A view of the town in 1978 looking towards the old post office
Location of Stringtown, Oklahoma
|• Mayor and Chairman of Water Department||Sonny Richards|
|• Total||4.7 sq mi (12.2 km2)|
|• Land||4.7 sq mi (12.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.08 sq mi (0.2 km2)|
|Elevation||627 ft (191 m)|
|• Density||88/sq mi (33.9/km2)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1098585|
Stringtown is a town in Atoka County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 410 at the 2010 census, an increase of 3.5 percent from 396 at the 2000 census. It is the second largest town in Atoka County.
The town is notable for the Mack H. Alford Correctional Center, a medium-security prison operated by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, just outside Stringtown.
Stringtown is located at (34.468448, -96.052860).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12.2 km2), of which 4.7 square miles (12.1 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 1.24%, is water.
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Originally named Springtown, for the natural springs that flow out of the hills the town is built upon, the current name is believed to be a corruption. Once home to a bank, theater and pub, the town has declined over the years, both economically and in population. In the past five years, small population growth and the addition of a new cafe have brought new life to the town. Annually in September, the Good Ole Days Festival celebrates the town's past with parade, cookout, and concert.
On August 5, 1932, while Bonnie Parker was visiting her mother, Clyde Barrow and two associates were drinking alcohol at a dance in Stringtown (illegal under Prohibition). When they were approached by Sheriff C. G. Maxwell and his deputy, Clyde opened fire, killing deputy Eugene C. Moore. That was the first killing of a lawman by what was later known as the Barrow Gang, a total which would eventually amount to nine slain officers.
In the late 1960s, a tornado touched down in the town directly on top of the (then) recently built Community Center, now the Senior Citizens Center. The tornado was only on the ground for a few seconds, but during that time the building was almost destroyed. It was an unusual occurrence for a tornado to touch down in the town itself, given its being situated between two chains of steep hills.
The nearby Mack Alford State Penitentiary is a large source of employment in the county. It was an internment camp for Japanese Americans arrested as "enemy aliens" and later for German POWs during World War II.
Despite its small size, Stringtown (2010 pop. 410) is the second-largest town in Atoka County, behind Atoka (pop. 3,107) and ahead of Tushka (pop. 312). On January 14, 2014, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol disbanded the Stringtown Police Department for generating too much of the city’s revenue off of writing traffic tickets, a violation of the state "speed trap" law.
The Garside house is one of the biggest historical sites of the town, next to the Bonnie and Clyde monument. The land the Garside house sits on was allotted to Joseph and Sarah Garside and their two kids in 1902. In the middle of building the house a tornado had come through the town and torn down the part of the house that had been built. The Garside’s had to start from the bottom again but they finished in 1915 with a beautiful two story house. The house and land was later bought by E. H. Colbertson, who just so happened to be the first white man to buy land in that area. Approximately four years ago, the house had be remodeled and decorated to be a museum.
The Rock Crusher is another big part of the town’s history, and is also one of the biggest sources of employment in the county. The crusher moved from Chockee to Stringtown in the early 1900s. Up until this point Stringtown had not had electricity yet. The railroad that runs through Stringtown stretch’s from south Texas, takes several routes in Oklahoma and Kansas, and reaches to the Northern parts of Missouri. The part that runs through Stringtown was built in 1872 and is known now as the Union Pacific Railroad.
Stringtown was once home to a sawmill and a cotton gin that had the biggest production rate in the late 1800s. When the fire came through the town on July 15, 1954, the sawmill and cotton gin burned down, along with half the town. Stringtown had a café, a jail house, a barbershop, a bank, and a hotel that also burned down that day. All that was left was Robert’s Store and a few homes. The town never really rebuilt after this. Today, we have a school, a church, a fire department, City Hall, Dianna’s store, and a senior citizens building.
A state investigation revealed that 76 percent of the Stringtown's 2013 budget came from traffic tickets. The investigation found excessive speed trapping, and the police department was disbanded in 2014.
Government and infrastructure
As of the census of 2000, there were 396 people, 166 households, and 113 families residing in the town. The population density was 83.7 people per square mile (32.3/km²). There were 217 housing units at an average density of 45.9 per square mile (17.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 69.95% White, 11.36% African American, 10.35% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.25% Pacific Islander, and 7.83% from two or more races.
There were 166 households out of which 26.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the town, the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 27.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 103.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $20,536, and the median income for a family was $22,614. Males had a median income of $19,643 versus $14,861 for females. The per capita income for the town was $9,612. About 15.1% of families and 25.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.0% of those under age 18 and 30.9% of those age 65 or over.
- Reba McEntire, American country singer
- U L Washington, American former professional baseball player
- Tyrus McGee, American professional basketball player
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- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Stringtown town, Oklahoma". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Official State Map (Map) (2008 ed.). Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
- "Stringtown (detention facility)" Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-06-20.
- J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord & R. Lord. Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites, "U.S. Army Facilities: Stringtown, Oklahoma", (National Park Service, 2001); retrieved 2014-06-20.
- "New laws aim to put brakes on nation's speed traps", CBS News; retrieved May 03, 2017.
- "Post Office Location - STRINGTOWN", United States Postal Service; retrieved November 22, 2010.
- "Mack Alford Correctional Center", Oklahoma Department of Corrections; retrieved November 22, 2010.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.