Historical Marker in
Pawnee County, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Thunder is the state's only major professional sports team. The team, which plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA), has had many successful seasons and is a source of pride for Oklahoma sports fans.
Pawnee County, Oklahoma has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century when it was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Pawnee and the Osage. These tribes relied on the area's fertile land and abundant wildlife for their sustenance and established several villages throughout the region.

In the 1860s, with the arrival of European settlers, Pawnee County began to see an influx of people in search of land and opportunity. The area quickly developed into a thriving agricultural community, with farmers cultivating crops such as wheat, corn, and cotton. The railroad also played a crucial role in the county's growth, connecting the region to major markets and facilitating trade.

The early 20th century brought significant changes to Pawnee County. The discovery of oil in nearby areas led to a boom in oil exploration and production within the county. As a result, oil fields and refineries sprung up, attracting workers and boosting the local economy. However, with the decline of the oil industry in the 1920s, Pawnee County experienced an economic downturn, which was exacerbated by the Great Depression.

Despite the challenges faced during the Depression, Pawnee County rebounded in the post-war years. The agricultural industry diversified, with livestock and poultry becoming significant contributors to the local economy. Furthermore, the construction of the Keystone Dam in the 1960s brought additional economic growth, providing recreational opportunities and supporting industries like tourism and fishing.

Today, Pawnee County continues to thrive as a primarily rural community with a strong focus on agriculture. The county's rich history is celebrated through various annual events and festivals, such as the Pawnee Bill Memorial Rodeo and the Pawnee Indian Veterans Homecoming.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Pawnee County, Oklahoma.

  • 1832 - Pawnee County is established as part of Indian Territory
  • 1870 - Pawnee Agency is established as a trading post for the Pawnee tribe
  • 1893 - Land Run: Non-Indigenous settlers rush to claim land in Pawnee County
  • 1898 - Pawnee County Courthouse is built in Pawnee
  • 1907 - Oklahoma becomes a state, and Pawnee County is part of the new state
  • 1930s - Pawnee County suffers during the Great Depression, with many residents struggling economically
  • 1942 - Hallett Army Airfield is established during World War II
  • 1950s-1970s - Pawnee County experiences a decline in population due to rural depopulation and economic changes
  • 1993 - Pawnee Bill Memorial Rodeo is first held to honor Wild West showman, Gordon W. "Pawnee Bill" Lillie
  • 2007 - Keystone Ancient Forest, a protected nature reserve, is established in Pawnee County
  • 2014 - Pawnee County experiences a series of earthquakes attributed to wastewater disposal from oil and gas operations