Located nineteen miles northeast of Ada on State Highway 1 in the northeastern corner of Pontotoc County, Allen was named for Allen McCall, the son of U.S. Marshal William McCall. The post office was established April 9, 1892, with Dr. John Trigg Gilmore as postmaster.
Early settlers of Allen first resided at Cold Springs, northwest of the present townsite. Doctor Gilmore and his relatives, George and William McCall, left Gainesville, Texas, in 1882, headed for the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, and settled at Cold Springs, where others joined them. A log cabin built in 1883 was used for both a school and church with Gilmore serving as teacher and preacher. William McCall erected the first store in 1886. Doctor Gilmore, who established the Gilmore Masonic Lodge in 1894, was elected Allen's first mayor in 1904.
The Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway built a line through the area in 1909 but missed Allen by one-half mile. Promoters for a new townsite on the railroad offered free lots to those who would move their business from "Old Town" to "New Town," which rapidly grew. The L. B. Adams Lumber Company was the first business established at the new townsite.
The first church built in Allen was the Church of Christ, constructed in 1888, and the First State Bank was established soon after 1907 statehood. The Allen School District was organized in December 1907. A new school building was built in 1909–10 and eventually included grades one through twelve. The first graduating class consisted of six girls in 1919.
Allen became a boomtown in 1913 when an oil well was drilled west of the community. The population increased from 645 in 1910 to 1,389 in 1930. That number dropped to 907 in 1970, rose to 951 in 2000, but fell to 932 in 2010. Along with the petroleum industry, agriculture and ranching have been important to the local economy.
See also: SETTLEMENT PATTERNS
History of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, Vol. 1 (Ada, Okla.: Pontotoc County Historical and Genealogical Society, 1976).
Hope Patterson McInroy, Beginning at Cold Springs: The History of Allen 1882–1976 (Allen, Okla.: Privately printed, 1976).
The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Jessie Glover, “Allen,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=AL010.
© Oklahoma Historical Society.