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Enid, Oklahoma
East on Broadway.JPG
Official seal of Enid
"Wheat Capital of the United States", "Queen Wheat City of Oklahoma",
"Purple Martin Capital of Oklahoma"
Location in Garfield County and the state of Oklahoma.
Location in Garfield County and the state of Oklahoma.
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Garfield
Founded 1893
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Bill Shewey
 • City Manager Jerald Gilbert
 • City 74.1 sq mi (191.8 km2)
 • Land 74.0 sq mi (191.6 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
1,240 ft (378 m)
 • City 49,379
 • Estimate 
 • Density 666.4/sq mi (257.45/km2)
 • Metro
62,267 (US: 134th)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 580
FIPS code 40-23950
GNIS feature ID 1092626

Enid (ē'nĭd) is a city in Garfield County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,379, making it the ninth largest city in Oklahoma. It is the county seat of Garfield County. Enid was founded during the opening of the Cherokee Outlet in the Land Run of 1893, and is named after Enid, a character in Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King. In 1991, the Oklahoma state legislature designated Enid the "Purple Martin Capital of Oklahoma." Enid holds the nickname of "Queen Wheat City" and "Wheat Capital" of Oklahoma and the United States for its immense grain storage capacity, and has the third largest grain storage capacity in the world.


The Broadway Tower in Enid
The Broadway Tower, Enid's tallest building was built during the city's "Golden Age".

In summer 1889, M.A. Low, a Rock Island official, visited the local railroad station then under construction, and inquired about its name. At that time, it was called Skeleton station. Disliking the original name, he renamed the station Enid after a character in Alfred Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King. However, a more fanciful story of how the town received its name is popular. According to that tale, in the days following the land run, some enterprising settlers decided to set up a chuckwagon and cook for their fellow pioneers, hanging a sign that read "DINE". Some other, more free-spirited settlers, turned that sign backward to read, of course, "ENID". The name stuck.

During the opening of the Cherokee Outlet in the Land Run of 1893, Enid was the location of a land office which is now preserved in its Humphrey Heritage Village, part of the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. Enid, the rail station, (now North Enid, Oklahoma) was the original town site endorsed by the government. It was platted by the surveyor W. D. Twichell, then of Amarillo, Texas.

Garfield County Courthouse front
Enid is the county seat of Garfield County, and is home to the county courthouse.

The Enid-Pond Creek Railroad War ensued when the Department of the Interior moved the government site three miles (5 km) south of the station prior to the land run, which was then called South Enid. During the run, due to the Rock Island's refusal to stop, people leaped from the trains to stake their claim in the government endorsed site. By the afternoon of the run, Enid's population was estimated at 12,000 people located in the Enid's 80-acre (320,000 m2) town plat. Enid's original plat in 1893 was 6 blocks wide by 11 blocks long consisting of the town square on the northwest end, West Hill (Jefferson) school on the south west end, Government Springs Park in the middle southern section, and East Hill (Garfield) school on the far north east corner. A year later, the population was estimated at 4,410, growing to 10,087 by 1907, the year of Oklahoma statehood.

The town's early history was captured in Cherokee Strip: A Tale of an Oklahoma Boyhood by Pulitzer-winning author Marquis James, who recounts his boyhood in Enid.

He writes of the early town:

A trip to Enid was surely a marvelous treat, the stairways one saw being the very least of it. First off, on the edge of the prairie was a house here and house there--and not so many of them sod houses, either. Quite a few were even painted. Pretty soon the stores began, with the buildings touching each other and no front yards at all, only board sidewalks shaded by wooden awnings. Then you came to the Square. You never saw so many rigs or so many people.

