Oklahoma City was settled in April of 1889, when what were known as “unassigned lands,” or lands in Indian territory not assigned to any particular tribe, opened for settlement. Originally called the Village of Oklahoma, around 10,000 homesteaders flocked to the area between 1890 and 1900, quickly doubling the population.
In the early years, Oklahoma City became a bustling commercial and transportation hub due to the construction of the railroad watering stop known as Oklahoma Station along the Southern Kansas Railway line. Educational facilities were quickly established, as well as several churches, many of which are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Economic development continued into the 1920s and the city has experienced continual population growth through the 20th century into the 21st.
Today, residents and tourists alike can enjoy countless opportunities to explore Oklahoma City history. Let’s look at a few of the most popular historical OKC attractions and things to do to learn more about the area’s past.
Discover OKC Attractions Rich in History
Oklahoma History Center
You can spend the day surrounded by Oklahoma’s rich and exciting past at the Oklahoma History Center, located across from the state Capitol. Inside, you can experience more than 50 different topics and over 2,000 artifacts related to the history of Oklahoma. The building also houses a 215,000 square foot learning center with five galleries for hands-on video, audio and computer activities.
Automobile Alley Historic District
The core area of Automobile Alley is Broadway Avenue, which has been a part of OKC since the very beginning. This historic district developed in the 1920s as early residential homes turned into commercial buildings and the area became host to over 50 car dealerships. Today, you can stroll through the area and take in many historic buildings still standing while enjoying a variety of excellent dining and shopping options along the way.
St. Joseph Old Cathedral and St. Paul Episcopal Cathedral
St. Joseph Old Cathedral, located adjacent to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Center, is considered one of the first brick and mortar churches in the city, celebrating its first mass in 1889. Located within walking distance of the city center, St. Paul Episcopal Church was also one of the first churches in the state, serving the downtown community since 1904. Both churches are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Oklahoma City National Memorial Center
The Oklahoma City National Memorial was created to honor and remember those who were killed, those who survived and those who were changed forever following the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. Visitors can spend time at the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial, encompassing the area where the Murrah Building once stood, as well as head inside to the Memorial Museum for an interactive learning experience and self-guided tour following the events of that tragic day.
Built in 1903 by early-day entrepreneur Henry Overholser, considered by many to be the “father of Oklahoma City,” the Overholser Mansion was the first true mansion in Oklahoma City. Today, the home is owned by the Oklahoma Historical Society, and it still stands as a tribute to one of the city’s remarkable families. Visitors can take guided tours Tuesday through Saturday to view the home’s beauty for themselves.
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
The Skirvin Hilton is conveniently located near several downtown OKC attractions, including Bricktown, Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and much more. The hotel originally opened in 1911 and was named for its founder, William Balser “Bill” Skirvin. Recently restored to its original façade, the hotel today combines historic beauty with modern luxury and continues to be one of the most coveted Oklahoma landmarks.
Our Vibrant Continuing Care Retirement Community in OKC
Concordia Life Care Community is conveniently located in northwest OKC, so residents enjoy easy access to all the downtown area has to offer. You’ll enjoy a variety of events and activities both on and off campus to ensure you enjoy plenty of social engagement and opportunities to enhance your mind, body and soul. Learn more about senior living in Oklahoma City and what life at Concordia is truly like by contacting us today.