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The state animal of Oklahoma is the American Bison, which was once hunted nearly to extinction in the 19th century. Today, bison are raised on ranches in Oklahoma and other states for their meat, hides, and other products.
Kay County is located in north-central Oklahoma and has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The earliest known inhabitants of the area were Native American tribes, including the Osage, Pawnee, and Otoe-Missouria. These tribes relied on the fertile land and abundant wildlife for their sustenance and established a thriving culture in the region.

In the early 19th century, European explorers and settlers began to make their way to present-day Kay County. The first European expedition to the area was led by American explorer Zebulon Pike in 1806. Pike's expedition marked the beginning of increased interaction between Native Americans and European settlers, as trade and commerce grew.

In 1876, the federal government established the Cherokee Outlet, which encompassed present-day Kay County, as a land reservation for the Cherokee Nation. However, in 1893, the land was opened up for settlement via the Cherokee Strip Land Run. Thousands of settlers flocked to the area on September 16, 1893, to claim their homesteads. This event significantly shaped the landscape and population of the county, as several towns and communities were established virtually overnight.

Following the land run, Kay County experienced rapid growth and development. Agriculture, oil, and gas became major industries, attracting businesses and boosting the local economy. The discovery of oil in the Blackwell oil field, known as the "Wild Mary," in 1912 further accelerated economic growth in the county. Today, Kay County continues to thrive with a diverse economy, a vibrant cultural scene, and a deep appreciation for its rich history.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Kay County, Oklahoma.

  • 1903: Kay County established
  • 1870s: Land assigned to the Tonkawa, Ponca, and Osage tribes through treaties
  • 1880s: First European settlers arrive in the area
  • 1893: Land run takes place, leading to a population boom
  • 1895: First county officers elected
  • Early 1900s: Oil and gas discoveries lead to an economic boom
  • 1922: Construction of the Marland Mansion, home of oilman E.W. Marland, begins
  • 1929: Completion of the Marland Mansion
  • 1943-1945: Kay County serves as a training site for military pilots during World War II
  • 1957: Construction of the Pioneer Woman Statue begins
  • 1967: The Pioneer Woman Statue is dedicated
  • 1974: The Marland Mansion becomes a National Historic Landmark
  • 1985: The first annual 89er Day Celebration is held in Ponca City