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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

Armory Building

The Tonkawa Armory was built by the WPA in 1936

Tonkawa, OK Historic Buildings

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

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

Derailed Railroad Co. Museum

- DISPLAY MOVED TO TOP OF OKLAHOMA MUSEUM, 303 South Main -

Blackwell, OK Museums

Cann Memorial Garden Center

A pathway winds under a wisteria arbor around a lily pond and through spectacular color- coordinated beds of perennials, herbs and annuals in this peaceful botanical garden. The gardens were donated to the City of Ponca City by Elsie Cann Brown, daughter of L. A. and Mary Cann in August 1975.

Ponca City, OK Gardens


Centennial Plaza

The Centennial Plaza, with its backdrop of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, was started as a project for the Centennial year of the 1893

Ponca City, OK Arts

McCarter Museum

In 1997, the Tonkawa Historical Society purchased a building in downtown Tonkawa to house a museum. Ideally located directly across from Centennial Park, the McCarter Museum of Tonkawa History was opened on July 4th, 1997. The innovative interior layout was designed to tell a series of "stories." Tonkawa, 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



Explore Kay County