Cherokee Strip: A Tale of an Oklahoma Boyhood

Enid experienced a "golden age" following the discovery of oil in the region in the 1910s and continuing until World War II. Enid's economy boomed as a result of the growing oil, wheat, and rail industries, and its population grew steadily throughout the early 20th century in conjunction with a period of substantial architectural development and land expansion. Enid's downtown saw the construction of several buildings including the Broadway Tower, Garfield County Courthouse, and Enid Masonic Temple. In conjunction with the oil boom, oilmen such as T.T. Eason, H.H. Champlin, and Charles E. Knox built homes in the area. Residential additions during this period include Kenwood, Waverley, Weatherly, East Hill, Kinser Heights, Buena Vista, and McKinley. Union Equity, Continental, Pillsbury, General Mills, and other grain companies operated mills and grain elevators in the area, creating what is now the Enid Terminal Grain Elevators Historic District, and earning Enid the titles of "Wheat Capital of Oklahoma", "Queen Wheat City of Oklahoma," and "Wheat Capital of the United States"

A panorama of Enid shot from the top of the Court House in 1908


1966 Enid Tornado
A tornado in Enid, Oklahoma on June 5, 1966. For years this photo graced the cover of Weather Service publications on tornadoes and severe weather, and it was the sole tornado photograph in many text books.

Located in Northwestern Oklahoma, Enid sits at the eastern edge of the Great Plains. It is located at 36°24′2″N 97°52′51″W / 36.40056°N 97.88083°W / 36.40056; -97.88083 (36.400583, -97.880784), 70 miles (110 km) North of Oklahoma City. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 74.1 square miles (192 km2), of which 74.0 square miles (192 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.12%) is water.


Enid's weather conditions are characterized by hot summers, cold, often snowy winters, and thunderstorms in the spring, which can produce tornadoes. The greatest one-day precipitation total by an official rain gauge in Oklahoma was in Enid; 15.68 inches fell on October 11, 1973. Temperatures can fall below 0 °F (−18 °C) in the winter, and reach above 100 °F (38 °C) in the summer. The highest recorded temperature was 118 °F (48 °C) in 1936, and the lowest recorded temperature was −20 °F (−29 °C) in 1905. On average, the warmest month is July, January is the coolest month, and the maximum average precipitation occurs in May.

Climate data for Enid, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 44
Average low °F (°C) 25
Record low °F (°C) −8
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.9
Snowfall inches (cm) 3
Avg. rainy days 5 5 6 7 9 8 6 6 6 5 4 5 72
Source #1:
Source #2:
FEMA - 5745 - Photograph by Gene Romano taken on 02-07-2002 in Oklahoma
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh talks with a disaster victim at the Red Cross Shelter in Enid during a tour of damage areas in Oklahoma.

An ice storm struck Northwest Oklahoma in late January 2002. The storm caused over $100 million of damage, initially leaving some 255,000 residences and businesses without power. A week later, 39,000 Oklahoma residents were still without power. Enid, with its population of 47,000, was entirely without electricity for days. The Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives reported over 31,000 electrical poles were destroyed across the state. The American Red Cross set up a shelter at Northern Oklahoma College.

Some other notable storms in Enid's history include:

  • March 16, 1965, an F4 tornado 18.4 miles (29.6 km) away from the city center injured seven people and caused between $50,000 and $500,000 in damages.
  • October 11–13, 1973, Oklahoma's greatest urban rainfall on record occurred. Known as the "Enid flood", an intense thunderstorm was centered over Enid with rainfall accumulations between 15 and 20 inches within a 100-square-mile (260 km2) area. About 12 inches (300 mm) fell in three hours. Enid received 15.68 inches (398 mm), forcing residents to cut holes in rooftops to reach safety. Nine people died.
  • May 2, 1979, an F4 tornado 7.5 miles (12.1 km) away from the Enid city center killed one person, injured 25 people and caused between $500,000 and $5,000,000 in damages.
  • April 25, 2009, an EF-2 tornado damaged the Chisholm Trail Expo Center. No one was injured or killed.


Enid sign
Sign welcoming visitors to Enid
Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 3,444
1910 13,799 300.7%
1920 16,576 20.1%
1930 26,399 59.3%
1940 28,081 6.4%
1950 36,071 28.5%
1960 38,859 7.7%
1970 44,986 15.8%
1980 50,363 12.0%
1990 45,417 −9.8%
2000 47,045 3.6%
2010 49,379 5.0%
Est. 2015 51,776 4.9%

As of the 2010 census, there were 49,379 people, 19,726 households and 12,590 families residing in the city. The population density was 670 per square mile (260/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.6% White, 3.6% African American, 2.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 2.2% Pacific Islander, 5.4% from other races, and 2.84% from two or more races. The population of Hispanic or Latino Americans more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, up from 4.74% in 2000 to 10.3% in 2010.

There were 19,726 households of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. Households with individuals living alone accounted for 30.5% of households and 26.6% of households consisted of individuals 65 years of age or older living by themselves. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3. The media age of the population was 36.

Enid has been predominantly a Republican stronghold since its days as part of Oklahoma Territory, owing to the influence of settlers from neighboring Kansas. Several politicians have called Enid home, including Oklahoma Territory's last governor Frank Frantz; U.S. Representative Page Belcher; US Congressman and former Enid mayor, Milton C. Garber; Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb; U.S. Representative George H. Wilson; and James Yancy Callahan, the only non-Republican territorial congressional delegate.

Of the people in Enid, 61.9% claim affiliation with a religious congregation; 9.4% are Catholic, 39.2% are Protestant, 1.1% are Latter Day Saints and 12.2% are another Christian denomination. By 1987, there were 90 churches of 27 different denominations of Christianity. Enid's Phillips University, although formally affiliated with the Disciples of Christ, was a product of religious collaboration between followers of the Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian Church, and Judaism. Although Phillips University has closed, Enid still has a number of private Christian schools, including St. Paul's Lutheran School. Enid is home to several Protestant churches including pentacostal Iglesia Cristiana El Shaddai (Hispanic) founded in 2001, four Lutheran congregations, Immanuel, founded in 1899, Trinity, founded in 1901, St. Paul, founded in 1909, and Redeemer, founded in 1934, and two Catholic congregations, St. Francis Xavier, founded in 1893, and St. Gregory, founded in 1971. St. Francis Xavier's Bishop Theophile Meerschaert was responsible for founding Calvary Catholic Cemetery in 1898.

Enid is the home of two Masonic Lodges, the Enid Lodge #80 and the Garfield Lodge #501. The Enid Lodge has many Jewish members. Historically, Enid was home to a small Jewish congregation called Emanuel, which met at the Loewen Hotel, founded by Al Loewen, a local merchant who also served on the committee to create Phillips University. The Enid Cemetery also has a Jewish section where many of early Enid's Jewish merchants are interred, including the founders of Kaufman's Style Shop, Herzberg's Department Store, Newman Mercantile, and Meibergen and Godschalk, Enid's first clothing store. Currently, there are no synagogues or mosques in Enid, Oklahoma

Arts and culture

Park in Enid Oklahoma
Government Springs Park in Enid was originally a watering hole on the Old Chisholm Cattle Trail.
The Pioneer Family Statue by local artist, Harold Holden, outside the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center.

Enid is home to the annual Tri-State Music Festival which was started in 1932 by Russell L. Wiley, who was Phillips University Band Director from 1928 to 1934. From 1933 to 1936, Edwin Franko Goldman headlined the festival. The festival takes place each spring in Enid. In the summertime, Enid's Gaslight Theatre hosts a production of Shakespeare in the Park as well as year round theatre productions. The Enid Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1905 and is the oldest symphony in the state, performing year round in the Enid Symphony Center. Enid's Chautauqua in the Park takes place each summer in Government Springs Park, providing five nights of educational performances by scholars portraying prominent historical figures. The Chautauqua program was brought to Enid in 1907 by the Enid Circle Jewish Chautauqua and is now produced by the Greater Enid Arts and Humanities Council.

Enid's Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center preserves the local history of the Land Run of 1893, Phillips University, and Garfield County, Oklahoma. The museum originated as the Museum of the Cherokee Strip in the 1970s, and reopened on April 1, 2011. Enid also commemorates its land run history each September by hosting the Cherokee Strip Days and Parade. The Humphrey Heritage Village next to the museum offers visitors a chance to see the original Enid land office and other historical buildings. Visitors to Enid's Railroad Museum of Oklahoma, located in the former Santa Fe Railway Depot, can see railroad memorabilia, explore historical trains, and watch model railroads in action. The Midgley Museum is operated by the Enid Masonic Lodge #80 and features the rock collection of the Midgley family. Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse, located in the former Alton Mercantile building in downtown Enid is an arts and sciences museum, which features Adventure Quest, an outdoor science-themed playground. Simpson's Old Time Museum is a western-themed museum by local filmmakers Rick and Larry Simpson. The pair closed their downtown business, Simpsons Mercantile in 2006 to convert the building into a movie set and museum. George's Antique Auto Museum features the sole-existing Geronimo car, once manufactured in Enid. The Leona Mitchell Southern Heights Heritage Center and Museum records the history and culture of African Americans and Native Americans, featuring exhibits on Enid's former black schools (George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington), and opera star Leona Mitchell. Enid also has a number of locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In popular culture

