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Oklahoma became the 46th state in the United States on November 16, 1907, making it one of the youngest states in the country.
Washington County, Oklahoma, has a rich and diverse history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlers arrived in the 19th century, the area was home to various Native American tribes, including the Osage and Cherokee. These tribes hunted and farmed the fertile land along the Arkansas River, establishing trade routes and communities.

In the early 1800s, the area became part of the Louisiana Purchase and was incorporated into the Arkansas Territory. However, in 1828, the land was reassigned to the newly created Indian Territory, reserved for Native American tribes forcibly removed from their lands in the southeastern United States.

In 1867, after the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era, the Cherokee Nation was granted self-governance in the Indian Territory, including the area that is now Washington County. With the arrival of railroads in the late 19th century, the region experienced significant growth and development. Towns such as Bartlesville and Dewey were established as centers of commerce and industry.

During the early 20th century, Washington County became a major oil-producing region. The discovery of oil in 1904 led to an economic boom, attracting numerous oil companies and boosting the local economy. The industry's success allowed for the construction of grand infrastructure projects, including impressive buildings and parks, many of which still stand today.

In recent years, Washington County has continued to thrive, diversifying its economy beyond oil and natural gas. The area is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, with museums, galleries, and performing arts centers attracting visitors from near and far. Washington County remains a significant cultural and economic hub in northeastern Oklahoma, proudly preserving its history while embracing opportunities for growth and development.

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

  • 1870: Washington County was established as an original county of the Oklahoma Territory.
  • 1907: Oklahoma became a state, and Washington County continued as part of it.
  • 1921: The Tulsa Race Massacre took place in Tulsa, which is part of Washington County.
  • 1937: Bartlesville became the county seat of Washington County.
  • 1962: The Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve was opened by oilman Frank Phillips in Bartlesville.
  • 1990: The Cherokee Nation established its headquarters in Tahlequah, which is partly in Washington County.