Do you live in Ardmore, Oklahoma, but don’t really know a lot about the history? Or, maybe you’re just passing through and are curious about the town. Either way, here are some interesting facts about Ardmore that you may have never heard before.
Ardmore, Oklahoma: Meaning of the Name
Ardmore, Oklahoma, takes its name from an affluent section of Pennsylvania, which in turn takes its name from a location in Ireland. It means “high country,” which is appropriate considering both its closeness to the Arbuckle Mountains and its elevation of 873 feet.
Although initially one of the largest domestic cotton sources, the fields eventually became infertile. It was then discovered that it was near the Healdton Oil Field, a massive petroleum reserve. Combined with its nuclear plants, this makes the region a major source of energy.
Like other frontier towns, the railroad helped build up the city of Ardmore. It was part of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and railways are still a major feature of the town.
For a relatively small town, Ardmore is well connected to airports. There are two small airports in town, and a shuttle connects the city to one of the two larger airports.
There have only been four major disasters recorded in Ardmore, Oklahoma. In 1895 a fire swept through the town causing the entire city to be rebuilt. In 1915 a railroad car containing a casing gas exploded, resulting in 45 deaths, the destruction of most of the downtown area, and the creation of a fire department. It also became the scene of Oklahoma’s only airplane accident in 1966, and a tornado ripped through the town in 1995, although damage was relatively limited in the latter cases.
The town had a streetcar service that ran from 1905–1922. The electric trolley system in Ardmore and other Oklahoma cities actually predates Oklahoma becoming a state in some cases. The fact that Ardmore was one of the towns that had the trolley system shows that it was one of the more bustling cities in the early 1900s.
The city is the center of a 10-county economic area in Oklahoma. It is the distribution center for many major distribution centers, most notably Best Buy, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General Stores. Michelin North America is a major employer in the area, and it is also the home of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, among the 50 largest private foundations. Combined with the Valero oil refinery, it is a pretty powerful economic center.
Due to the influx of wealth, there are a number of cultural sites, most notably the Charles B. Goddard Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. The center houses a number of local art displays as well as the Hardy Murphy Coliseum, a WPA project now used primarily for rodeos and other local events.
While a number of famous individuals have been born and raised here, Samuel Lloyd Nobel – philanthropist and inventor of dynamite – is perhaps the most famous. There seems to be a bumper crop of athletes, such as twin footballers Mike and Maurkice Pouncey. John Hinckley Jr., infamous for his attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, is from the area as well.