turn was named for the nearby creek. Due to confusion in distinguishing handwritten mailing addresses to Pryor Creek and Pond Creek, the U.S. Postal Service name for the city was shortened to Pryor, and both names are in common usage.


In the early 1800s, treaties with the Cherokee, Osage, and Choctaw gave the tribes allotments in Indian Territory in the region that would become Oklahoma.[7] Captain Nathaniel Hale Pryor, who was married to an Osage woman and served as an agent to the Osage people, was among those settling northeastern Oklahoma.[8] He established a trading post on Grand River, shortly before the Union Mission was established 5 miles southeast of present-day Chouteau in 1820.[9]

Pryor Creek is along the path of the Texas Road cattle trail,[10] and the later Jefferson Highway[11] of the early National Trail System, both roughly along the route of U.S. Route 69 through Oklahoma today.

In 1870, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad started construction in the Cherokee Nation along the Kansas border, laying tracks to Texas. By June 1871, the railroad reached present-day Pryor Creek.[12]

A post office was eventually established naming the town Coo-y-yah, Indian Territory. Coo-y-yah is Cherokee for "place of the huckleberries".[6] On April 23, 1887, Coo-y-yah was changed to Pryor Creek, but the "Creek" was dropped by the post office on January 26, 1909.[13][The official name of the city government is still Pryor Creek despite a proposition put before voters in 1963 to change the name officially to Pryor.[12]

In 1951, voters approved the present city charter of a mayor-council government system, which provided for the election of a mayor, clerk, treasurer, police chief and eight councilors. The charter also established a cemetery, park, library board, and a municipal utility board, which oversees operations of the city-owned gas, water, electric and sewer systems.[12]

On April 27, 1942, a tornado swept along Pryor's main street from the western edge of the business district to the eastern edge of the city, destroying nearly every building and causing extensive damage to the residential section. The storm killed 52 people, according to the U.S. Weather Bureau, but The Associated Press set the total at 60 two days after the storm. More than 400 were injured in the storm that caused damage estimated at US$3 million.[12]

The F4 tornado struck about 5 p.m. (17:00) local time, an hour and a half after one hit near Talala, Oklahoma, and mowed a path about 5 miles (8 km) long, killing three and injuring 12. Talala, which was not hit, is about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Pryor Creek. Governor Leon C. Phillips put the area under martial law, but because the Oklahoma National Guard had been activated for service during World War II, he sent state troopers to rescue victims, maintain order and prevent looting.[14]

The Pryor tornado ranks as the fifth deadliest in Oklahoma history behind tornadoes at Woodward in 1947, Snyder in 1905, Peggs in 1920, and Antlers in 1945. The May 3, 1999, tornado at Midwest City caused more damage but fewer deaths.[15]


Pryor is located in northeast Oklahoma at the intersection of US Route 69 and Oklahoma State Highway 20. The stream known as Pryor Creek flows past the west and south sides of the city.[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.5 square miles (16.9 km²), of which, 6.5 square miles (16.8 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.31%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20189,411[16]−1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

As of the 2010 census Pryor Creek had a population of 9,539. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 72.3% white, 0.7% African American, 16.9% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 1.9% reporting some other race and 7.7% reporting two or more races. Hispanic or Latino Americans were 4.9% of the population.[18]

As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 8,659 people, 3,567 households, and 2,343 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,332.5 people per square mile (514.3/km²). There were 3,887 housing units at an average density of 598.2 per square mile (230.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.91% White, 0.29% African American, 14.12% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.97% from other races, and 6.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 2.78% of the population.

There were 3,567 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 30.9% of households were made up of individuals and 16.3% 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.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,424, and the median income for a family was $37,115. Males had a median income of $33,547 versus $20,737 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,887. About 10.8% of families and 13.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.9% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.


The mayor is elected citywide for a two-year term. The city is divided into four wards which each elect two councilmen to two-year terms. In 2018 it was proposed that the City Manager will assume control over city services and funds with the mayor acting in a ceremonial capacity, however the mayor will still be chairman of the city council.


