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Cloud Chief, Oklahoma
Washita County Courthouse in Cloud Chief
Washita County Courthouse in Cloud Chief
Location in the State of Oklahoma
Location in the State of Oklahoma
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Washita County
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (CDT)

Cloud Chief is a small unincorporated community in Washita County, Oklahoma, United States. Once the county seat of Washita County, it is now considered a ghost town. Only a few buildings remain, mostly in disrepair.


The townsite was platted in April, 1892, as Tacola, when the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation was opened for settlement. A few weeks later, the town population was said to be over 3,000 inhabitants. It was renamed for Cloud Chief, one of the Southern Cheyenne chiefs who had negotiated with the United States under provisions of the Dawes Act for opening the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reserve to settlement. The post office was established March 29, 1892, and Cloud Chief was designated by the U.S. Congress as the county seat of H County, Oklahoma Territory. Many of the new settlers left the town within a year. However, by 1898 the population had begun to rise again.

In 1900 the people of newly-formed Washita County, by a vote of 1,349 in favor to 282 in opposition, illegally moved the county seat to the more-centrally-located town of Cordell. Law suits followed, and reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the move illegal in 1904. Two county commissioners went to Washington D.C. and persuaded Congress to pass legislation approving the move. President Theodore Roosevelt signed the law in 1906.

The Cloud Chief public schools opened for the 1892-1893 school year. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) built a high school in 1938, which closed after the 1959-1960 school year. The high school was known as the Cloud Chief Warriors. The Cloud Chief post office closed on December 31, 1964. The town also lost its charter in 1964.

Cloud Chief was also previously home of two newspapers. It was home to the Cloud Chief Witness, as well as the Cloud Chief Beacon. The Cloud Chief Beacon moved and became the Cordell Beacon immediately after the August 17, 1900 issue was printed.

  • Fenn, Doyle. (1996) Cloud Chief: Original County Seat of Washita County, Oklahoma. Dexter, Michigan: Thomson-Shore, Inc.
  • Boothe, Wayne. (2007) Images of America: Washita County. United States: Arcadia Publishing
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