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The Land Run of 1889

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Land Run of 1889

When looking at cities with dramatic foundings, I think the Oklahoma City metro should take second place, behind Romulus and Remus fighting over Rome. In a single day, the area that is now the OKC metro had a population of 50,000 boomers and sooners.


People waiting in Purcell before the Land Run.


The dramatic birth of the Oklahoma City metro

On April 22, 1889, 117 years ago, an estimated 75,000 people lined up at the borders to the Unassigned Lands, an area that now coincides with the Oklahoma City metro in central Oklahoma. Runners had the choice of a 160 acre farm lot or a city lot. 10,000 blacks also made the run, including upper and middle class blacks. As a result, several all-black towns were created in central Oklahoma, including Langston which is now home to Langston University.

By nightfall on April 22, Guthrie, the territorial capitol of Oklahoma, and Perry south of modern OKC, both had a population of about 15,000 living in makeshift tents and shacks. Oklahoman Station (later OKC) had 10,000 residents. A December 1889 report stated that Oklahoma Territory (today's central Oklahoma) had a population of 50,000.


OKC 10 months after the Land Run


And Broadway by 1911.

Today, parades and events across "Oklahoma Territory" are held to comemmorate the Land Run. Guthrie, the heart of old Oklahoma, has a week long 89er Days Celebration, culminating in a downtown carnival and parade.

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It makes the contemporary stories of a couple of dozen people "camping" out for few hours for the sales release of a new tract in a popular area seem quaint.

I surmise that there were more than a few land disputes in this particular release of properties.

Amazing story and photos. Thanks for sharing

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Didn't they make a movie like 10 years ago about the land run? I can't remember what it's called but I remember they flee Ireland and then come to America and make their way to Oklahoma and stake a piece of land.. and then the guy gets shot.. very dramatic, but I thought it was really cool how you could just ride out and stake your claim.

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