Pryor Creek Public Schools includes one early childhood center, three primary schools, one junior high school, one senior high school, a performing arts auditorium and a basketball arena.[12][20]

Pryor Creek is also home to Northeast Technology Center-Pryor and Pryor Beauty College.[21] Rogers State University has a branch campus in Pryor.[12]

The Thunderbird Youth Academy, funded by the Federal Government and operated by the Oklahoma National Guard, is a twenty-two-week program to help high school dropouts restructure their lives. It is open to men and women who are Oklahoma residents, 16 to 18 years old, and is free to the participants. It is held at the site of the former Whitaker State Orphans Home.[13]


Google Data Center, outside Pryor Creek
Mid-America Industrial Airport near Pryor Creek
George Jones performing at the Country Fever Festival in 2005

MidAmerica Industrial Park is located about 4 miles (6.4 km) south of Pryor.[22]

In May 2007 Google announced its plans to build a large Internet data center at the Mid-America Industrial Park. The $600 million facility is now open and employs around 400 people. It is currently Google's second largest data center in the world.[23] Google shut the worksite down in 2008 because of the status of the United States economy and work on its overseas projects and affairs,[24] then restarted the project in October 2010 and opened at the end of September 2011.[25][26]

In February 2018, Google announced a $600 million expansion to their data center in Pryor. The investment was to build a new four-story data center, which brought Pryor to be Google's second largest data center in their operations. This brings their total investment in the Pryor community to $2.5 billion.[23]

According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, manufacturing employs about 40 percent of the city's workforce. It is the seventh largest manufacturing center in the state. The main industries that it serves are: machinery, metals, electronics and transportation equipment.[13]

Places and Events[edit]

Pryor is host to Rocklahoma, an annual music festival located 4 miles (6.4 km) north of town.[27]

The Coo-Y-Yah Museum is housed in the old Katy Railroad Depot, operated by the Mayes County Historical Society, and contains various Native American and pioneer exhibits.[6]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Area recreational facilities include Pryor Creek Recreation Center, a state-of-the-art fitness venue in a 21,000-square-foot facility housing an indoor pool, a fully-equipped gym and more.[28] Pryor’s five city parks include 24-acre Whitaker Park, which includes an outdoor pool, a fishing pond, and sport facilities; Centennial Park, which has a walking trail and fitness course; and, Earl Ward Park, home to the Pryor Creek Golf Club, an 18-hole, par 72 municipal golf course.[28] Pryor is cradled among Lake Hudson (to the east), Lake Oologah (to the northwest), and Fort Gibson Lake (to the south).[29]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Pryor Creek, Oklahoma
  2. ^ Pryor Creek government.
  3. ^ a b Oklahoma Atlas & Gazeteer, DeLorme, 1st Edition, 1998, p. 36 ISBN 0899332838
  4. ^ Pryor, OK, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangles, USGS, and 1970 and 2012
  5. ^ Pryor Daily Times, "Mayes County Grows by 3,000." April 11, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2011.[1]
  6. ^ a b c "Coo-Y-Yah Museum". TravelOK. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Dianna Everett, "Indian Territory." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed August 5, 2013
  8. ^ May, Jon D. "Pryor, Nathaniel," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed August 5, 2013)
  9. ^ Amanda Carney, "Mayes County, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed August 5, 2013
  10. ^ "Texas Road". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "Jefferson Highway Map". Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Pryor, Oklahoma. "History of Pryor." Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c George W. Tilly, "Pryor Creek," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed August 5, 2013)
  14. ^ "Pryor tornado disaster," New York Times, April 28, 1942. (accessed August 5, 2013)
  15. ^ "Oklahoma’s 10 deadliest tornadoes." NewsOK. March 7, 2009. (accessed August 5, 2013)
  16. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. ^ 2010 general profile of population and housing characteristics of Pryor Creek at [ American FactFinder] (accessed August 5, 2013)
  19. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  20. ^ "Pryor Public Schools". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  21. ^ - Pryor Creek - Education (accessed August 5, 2013)
  22. ^ "Small-town Pryor getting some big hits". Tulsa World: Archived from the original on 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2011-09-14.
  23. ^ a b "Google Press Release - Pryor Public Schools". Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  24. ^ Google Confirms $600 mil Project
  25. ^ Kyle Arnold, Google reboots data site in Pryor, Tulsa World, October 22, 2010.
  26. ^ Robert Evatt, Google plugs in data center in Pryor, Tulsa World, September 30, 2011
  27. ^ "Festival Info". Rocklahoma. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Parks and Recreation". The City of Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  29. ^ "Pryor, Oklahoma". Google Maps. Retrieved October 19, 2019.

External links[edit]