The Two Mannfords

The incorporated town derived its name from a Cimarron River crossing known as Mann’s Ford, named for Creek allottees Tom and Hazel Mann. Located on approximately eighty acres of Mann’s allotment, the community served ranchers and farmers. Between 1902 and 1903 the Arkansas Valley and Western Railway (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) built a line west of Tulsa that passed through Mannford and made it an active shipping point for cattle. A post office was soon established on April 11, 1903, with Frederick E. Martin as the first postmaster. In 1906 the Mannford State Bank was chartered. A year later an oil discovery well was drilled, and the Mannford Enterprise newspaper was established. By 1909 the community’s estimated population of two hundred supported a livery, a blacksmith, and a cotton gin. By 1919 Mannford was served by the Pioneer Telephone Company, the Mannford Oil and Gas Company, a flour mill, a hotel, and a restaurant.

The population remained steady in the decades between 1930 and 1950. The first federal census for Mannford reported 421 residents in 1930. Two cotton gins, eight oil and gas companies, and a pipeline company operated during the 1930s. In 1940 a hardware and implements store, several grocery stores, and gasoline stations served the 403 inhabitants. By 1955 an oil-well service company had located in the town of 426 residents.

Current Mannford lies south of Lake Keystone. In 1958 plans developed for the construction of Keystone Reservoir, which would cause regular flooding in the original town. Eighty-three of ninety-three registered voters went to the polls in June 1959 and cast ballots in favor of moving the town to the southeast. Extolled as the first comprehensively planned relocated town in Oklahoma’s history, Mannford had a new school and municipal buildings and paved streets. The population climbed to 892 in 1970, 1,610 in 1980, and 1,826 in 1990. At the turn of the twenty-first century Mannford’s population of 2,095 supported a school system, a weekly newspaper, and a public library. Most employed residents commuted to work in Sand Springs and Tulsa. The 2010 census reported an increase to 3,076 inhabitants.

Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society

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