There is an old phrase: Business as usual. But I don’t think Oklahoma City business has ever been usual. It just isn’t the way we do things out here. Usual (defined as habitually or typically occurring or done; customary) may not even be in our vocabulary.
Ever since Oklahoma City was founded we liked to do things differently. In fact, we were even founded differently. I’ve been all over this country, and I’ve read all about how many cities were founded. Most cities are founded in 1 of 2 ways.
First, there is the slow build. Someone finds a spot that is advantageous (maybe it is at a natural crossroads, or a large bend in a river, or strategically placed along a bay). A few people settle here, and others follow until, eventually, you have a city.
The second way most US cities are founded is a wealthy person buys up a lot of land, and subdivides it into a planned out town.
But not Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City was forced into existence in a single day of dreams, desperation and cheating.
April 22, 1889. Noon
At 11:59 AM on April 22, 1889 Oklahoma City was a notion. An empty piece of prairie with no residents and a few US troops and deputies keeping an eye out for cheaters. By the time the sun set that night, Oklahoma City was a thriving city of 10,000 inhabitants. But how did that happen? What was the chaos and madness of that afternoon, and what led up to it?
A large part of the area in the central part of the US was known as “Indian Territory” in the early part of the 1800’s. Most of the legendary “trail of tears” ended out here in the great plains. Each tribe had their own section of land, and white people were prohibited from settling there.
During the Civil War, several of these tribes allied themselves with the Confederacy. As a result, the US government stripped them of their lands in the great plains after the war. This are of about 2 million acres became known as the Unassigned Lands and was roughly 5% of present day Oklahoma.
The Land Run
Eventually, Congress was persuaded to open up these “Unassigned Lands” to white settlers. President Harrison announced the date of April 22nd, and the start time of high noon. Anyone making a claim before that would be a “sooner” and denied their claim. After noon, the rules became very lax. You basically needed to stake off your claim (literally put stakes in the ground), and then defend that land until you could have your claim processed. In open areas, you could claim up to 160 acres. In areas designated to be towns (like the soon to be Oklahoma City), the claims were significantly smaller.
The Oklahoma City area drew settlers like a magnet. It was right where the railroad crossed the river. An obvious point for commerce. The federal troops and deputies that were stationed there didn’t expect to see any settlers for at least an hour after noon as they were some distance from the nearest legal crossing point. They were wrong. People had snuck in early and had been hiding in the wilderness. Some had been camped out for weeks, other jumped off moving trains in the preceding days.
Many of the deputies (who were not legally allowed to stake a claim as a deputy) were said to have resigned their posts and staked claims as the bugle sounded noon.
A crew of surveyors popped out of the wilderness complete with all of their tools of the trade and started plotting out a city on the run, marking off lots, and blocks on a completely theoretical main street. By half past noon more the 40 tents had been set up. By one O’clock all the cities best spots had been claimed and by sunset, Oklahoma City had a population of 10,000 people even though there was no government, no city limits, no laws…
Within one month, Oklahoma City had five banks and six newspapers. By 1909 (20 years later) Oklahoma City had its first skyscraper (the Colcord building which is now the Colcord Hotel), and the following year (1910) Oklahoma City became the capital of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City Business Makes It’s Own Path
So you see, Oklahoma City Business has always been done in a unique way, and we continue to do things our own way to this very day.
The architecture of Oklahoma City has evolved over the past 130 year with buildings ranging from the 1904 Hotel Marion to new buildings currently under construction. Whatever type of business you are in, you are sure to find a suitable facility to meet your needs in the center of Americas Heartland, Oklahoma City. But unless you plan to move into one of those new buildings being built, you will probably need some amount of renovation, retrofitting, or updating to bring the building current to the needs of your Oklahoma City business.
At BRAVO! Group Services, we have expert teams in electrical, carpentry and plumbing that can turn any building into one designed for your specific needs. And once you are settled in, we have handyman services, janitorial services, and scheduled maintenance services to keep you running at peak performance.
BRAVO! Group Services understands that Oklahoma City Business has never been usual, and our teams of experts can work with your team to make sure your business runs better then usual.