Historical Marker in
Coal County, Oklahoma

Oklahoma was the birthplace of many famous people, including Will Rogers, a humorist and actor; Brad Pitt, a famous Hollywood actor; and Reba McEntire, a country music singer and actress.
Coal County, Oklahoma, located in the southern part of the state, has a rich and significant history. The county was established on November 16, 1907, just a year after Oklahoma achieved statehood. It was named after the vast coal deposits that were discovered in the area, which became a significant industry in the county for many years.

The history of Coal County can be traced back to the early 1870s when coal mining began in the region. The discovery of high-quality bituminous coal attracted numerous miners and entrepreneurs, leading to the establishment of coal mines and towns. These mining operations helped fuel the growth of the county and contributed to its economic prosperity in the early 20th century.

During its peak, Coal County had over 100 active mines and was one of the leading coal-producing regions in Oklahoma. The coal industry employed thousands of workers and played a pivotal role in the development of the county's infrastructure, including the construction of railways and towns. However, the decline of the coal industry in the mid-20th century led to a significant economic downturn for the area.

Despite the decline of the coal industry, Coal County has continued to evolve. Today, the county's economy is more diversified, with agriculture, oil and gas production, and tourism playing important roles. The history of coal mining remains a significant part of the county's culture and heritage, with several historical sites and museums preserving its legacy.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Coal County, Oklahoma.

  • 1867 - Coal County is founded as part of the Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory.
  • 1870 - The first coal mine, the Old Alderson Mine, is established in the region.
  • 1892 - The St. Louis, Oklahoma and Southern Railway is constructed, providing transportation for coal mining operations.
  • 1907 - Oklahoma becomes a state, and Coal County is officially recognized as part of the state.
  • 1920s - Coal mining reaches its peak in the county, with numerous mines and a growing population.
  • 1950s - The decline of coal mining begins as other energy sources become more prevalent.
  • 1999 - The last active coal mine in the county, the Wilburton Coal Company Mine, closes its operations.
  • Present - Coal County remains a rural area with a rich coal mining history and a small population.