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Ada, Oklahoma
Ada City Hall
Ada City Hall
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Pontotoc
Post Office 1891
Government
 • Type City Council
Area
 • Total 19.81 sq mi (51.31 km2)
 • Land 19.75 sq mi (51.16 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.15 km2)  0%
Elevation
1,010 ft (308 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 16,481
 • Density 834.48/sq mi (322.19/km2)
 • Demonym
Adan
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
74820-74821
Area code(s) 580
FIPS code 40-00200
GNIS feature ID 1089523
Website adaok.com

Ada is a city in and the county seat of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 16,481 at the 2020 United States Census. The city was named for Ada Reed, the daughter of an early settler, and was incorporated in 1901. Ada is home to East Central University, and is the headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation. Ada is an Oklahoma Main Street City, an Oklahoma Certified City, and a Tree City USA member.

History

In the late 1880s, the Daggs family (by way of Texas) became the first white family to settle what is now known as Ada, which was formerly known as Daggs Prairie. In April 1889, Jeff Reed (a native Texan, and relative of the Daggs family) was appointed to carry the mail from Stonewall to Center (which was later combined with Pickett), two small communities in then Indian Territory. With his family and his stock, he sought a place for a home on a prairie midway between the two points, where he constructed a log house and started Reed's Store. Other settlers soon built homes nearby. In 1891, a post office was established and named after Reed's oldest daughter, Ada. Ada incorporated as a city in 1901 and grew rapidly with the arrival of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway line. Within a decade the Santa Fe Railroad and the Oklahoma Central Railway also served the town.

In 1909, the women of Ada organized an effort to build a normal school in their city. It resulted in the founding of East Central College (now East Central University).

The first manufacturing company in Ada, the Portland Cement Company, installed the first cement clinker in Oklahoma in 1910. American Glass Casket Company began manufacturing glass caskets in 1916, but the business failed. Hazel Atlas Glass bought the plant in 1928 and produced glass products until 1991.

Geography

Ada is located in the rolling hills of southeastern Oklahoma. Ada is 88 miles (142 km) from Oklahoma City, 122 mi (196 km) from Tulsa, and 133 mi (214 km) from Dallas, Texas.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.8 square miles (40.9 km2), of which 15.7 square miles (40.7 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.44%) is water.

Climate

Climate data for Ada, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
(28.9)
90
(32.2)
96
(35.6)
99
(37.2)
100
(37.8)
106
(41.1)
109
(42.8)
116
(46.7)
109
(42.8)
98
(36.7)
88
(31.1)
85
(29.4)
116
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 51
(10.6)
56
(13.3)
65
(18.3)
75
(23.9)
80
(26.7)
89
(31.7)
94
(34.4)
94
(34.4)
87
(30.6)
76
(24.4)
64
(17.8)
54
(12.2)
74
(23.3)
Average low °F (°C) 30
(-1.1)
34
(1.1)
41
(5)
50
(10)
59
(15)
67
(19.4)
71
(21.7)
70
(21.1)
63
(17.2)
52
(11.1)
40
(4.4)
33
(0.6)
51
(10.6)
Record low °F (°C) −10
(-23.3)
1
(-17.2)
3
(-16.1)
23
(-5)
34
(1.1)
42
(5.6)
55
(12.8)
50
(10)
34
(1.1)
19
(-7.2)
11
(-11.7)
-10
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.1
(53)
2.1
(53)
2.7
(69)
4
(102)
5.9
(150)
4.4
(112)
2.8
(71)
3.2
(81)
3.4
(86)
3.6
(91)
2.4
(61)
2.3
(58)
38.8
(986)
Snowfall inches (cm) 2.7
(6.9)
1.3
(3.3)
0.8
(2)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.6
(1.5)
5.4
(13.7)
Source: Weatherbase'

Demographics

Chickasaw stop
Chickasaw language stop sign, with Chickasaw word "Hika" ("stop"), in Ada, Oklahoma.
Broadway - Watertower
Picture taken on Broadway of the former Stout family residence with one of the city's water towers behind it.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 4,349
1920 8,012 84.2%
1930 11,261 40.6%
1940 15,143 34.5%
1950 15,995 5.6%
1960 14,347 −10.3%
1970 14,859 3.6%
1980 15,902 7.0%
1990 15,820 −0.5%
2000 15,691 −0.8%
2010 16,810 7.1%
2020 16,481 −2.0%
Sources:
Chickasawlanguageaudiotour
Language offerings for audio tours at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, including Chickasaw, English, and Spanish.

2020 census

Ada Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 8,942 54.26%
Black or African American 696 4.22%
Native American 2,777 16.85%
Asian 301 1.83%
Pacific Islander 8 0.05%
Other/Mixed 2,476 15.02%
Hispanic or Latino 1,281 7.77%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 16,481 people, 6,611 households, and 3,552 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, Ada's 16,810 residents consisted of 6,697 households and 3,803 families. The population density was 999.3 people per square mile (385.9/km2). The 7,862 housing units were dispersed at an average density of 475.9 per square mile (183.8/km2). Ada's 2006 racial makeup was 73.81% White, 3.54% African American, 15.10% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races, and 5.81% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.89% of the population.

