Blaine County
Blaine County Courthouse in Watonga
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Blaine County
Location within the U.S. state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°53′N 98°26′W / 35.88°N 98.43°W / 35.88; -98.43
Country United States
State Oklahoma
FoundedMay 2, 1890
Named forJames G. Blaine
SeatWatonga
Largest cityWatonga
Area
 • Total939 sq mi (2,430 km2)
 • Land928 sq mi (2,400 km2)
 • Water10 sq mi (30 km2)  1.1%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total8,735
 • Density9.3/sq mi (3.6/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district3rd
Websiteblaine.okcounties.org

Blaine County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2020 census, the population was 8,735.[1] Its county seat is Watonga.[2] Part of the Cheyenne-Arapaho land opening in 1892, the county had gained rail lines by the early 1900s and highways by the 1930s.[3][4] The county was named for James G. Blaine, an American politician who was the Republican presidential candidate in 1884 and Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison.[3]

History

Roman Nose State Park

Blaine County was one of several counties created by the Land Run of 1892. It was designated as county "C" beginning in 1890 before the land run.[5] According to one account, the designation "C" remained until the first public elections in 1892. When the time came to choose another name for the county, there seemed to be roughly equal support for two military heroes: "Sheridan" and "Custer". Before voting began, the chairman gave a stirring speech proposing Blaine, who had recently died, and who was a local favorite. The majority of voters swung behind Blaine's name, which was ultimately chosen for County C.[6] The area was settled by Creek and Seminole, whom the federal government relocated to the area in the 1820s and 1830s.[3] The Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes were relocated to the area from Colorado in 1869, after the Reconstruction Treaties of 1866 had taken the land back from the Creek and Seminole.[3]

The land run was held after giving members of the tribe allotments of 160 acres (0.65 km2) each.[7]

A post office was established in the county seat of Watonga, the same year as the land run.[8] The Enid and Anadarko Railway and the Blackwell, Enid and Southwestern Railroad both ran lines through the county from 1901 to 1903.[3] The Blaine County Courthouse was built in 1906.[8]

The town of Geary, which also received a post office in the same year as the land run, became an agricultural trade center in the county, and had a population of 2,561 by 1902.[9] The town was home to "the oldest bank in Blaine County."[9] Okeene was also established in the year of the land run and was surrounded by farmers of German descent.[10]

In 1904, Blaine County was the birthplace of voice actor Clarence Nash, the original voice of Disney's Donald Duck. The county's population was 17,227 in 1907, and rose to 17,960 in 1910.[3] It had declined to 15,875 by 1920.[3]

The U.S. highway system reached Oklahoma in 1926.[4] U.S. Highways 270 and 281 were constructed through Blaine County.[3] The county was also served by the Postal Highway as early as 1912; it later became part of U.S. Highway 66.[9]

The county's population peaked at 20,452 in 1930.[3] New Deal programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps employed county residents and built Roman Nose State Park, which opened in 1937.[3]

By the 21st century, the county had a population of 11,976.[3] Between 2010 and 2020 the population of Blaine County declined by 26.9 percent to 8,735. It was the largest decrease in percentage terms during the decade of any Oklahoma county.[11] Although population decreases are typical of most rural Oklahoma countries, much of the population decline of Blaine County from 2010 to 2020 was due to the closing in 2010 of a prison which was the largest employer in the county.[12]

Government

The county is served by seven elected county officials: a county sheriff, three county commissioners, a county clerk, a county assessor, and a county treasurer.[5] The three commissioners each have districts with approximately equal populations based on the latest census.[5] The county government is primarily housed in the Blaine County Courthouse in Watonga.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 939 square miles (2,430 km2), of which 928 square miles (2,400 km2) is land and 10 square miles (26 km2) (1.1%) is water.[13] The northeastern half of the county is located on the western edge of the Red Bed Plains while the southwestern half lies in the Gypsum Hills.[3] The North Canadian River runs through the county from northwest to southeast.[3]

The county includes the largest lake in western Oklahoma, Canton Lake.[14]

The county seat of Watonga hosts an annual cheese festival in October, celebrating the city's cheese factory.[15]

Major highways

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
190010,658
191017,96068.5%
192015,875−11.6%
193020,45228.8%
194018,543−9.3%
195015,049−18.8%
196012,077−19.7%
197011,794−2.3%
198013,44314.0%
199011,470−14.7%
200011,9764.4%
201011,943−0.3%
20208,735−26.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]
1790-1960[17] 1900-1990[18]
1990-2000[19] 2010-2019[1] 2020[20]
Age pyramid for Blaine County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.
Age pyramid for Blaine County, Oklahoma, based on census 2000 data.

