Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Olustee

OLUSTEE.

Located on State Highway 6, Olustee lies fourteen miles southwest of Altus in Jackson County, formerly part of Old Greer County. Seven miles northwest of Olustee William J. Fullerton dammed Turkey Creek in 1893 and had one of the first irrigated farms in the area. Fullerton Dam is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NR 76001562). Olustee (a Seminole word meaning "pond") was established in 1895 and named after the Battle of Olustee in the Civil War. The post office opened on February 27, 1895. In 1901 the first school, a twenty-six-by-sixty-foot wooden structure, was supported by a six-hundred-dollar bond issue. A cotton gin was built in 1902, and in 1905 the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway constructed a line through Olustee, which soon became a center for trade and real estate activity.

A promoter constructed the Frisco Hotel but left town after being convicted of forging school checks. The townspeople persuaded an Anadarko hotelkeeper to move his furnishings to Olustee, and the establishment became the Bentley Hotel. During peak traveling periods the proprietor's wife required that every bed be occupied by two persons of the same gender, whether or not they knew each other.

In 1903 the first newspaper, Olustee Outlook, issued glowing accounts about the community. Beginning in fall 1903 excursion trains arrived every other week, bringing prospective settlers. Townspeople held dances for the travelers' entertainment. The first automobile in Old Greer County was purchased to transport potential buyers to look at the available land. Seating sixteen people, the vehicle startled horses, causing accidents and spills.

As homestead laws required improvements on the land, lumberyards did a booming business during the first decade of the twentieth century. Before 1907 statehood Olustee had a large department store, three drug stores, six physicians, an opera house, and a music studio. In 1908 a serious race for the Jackson County seat resulted in 2,077 votes for Altus and 1,365 for Olustee. At 1907 statehood the population stood at 552 and in 1910 peaked at 850. The town had water service by 1912 and electricity by 1923. The Outlook, the Democrat, and the Chieftain informed the citizens. The 1920 and 1940 censuses counted 665 and 570, respectively, and the population leaped to 819 in 1970. At the turn of the twenty-first century Olustee had 680 residents, public schools, and an active community life. It served as a center for marketing farm products, especially wheat. The 2010 census counted 607 inhabitants.

Tal Oden

See also: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS

Bibliography

Cecil R. Chesser, Across the Lonely Years: The Story of Jackson County (Altus, Okla.: Altus Printing Co., 1971).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Tal Oden, "Olustee," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 21, 2017).

Links of Interest


About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia