kids encyclopedia robot

Wakita, Oklahoma facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Wakita, Oklahoma
Wakita's water tower
Wakita's water tower
Location of Wakita, Oklahoma
Location of Wakita, Oklahoma
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Grant
 • Total 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
 • Land 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
1,178 ft (359 m)
 • Total 344
 • Density 1,275.4/sq mi (492.4/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 580
FIPS code 40-77950
GNIS feature ID 1099292

Wakita is a town in Grant County, Oklahoma, United States, founded in 1898. It is south from the Kansas border. This town's population was 344 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 18.1 percent from 420 at the 2000 census. Wakita is notable as a location in the 1996 motion picture film, Twister.


Wakita is 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Medford, Oklahoma, the county seat, on State Highway 11A.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 405
1920 338 −16.5%
1930 317 −6.2%
1940 444 40.1%
1950 440 −0.9%
1960 452 2.7%
1970 545 20.6%
1980 526 −3.5%
1990 453 −13.9%
2000 420 −7.3%
2010 344 −18.1%
Est. 2015 344 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

Before the town's founding in 1898, there was a dispute over the right to name the town. The owner of the First General Store and the town's first Post Master pushed for the town to be named Whiteville. Local Deputy U.S. Marshall Herbert John Green motioned that for the town be named after a Cherokee chief (of local notoriety) named Wakita (pronounced Wok-ih-taw). Green and other local settlers wanted to name the town in the Chief's honor because of a protective spell cast by the Chief's tribe to protect the area around the town between Crooked Creek and Pond Creek from tornadoes for a time span of 100 years. The name was also favored because of a battle that had occurred in the area of the town under the leadership of this Indian Chief.

Citing historian George Shirk, the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture states that Wakita is a Cherokee word for water collected in a small depression, such as a buffalo wallow. The same source states that Charles N. Gould claimed that it is probably a Creek word meaning to cry or to lament.

The town began after the Cherokee Outlet was opened to non-Native American settlement September 16, 1893. A post office opened November 14, 1893. Population grew after the Hutchison and Southern Railroad (later the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) built a line through the area in 1897. At statehood in 1907, Wakita had 388 residents. By 1910, there were 405.

The town was featured in and selected as a filming location for the Hollywood blockbuster movie Twister.

On May 10, 2010, numerous tornadoes touched down in Grant County, causing significant damage near the Wakita area. However, the town itself was not destroyed.


As of the census of 2010, there were 344 people, 165 households, and 102 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,275.4 people per square mile (491.4/km²). There were 205 housing units at an average density of 622.5 per square mile (239.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.67% White, 0.24% African American, 2.38% Native American, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.24% of the population.

There were 165 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 21.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 29.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 85.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $30,096, and the median income for a family was $34,792. Males had a median income of $22,361 versus $21,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,302. About 11.4% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.3% of those under age 18 and 22.2% of those age 65 or over.

Popular culture

Wakita was featured in the 1996 blockbuster film Twister starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in which Wakita was destroyed by an F4 tornado that was part of a storm system later spawning an F5 tornado. False fronts were built onto the existing store fronts for some shots and then were removed and replaced with rubble in the streets after the tornadic storm hit and the rest of the building was removed using CGI. Some original buildings were demolished and never replaced, with some of the bricks from the demolished buildings used to construct Twister Park.

kids search engine
Wakita, Oklahoma Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.