Enid was ranked the 28th best place in the USA to raise a family in a 1998 Reader's Digest poll. and in the March 2004 issue of Inc. listed as one of the top 25 small cities in the USA for doing business. Good Morning America listed Enid as one of its top five up and coming areas in a January 2006 episode.

Enid Garfield Furniture
Garfield Furniture is housed in what used to be the Grand Hotel, where David E. George, who claimed to be John Wilkes Booth, committed suicide in 1903.

Hollywood has come to Enid, shooting scenes from Dillinger in front of the Mark Price Arena and the Grand Saloon, the 1955 short film Holiday for Bands features Enid's Tri-State Music Festival, and portions of the film The Killer Inside Me were filmed in Enid's downtown square. According to television, Enid has been the site of hauntings and exorcisms as Ghost Lab featured Enid as part of an investigation of sites claimed to be haunted by John Wilkes Booth, and A Current Affair in a segment on expensive religious exorcisms.

Enid has been the subject of songs, such as the song "Greeted in Enid" by Hank Williams, Jr. from his 1995 album Hog Wild, which tells the story of a woman he met in Enid. It has been the subject of ridicule, by comedian Bill Hicks who used to make fun of this town in his act, including a routine on a man named Elmer Dinkley, most likely fictional.

Enid is also mentioned in passing in a few popular novels and films. In chapter 12 of The Grapes of Wrath, Enid is one of the towns that feeds into Route 66 from the north via Route 64.

The movie Twister (1996) references the city just before the chasers leave Aunt Meg's house to chase the "Hailstorm Hill" Tornado. The storm warning on the television broadcast states that the latest warning has been issued "for Garfield County, including the city of Enid". (Subtitles may be needed to find this out.)

In the 1995 novel, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, primary character Chloe Steele Williams returns home from California by a flight that lands in Enid to make connections. The Enid Woodring Regional Airport was the only operable airport in the area during the 48 hours after the "vanishings".

In Harry Turtledove's 2016 baseball-themed fantasy novel The House of Daniel, the early scenes take place in Enid.

In the television series Night Court, Bull goes on a game show and one of the contestants is a computer programmer from Enid.

In Jurassic Park III, Paul Kirby mentions that his business is located in Enid, Oklahoma. At the end of the movie, as the survivors look out at a flock of Pteranodons flying free, Alan Grant muses they must be looking for new nesting grounds. Amanda Kirby mutters in response "I dare them to nest in Enid, Oklahoma!"

During World War II, two Victory Ships from Kaiser's Richmond, California shipyard were named after Enid and Phillips University, the SS Enid Victory and the SS Phillips Victory. In 1999, astronomer Tom Stafford of Oklahoma, named an asteroid after Enid.

In the CBS series The Big Bang Theory, character Sheldon Cooper contemplates moving to Enid because of its "low crime rate" and "high speed internet" service, but decides against it because the city lacks a model railroad store.'. In fact, contrary to Sheldon's claim, Enid hosts the Railroad Museum of Oklahoma.

Sister city

NigerKollo, Niger was declared as Enid's sister city on August 1, 2010 by Mayor John Criner.
  • James, Marquis. Cherokee Strip: A Tale of an Oklahoma Boyhood Viking Press, 1945.
  • Marshall, Frank Hamilton. Phillips University's first fifty years (October 9, 1906-October 9, 1956) Phillips University, 1957.
  • Rockwell, Stella, ed., Garfield County, Oklahoma, 1907–1982, Vol. I & II, Garfield Historical Society, Josten's Publishing Company, Topeka, Kansas. 1982.
  • Klemme, Michael. Celebrating Enid!, 2010.
  • McIntyre, Glen V. Images of America: Enid:1893-1945, Arcadia Publishing, 2012

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