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Cimarron County, Oklahoma facts for kids

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Cimarron County
Cimarron County Courthouse in Boise City (2009)
Cimarron County Courthouse in Boise City (2009)
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Cimarron County
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Oklahoma
Founded 1907
Seat Boise City
Largest city Boise City
 • Total 1,841 sq mi (4,770 km2)
 • Land 1,835 sq mi (4,750 km2)
 • Water 6.1 sq mi (16 km2)  0.3%%
 • Total 2,296
 • Density 1.2/sq mi (0.5/km2)
Time zones
entire county (legally) UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Kenton (unofficially) UTC−7 (Mountain)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)

Cimarron County is the westernmost county in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Its county seat is Boise City. As of the 2020 census, its population was 2,296, making it the least-populous county in Oklahoma; and indeed, throughout most of its history, it has had both the smallest population and the lowest population density of any county in Oklahoma. Located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, Cimarron County contains the only community in the state (Kenton) that observes the Mountain Time Zone. Black Mesa, the highest point in the state, is in the northwest corner of the county. The Cimarron County community of Regnier has the distinction of being the driest spot in Oklahoma ranked by lowest annual average precipitation, at just 15.62 inches; but at the same time, Boise City is the snowiest location in Oklahoma ranked by highest annual average snowfall, at 31.6 inches.


Cimarron County was created at statehood in 1907. Before the Oklahoma Organic Act was passed in 1890, the area had belonged to what was known as "No Man's Land," also referred to as the "Public Land Strip." This was a relatively lawless area, with no organized government, and several outlaws sought refuge within its borders. In 1890, the strip became known as Beaver County, Oklahoma Territory. Informally, it was known as the "Oklahoma Panhandle." There were only two communities in the strip. One, Carrizo, had 83 residents in 1890, while the other, Mineral City, had 93 residents. Otherwise, the land was used primarily by sheepherders from New Mexico.

Seven communities vied to become county seat after statehood: Boise City, Cimarron, Doby, Hurley and Willowbar. A county election in 1908 selected Boise City.

Railroads came late to this part of Oklahoma. The Elkhart and Santa Fe Railway built a line from Elkhart, Kansas through Cimarron County in 1925. It completed the link into New Mexico in 1932. Service ended in 1942. The same company built a line from Colorado to Boise City in 1931 and extended it into Texas in 1937. This line still operates and in 2000 was part of the BNSF system.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,841 square miles (4,770 km2), of which 1,835 square miles (4,750 km2) is land and 6.1 square miles (16 km2) (0.3%) is water. It is the fourth-largest county in Oklahoma by area. It also has Oklahoma's highest point at 4,973 feet (1,516 m) (AMSL) on the Black Mesa.

Black Mesa, Oklahoma high point
Black Mesa, the highest point in Oklahoma, is in the northwestern corner of Cimarron County.

The northern part of the county is drained by the Cimarron River, which flows eastward, then turns north into Kansas, The southern part is drained by the North Canadian River (also called the Beaver River). The man-made Lake Carl Etling lies inside Black Mesa park.

A location 300 yards (270 m) east of Rt. 287/385 and 1.75 miles (2.82 km) south of the Cimarron River is the only place in the US less than 27 miles (43 km) from five different states: 26.99 miles (43.44 km) from Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas and 7 miles (11 km) from Colorado.

Major highways

  • US 56.svg U.S. Highway 56
  • US 64.svg U.S. Highway 64
  • US 287.svg U.S. Highway 287
  • US 385.svg U.S. Highway 385
  • US 412.svg U.S. Highway 412
  • Oklahoma State Highway 3.svg State Highway 3
  • Oklahoma State Highway 171.svg State Highway 171
  • Oklahoma State Highway 325.svg State Highway 325

Adjacent counties

Cimarron County is the only county in the United States that borders four states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas. As a result, Cimarron County is the only county in the United States to border at least five counties from five different states (one from each of the four aforementioned states, plus one in Oklahoma and a second county in Texas).

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 4,553
1920 3,436 −24.5%
1930 5,408 57.4%
1940 3,054 −43.5%
1950 4,589 50.3%
1960 4,496 −2.0%
1970 4,145 −7.8%
1980 3,648 −12.0%
1990 3,301 −9.5%
2000 3,148 −4.6%
2010 2,475 −21.4%
2020 2,296 −7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

As of the 2010 census, 2,475 people, 1,047 households, and 705 families were residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km2). The 1,587 housing units averaged 1 per square mile (0/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 84.7% White, 0.2% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 12.1% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 20.8% (16.4% Mexican, 1.4% Spanish, 0.2% Salvadoran).

Of the 1,257 households, 31.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.40% were married couples living together, 6.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.90% were not families. About 29.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47, and the average family size was 3.07.

In the county, the age distribution was 27.60% under 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 23.40% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 18.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 97.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,625, and for a family was $36,250. Males had a median income of $24,327 versus $18,110 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,744. About 13.90% of families and 17.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.20% of those under age 18 and 10.10% of those age 65 or over.


Highway 412 In The Oklahoma Panhandle
Highway 412 in Cimarron County



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated places


The county economy has been largely based on cattle ranching and agriculture throughout its history. Wheat and grain sorghum are the most important crops. The Dust Bowl devastated the county during the 1930s, and the deluges of 1942-1945 destroyed what was left; the economy had to be completely rebuilt. Oil and natural gas production became important in the 1960s, and a gas plant near Keyes began producing helium in 1959. In 2000, Cimarron County had the ninth-highest per capita income of all Oklahoma counties.

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