Oklahoma City, OK

The Street Mapping Showdown of 1889


Early Oklahoma City and the problem of mapping the streets

Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this article. All outside references are accredited and may be followed using the links. The outline for this article was written with the assistance of ai. This article is for educational and informational purposes and although the author is not a historian, all dates and accounts are factual according to accredited sources.

How do you build a city?

Back in 1889 the settlement of the Unassigned Lands began. With lots of people moving to a new area, planning the way a town was laid out was very important.

Now, it seems that the smart way to build a city would be to draw the streets first. But people had already claimed pieces of land, so First Street might cut right across Bob's front lawn and take out his garage. Or as they called it in 1889, his hitching post.

Let's call in the professionals

Two companies were put in charge of building small Oklahoma towns, and they started by mapping out the streets.

But there was a problem! The companies who were designing the roads inside Oklahoma City couldn't agree on where to put the streets. This caused a lot of arguments and fighting, so a group of 14 people were chosen to help settle the dispute and find a solution.

They started by looking at the southern part of South Oklahoma City and making new maps. But when they got to Grand Avenue, they realized that if they changed the street, some people wouldn't have a place to live anymore! You can understand how this might be a big problem.

It just takes a little compromise, just 'bend' a little

After thinking about it, they came up with a solution. They decided to compromise and make a little bend in the street, so that everyone could keep their lots and have a place to live.

And that's why today, if you look at Sheridan Avenue, you can see a little jog in the road. At least until the new city planners straighten it out.

So, even though there was a problem, people worked together to find a solution that satisfied everyone.

This is an important lesson that we can learn from, that sometimes we need to work together and compromise to solve our problems.

****If you enjoy reading about the history of Oklahoma, you might like My Daddy Was The Last Sheriff of Delaware District," Recalls Cherokee Prairie Woman


Hi, I'm Judy! I love bringing a magnifying glass to where psychology and history cross. What makes people do what they do? Why did they make that choice? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments and share this article on social media and with family and friends, if you'd like.

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Judy Derby has worked in the surrounding communities as a social worker and advocate. providing resources and information to help local families meet their basic needs. She's been writing about social issues and related topics for over 10 years.

Antlers, OK

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