Of Ada's 6,697 households, 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. The 15.8% of those 65 years or older living alone made up a substantial portion of the 37.1% single-person households. Average household size was 2.20 persons; average family size was 2.91.

The age breakdown in 2006 was 22.3% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% aged 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females aged 18 or over, there were 84.5 males, while for all ages, there were 100 females for every 88.4 males.

Median household income was $22,977, while median family income was $31,805. Males had a median income of $25,223 versus $17,688 for females. Ada's per capita income was $14,666. Some 14.8% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.8% of those under 18 and 11.4% of those 65 or over.

An estimated 2,000-3,000 residents speak the Chickasaw language.

National Register of Historic Places

The following sites in Ada are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

Economy

The economy of Ada is diversified. In the mid and late 20th century, the town was a manufacturing center, producing products such as Wrangler jeans, auto parts, cement and concrete, plasticware, and other products. Since the start of the 21st century, manufacturers have made major investments in expansions and new technology.

In 1975, the Chickasaw Nation opened its headquarters in Ada. Revenues for the Nation were over 12 billion dollars in 2011, most of which is funneled through Ada. The Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center, a large water research lab staffed by the Environmental Protection Agency, opened in 1966. LegalShield, a multi-level marketing provider of pre-paid legal services, is headquartered in the city. Oil and natural gas remain a part of the regional economy.

The largest employers in the region are:

  • Ada City Schools
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • East Central University
  • iQor (call center for Sprint)
  • Pontotoc County Technology Center
  • Dart Container (formerly Solo Cup)
  • Flex-N-Gate (auto parts manufacturer)
  • Holcim Inc. (Portland cement)
  • LegalShield
  • Power Lift Foundation Repair
  • State of Oklahoma
  • Walmart
  • Kerr Lab
  • Mercy Hospital Ada
  • City of Ada

Education

ECUTiger
ECU's Honor Plaza

Higher education

East Central University, located in Ada, is a public four-year institution that has been in operation since 1909. ECU serves roughly 4,500 students is known internationally for its cartography program, as only a few such programs exist. ECU is also home to an Environmental Health Science Program, one of only 30 programs nationally accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).

Primary and secondary

Ada Public Schools has six primary and secondary schools.

  • Glenwood Early Childhood Center
  • Hayes Grade Center
  • Washington Grade Center
  • Willard Grade Center
  • Ada Junior High School
  • Ada High School

Latta Public Schools has one high school in Ada: Latta High School

Technical school

Pontotoc Technology Center (formerly Pontotoc Area Vo-Tech) is located in Ada.

Infrastructure

Highways

Major highways are:

  • Oklahoma State Highway 3
  • U.S. Route 377

Rail

Rail Freight is serviced by BNSF

Air

The Ada Regional Airport (FAA Identifier: ADH), owned and operated by the City of Ada, is located two miles north of downtown, and is home to two major aeronautical industries—General Aviation Modifications, Inc. and Tornado Alley Turbo. From the early 1950s well into the 1960s, the airport was served by Central Airlines.

Notable people

  • Bill Anoatubby – Governor of the Chickasaw Nation since 1987
  • Vaughn Ary – Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
  • Nick Blackburn – former Minnesota Twins starting pitcher
  • Harry Brecheen – former Major League Baseball All Star pitcher; graduated from Ada High School; buried at Ada's Rosedale Cemetery
  • Orel Busby, attorney, lived in Ada from 1912 until appointed Associate Justice of Oklahoma Supreme Court; returned to Ada after retiring from the court in 1937
  • Jeff Carpenter, musician and songwriter with the all Native American orchestral rock band Injunuity
  • Dan Cody – Baltimore Ravens linebacker; born in Ada
  • Johnson T. Crawford – Nuremberg trial judge
  • John Daversa – Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter, composer/arranger, bandleader, and educator
  • Denver Davison – attorney, lived in Ada from 1927 until appointed Associate Justice of Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1937; returned to Ada after retiring from the court in 1958
  • Taylor "Tae" Dye – member of country duo Maddie and Tae
  • Douglas Edwards – first television network anchor
  • Josh Fields – former Major League Baseball infielder; born in Ada
  • Mark GastineauNational Football League star, ECU graduate
  • Monte Hale – Western-genre film star; born in Ada
  • Johny Hendricks – UFC Welterweight Champion
  • Anthony Armstrong Jones – country music singer
  • David West Keirsey (1921–2013) – psychologist, developed the Keirsey Temperament Sorter; born in Ada
  • Robert S. Kerr – former Oklahoma Governor and long-time U.S. Senator; born in Ada
  • Don Owen – Louisiana news anchor and politician, worked in radio in Ada early in his career
  • Louise S. Robbins – Wisconsin Librarian of the Year (2001); named one of Oklahoma's 100 Library Legends; director of the School of Library and Information Studies at University of Wisconsin–Madison; author of two award-winning books; longtime resident of Ada and first woman city council member and mayor
  • Oral Roberts – evangelist, founder of Oral Roberts University; born near Ada.
  • Blaine Saunders – actress, The Middle
  • Blake Shelton – country music singer with multiple #1 hit songs, coach on The Voice
  • Jeremy Shockey – former NFL tight end; born and grew up in Ada
  • Leon Polk Smith – abstract artist known for his work with geometric painting; graduate of East Central University
  • Jerry Walker – major league pitcher and front office executive

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