Altus, Oklahoma facts for kids

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Altus, Oklahoma
City
Jackson County Courthouse in Altus
Jackson County Courthouse in Altus
Location of Altus, Oklahoma
Location of Altus, Oklahoma
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Jackson
Area
 • Total 17.0 sq mi (44.1 km2)
 • Land 16.8 sq mi (43.6 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 1,398 ft (426 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 19,813
 • Density 1,165/sq mi (449.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 73521-73523
Area code(s) 580
FIPS code 40-01700
GNIS feature ID 1089598
Website cityofaltus.org

Altus is a city and county seat in Jackson County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 19,813 at the 2010 census, a loss of 7.7 percent compared to 21,454 at the 2000 census.

Altus is home to Altus Air Force Base, the United States Air Force training base for C-17, KC-46 and KC-135 aircrews. It is also home to Western Oklahoma State College and Southwest Technology Center.

History

The town that would later be named Altus was founded in 1886. The community was originally called Frazer, a settlement of about 50 people on Bitter Creek that served as a trading post on the Great Western Trail. Cowboys driving herds northward often stopped to buy buttermilk from John McClearan. Thus, the town was known locally as "Buttermilk Station." The Frazer post office opened February 18, 1886. A flash flood nearly destroyed Frazer on June 4, 1891. The residents moved to higher ground 2.5 miles (4.0 km) east of the original site. W. R. Baucum suggested renaming the town Altus, a Latin word meaning "high." This name stuck, although the town was also known as Leger from July 10, 1901, to May 14, 1904,

The city has seen relatively steady growth since the beginning. The population doubled between the time of Oklahoma statehood and the 1910 census and even increased during the Great Depression. Although Altus had been designated as the Jackson county seat at the time of statehood, an election was held in 1908 to determine the permanent seat. The two towns contending were Altus and Olustee. Altus won by a vote of 2,077 to 1,365. The county courthouse was built there in 1910. An irrigation project in the 1940s and World War II led to further growth in the town as the nearby air field was used to train military pilots.

Altus was an important city on the defunct Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railway, one of the Frank Kell and Joseph A. Kemp properties, which stretched from Wichita Falls, Texas, to Forgan in Beaver County in far northwestern Oklahoma. It was later purchased by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and since 1991 is operated by the Wichita, Tillman and Jackson Railway.

In 1908, the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway (acquired by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1929) built a line through Altus. Around the same time, the Altus, Wichita Falls and Hollis Railway (which became the Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railway in 1911, then was acquired by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway in 1922) constructed a line from Altus to the Oklahoma-Texas border. The railroads stimulated economic growth in the area and made Altus a regional agricultural center. By 1930, Altus had eight cotton gins, two cotton compresses, and eighteen wholesale businesses.

Geography

Altus is located at Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:mw' not found. (34.643754, -99.326603). Altus is situated in what used to be Old Greer County, an area with disputed ownership until a Supreme Court decision awarded it to Oklahoma Territory instead of Texas. The city lies between the main channel and north fork of the Red River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.0 square miles (44.0 km2), of which 16.8 square miles (43.5 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) (1.17%) is water.

Climate

Altus has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) bordering upon a semi-arid climate (BSk). Summers are very hot to sweltering, though occasionally heavy rainfall does occur due to remains of Gulf of Mexico hurricanes moving inland. In the absence of these storms, Altus can be among the hottest places in North America: the record high of 120 °F or 48.9 °C recorded twice during 1936 has been exceeded by only Kansas and the western states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Autumn is brief, with generally very warm afternoons and comfortably cool mornings, whilst winter is extremely variable. Chinook winds can sometimes raise temperatures to uncomfortably hot even in the low winter sun, in the process often drying out vegetation to produce wildfires. On the other hand, if a block forms over the Gulf of Alaska very cold air can be driven into the Plains States from Canada, producing temperatures below 0 °F or −17.8 °C in extreme cases. Such cold temperatures on average occur once every three winters, although on average 78.5 mornings each year fall to or below the freezing point. Snowfall is rare and erratic: the most in a months being 16.1 inches (0.41 m) in January 1966, while most rainfall comes during the unsettled spring season, when heavy thunderstorms can occur from the convergence of hot and cold air masses to produce very intense short-period rainfall. The wettest month has been May 1980 with 13.34 inches (338.8 mm), whilst zero precipitation has on occasion been recorded in every month except May and June, and the wettest 24 hour period on October 20, 1983 with 7.10 inches (180.3 mm). The wettest calendar year has been 1941 with 49.30 inches (1,252.2 mm) and the driest 1970 with 10.42 inches (264.7 mm).

