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Thread: Sandtown circa 1884

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    Doug Loudenback's Avatar
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    Default Sandtown circa 1884

    Although it goes against the grain of conventional wisdom, it well may be that the Sandtown community, claimed to have been settled in 1884 by freedmen (i.e., freed slaves formerly owned by any of the Five Civilized Tribes), is the earliest residential area of Oklahoma City, predated the April 22, 1889, Land Run by 5 years.

    How can this be so? See Doug Dawgz Blog: Sandtown Circa 1884 for the evidence presented, particularly by Ronald James Webb.

    The area called "Sandtown" was the area bounded by W. Reno on the north, May Ave. on the west, SW 6th (then called "Katherine") on the south, and the former location of the North Canadian River on the east. The Manly's Map, circa 1948-1953, shown below, shows the area.



    By today, the North Canadian River has been realigned, Interstate 40 has been built, and the old meat packing plants in Packingtown have been closed, and only a few remnants of Sandtown still exist and what's left is pretty much not recognizable of the origins of the community.

    But, the area deserves its rightful place in the history of Oklahoma City.
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    UnFrSaKn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sandtown circa 1884

    I sort of discovered Doffing one day about two years ago when I pulled off May there by the River to do a shot of downtown and got approached by an old man who asked me what I was doing. He seemed to be a part of the neighborhood watch. I told him what I did as a hobby and he was ok after that. I think he said something about how they had intruders come into the area and vandalize/burglarize homes.

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    rezman is offline Participating Member
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    Default Re: Sandtown circa 1884

    I'm guessing Doffing would be where the current Miller Place is now. And on the south side of I-40 is a short stretch of SW 5th.

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    Default Re: Sandtown circa 1884

    That is correct. There are several maps and photos in the blog post.

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    ljbab728 is offline Gold Member
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    Default Re: Sandtown circa 1884

    For anyone who might have any more information or details to share, Brianna wants to write an article for the Oklahoman.

    Remnants of Oklahoma City's Sandtown neighborhood remain | NewsOK.com
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    Default Re: Sandtown circa 1884

    Fascinating information!

    The Oklahoman writer, Meredith Williams, in writing about Sandtown's annexation, comes off as a real grade A bitch.

    That choleric and acarpous region which for years has been dubbed simply "Sandtown" officially was a part of Oklahoma City Wednesday and police prepared to cock an extra eye on the territory, while the city hall gleefully counted additional population by extending the city limits. Without ever becoming downright vicious, Sandtown for years had been a place of considerable mystery, and the residents there have fought out their battles among themselves, generally unmolested by such dignitaries as constables, deputy sheriffs and brass-buttoned cops. Sandtown stretches its dreary desolation between Reno avenue and the Canadian river, east of May avenue, like a patter of mush dumped on unoffending linen. It is low and flat. In summer it boils; in winter the wind whistles ominously through its decadent vegetation and the thin walls of its dwellings. Razors are sharp in Sandtown, and tempers quick. Mysterious fires have occurred there in the past, sometimes claiming lives as well as property. When there are neither knives, nor incendiary fires, nor prying eyes from outside to fear, there is always the river, which has more than once risen in anger and driven the residents from such homes as they possess. But now Sandtown is to have "protection." It even became so important that when it was annexed by Oklahoma City a clause was put in the ordinance reciting that it being "immediately necessary for the protection of the public health, peace and safety," Sandtown at once should be added to the capital, great center of oil, culture and Jamaica ginger. Protection, of course, includes not alone police. It also means sewers, water main, bath tubs, taxes, and the privilege of voting for councilmen and mayors. Anyone would suppose such high honors would turn Sandtown's [illegible] head, that its very sand would turn to rich loam, or even to gold dust. Strangely enough, though, Sandtown turned the same morose, forbidding stare toward the city, its silence broken only by the muddy water of the river as it gurgled over a dead tree perpetually hymning, "cops acomin, cops acomin," while the March wind hissed, "taxes, taxes, taxes."

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