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Kay County, OK

Kay CountyThe lands in the area of Kay County and surrounding the present Kaw Lake were once claimed by the Osage Indian Nation. Controversies about this claim let to the ratification of a treaty in 1870 forced the Osage east into what is now Osage County. In 1871, a Congressional Commission and a delegation of Kaw Indians selected the northeast portion of the former Osage holdings as a future home for the Kaw Indians. Chief Washungah, or Washunga, both spellings are correct, led 516 Kaw Indians from Council Grove, Kansas to the 100,000 acres set aside for the Kaw Reservation.

The old settlement of Washungah is located within the Federal Corps of Engineers project lands of Kaw Reservoir. It was the site for the Kaw Agency, Kaw Cemetery, and a trading post. Included among its buildings were a boarding school dormitory, infirmary, the superintendent's home and the school which later became the Kaw Council House. The council house has been moved to higher ground and reconstructed, stone by stone, and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kaw Cemetery was also relocated to a higher elevation and is now located near the city of Newkirk, Oklahoma.

Another historical site located on the corps lands is the Deer Creek archeological site located in the vicinity of Traders Bend Park area. This site, which is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is believed to represent an early French trading post and Indian village. The French first entered the area in 1719, and shortly thereafter, trade with the Indians was established.

Other points of historical interest located in the county are the famed "Pioneer Woman" statue and museum and the Marland Mansion, both of which are located in Ponca City. Also located seven miles southwest of Ponca City is the site of the once sprawling famous 101 Ranch "White House." This was once one of the world's largest ranches and was often visited by Presidents and Kings and the rich and famous from all points of the world.

In 1902 "Old Kaw City," now inundated by the waters of Kaw Lake, was founded as a farming community in the fertile oxbow bend of the Arkansas River. It later became a booming oil town when oil was discovered nearby. Today, a new Kaw City is located on higher ground near the lake.

Explore Kay County

Ponca Chief, Standing Bear

Standing Bear won the battle for himself and for all Native Americans to become "persons" under United States law. His fight for his land and his dignity has been recorded as one of the first victories for civil rights in America.

Ponca City, OK Ethnic Heritage




Marland Estate Mansion

Marland modeled his dream home after the Davanzati Palace in Florence, Italy. Breathtakingly beautiful, this "Palace on the Prairie"

Ponca City, OK Museums

Electric Park Pavilion

The Electric Park Pavilion, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has always been the centerpiece of civic and social life in the community. This magnificent structure was constructed in 1912-1913

Blackwell, OK Historic Buildings

Kaw City Museum

The Kaw City Museum was established in the railroad station of "old" Kaw City when the depot was moved from the old town site to the new location on the hill overlooking the Arkansas River valley. The depot was finished in 1903 by the Eastern Oklahoma Railway Co. It was the "

Kaw City, OK Museums


Blackwell Armory

The Blackwell Armory with it Art Deco architecture was built in 1925, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Blackwell, OK Historic Buildings

Centennial Marker

The Cherokee Strip Centennial Marker located in Centennial Park is dedicated to the people who loved the land and settled this area during the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893

Tonkawa, OK Memorials


Cultural Center Museum & Visitors Center

The Ponca City Cultural Center Museum is the former home of Ernest Whitworth Marland, tenth Governor of Oklahoma, who came to Ponca City to visit the 101 Ranch. He remained to build a vast oil empire. He was the founder and president of Marland Oil Company, now Conoco Inc.

Ponca City, OK Museums

Explore Kay County