Climate data for Altus, Oklahoma (elevation 1,380 feet or 420 metres)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 88
(31.1)
98
(36.7)
103
(39.4)
105
(40.6)
112
(44.4)
116
(46.7)
120
(48.9)
120
(48.9)
109
(42.8)
104
(40)
92
(33.3)
88
(31.1)
120
(48.9)
Average high °F (°C) 53.1
(11.72)
58.3
(14.61)
67.4
(19.67)
76.6
(24.78)
84.3
(29.06)
92.8
(33.78)
97.5
(36.39)
96.6
(35.89)
88.4
(31.33)
77.8
(25.44)
65.0
(18.33)
54.4
(12.44)
76.0
(24.44)
Average low °F (°C) 26.8
(-2.89)
30.8
(-0.67)
38.1
(3.39)
47.8
(8.78)
57.8
(14.33)
66.8
(19.33)
70.7
(21.5)
69.4
(20.78)
62.0
(16.67)
50.4
(10.22)
38.2
(3.44)
29.4
(-1.44)
49.0
(9.44)
Record low °F (°C) −11
(-23.9)
-7
(-21.7)
6
(-14.4)
22
(-5.6)
34
(1.1)
44
(6.7)
55
(12.8)
49
(9.4)
28
(-2.2)
17
(-8.3)
12
(-11.1)
-10
(-23.3)
−11
(-23.9)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.93
(23.6)
1.01
(25.7)
1.55
(39.4)
2.36
(59.9)
3.96
(100.6)
3.55
(90.2)
2.05
(52.1)
2.46
(62.5)
2.70
(68.6)
2.84
(72.1)
1.19
(30.2)
1.16
(29.5)
25.76
(654.3)
Snowfall inches (cm) 1.8
(4.6)
1.3
(3.3)
0.7
(1.8)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.3
(0.8)
0.8
(2)
4.9
(12.4)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 4 4 5 6 8 7 5 6 6 6 4 4 64
Source: The Western Regional Climate Center

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 4,821
1920 4,522 −6.2%
1930 8,439 86.6%
1940 8,593 1.8%
1950 9,735 13.3%
1960 21,225 118.0%
1970 23,302 9.8%
1980 23,101 −0.9%
1990 21,910 −5.2%
2000 21,447 −2.1%
2010 19,813 −7.6%
Est. 2015 19,214 −3.0%
Sources:

As of the census of 2010, there were 19,813 people residing in the city. The population density was 1,200 people per square mile (450/km²). There were 8,890 housing units at an average density of 540 per square mile (205/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 72.62% White, 10.41% African American, 1.48% Native American, 1.38% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 10.32% from other races, and 3.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.25% of the population.

There were 7,896 households out of which 38.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.6% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.8% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,217, and the median income for a family was $38,400. Males had a median income of $28,041 versus $18,856 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,378. About 14.6% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.7% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

  • Lake Altus-Lugert
  • Altus City Reservoir
  • Altus Speedway
  • Morgan Doll Museum
  • Altus City Park including 18-hole disc golf course
  • Altus Air Force Base
  • Museum of the Western Prairie
  • Sooner International Raceway has been closed and is grown up in weeds

Gallery

Altus tornado, May 11, 1982 
Rainbows near Altus, May 29, 1975 
Lake Altus-Lugert, looking south 
Norwegian pilots training at the C-17 Aircrew Training Center at Altus AFB 
Satellite image of Altus AFB, February 17, 1995 

Altus, Oklahoma Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.