As of the census[21] of 2000, there were 11,976 people, 4,159 households, and 2,865 families residing in the county, nearly half of them located in the county seat of Watonga. The population density of the county was 13 people per square mile (5/km2). There were 5,208 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.29% white, 8.70% Native American, 6.65% Black or African American, 0.71% Asian, 0.81% Pacific Islander, 2.86% from other races, and 3.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino individuals of any race made up 6.62% of the population.

There were 4,159 households, out of which 30.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them. Slightly more than half (56.20%) were married couples living together, nearly a third (29%) were made up of individuals, 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years or age or older, and 8.6% were run by a female with no husband present. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.08.

The median age of the county in 2000 was 38 years, with almost a third (28.6%) of the population aged 25 to 44. Individuals under the age of 18 made up 24% of the population, individuals age 45 to 64 made up 21.4% of the population, individuals age 65 or older made up 16.8% of the population, and individuals between the ages of 18 to 24 made up 9.1% of the population. There were slightly more males than females, with 119.3 males for every 100 females and 125 adult males (18 or older) for every 100 female adults.

The median income for a household in the county in 2000 was $28,356, and the median income for a family was $34,565. Males had a median income of $26,284 versus $18,619 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,546. About 12.8 percent of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of November 1, 2019[22]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Democratic 1,566 30.51%
Republican 2,956 57.59%
Others 596 11.61%
Total 5,133 100%
United States presidential election results for Blaine County, Oklahoma[23]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 3,136 80.39% 688 17.64% 77 1.97%
2016 2,884 76.03% 711 18.75% 198 5.22%
2012 2,824 74.00% 992 26.00% 0 0.00%
2008 3,101 75.41% 1,011 24.59% 0 0.00%
2004 3,199 72.36% 1,222 27.64% 0 0.00%
2000 2,633 64.31% 1,402 34.25% 59 1.44%
1996 2,127 46.88% 1,832 40.38% 578 12.74%
1992 2,209 43.73% 1,564 30.96% 1,279 25.32%
1988 2,889 61.03% 1,775 37.49% 70 1.48%
1984 4,037 72.69% 1,484 26.72% 33 0.59%
1980 3,708 70.44% 1,399 26.58% 157 2.98%
1976 2,682 53.05% 2,297 45.43% 77 1.52%
1972 3,958 77.73% 963 18.91% 171 3.36%
1968 3,036 60.08% 1,285 25.43% 732 14.49%
1964 2,741 53.48% 2,384 46.52% 0 0.00%
1960 3,646 67.88% 1,725 32.12% 0 0.00%
1956 3,855 67.64% 1,844 32.36% 0 0.00%
1952 4,851 72.65% 1,826 27.35% 0 0.00%
1948 2,835 52.21% 2,595 47.79% 0 0.00%
1944 3,480 62.24% 2,097 37.51% 14 0.25%
1940 4,080 56.54% 3,095 42.89% 41 0.57%
1936 2,877 39.98% 4,242 58.95% 77 1.07%
1932 1,728 26.80% 4,719 73.20% 0 0.00%
1928 3,413 67.83% 1,543 30.66% 76 1.51%
1924 2,255 48.53% 1,488 32.02% 904 19.45%
1920 2,786 61.64% 1,296 28.67% 438 9.69%
1916 1,339 40.97% 1,214 37.15% 715 21.88%
1912 831 42.66% 744 38.19% 373 19.15%


Economy

Southard, located in central Blaine County, is the site of one of the purest gypsum deposits in the United States and is home to the U.S. Gypsum Company, the largest industrial plant in the county.[5]

Lying in the Cimarron Valley, Okeene's economy has been based in agriculture, primarily wheat and hay.[10] Major manufacturing businesses are the Okeene Milling Company, Seaboard Farms, and Mountain Country Foods, a manufacturer of pet food.[10] The Okeene Municipal Hospital and Clinic is one of the primary medical centers of northwest Oklahoma.[10]

Communities

NRHP sites

Main article: National Register of Historic Places listings in Blaine County, Oklahoma

The following sites in Blaine County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Old Plant Office Building, U.S. Gypsum Co., Southard
  • Old Salt Works, Southard
  • Public Water Trough, Geary
  • Shinn Family Barn, Okeene
  • Sooner Co-op Association Elevator (West), Okeene
  • United States Post Office Watonga
  • J. H. Wagner House, Watonga
  • Watonga Armory, Watonga

References

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Wilson, Linda D., "Blaine County,"," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Oklahoma's US Highways (accessed June 11, 2010).
  5. ^ a b c d "Blaine County History". Blaine County, Oklahoma. Archived from the original on February 28, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2010.
  6. ^ Rainey, "George. "Naming Blaine County." Historia. vol. 1, no. 4. June 15, 1910. Accessed August 30, 2019.
  7. ^ Reggio, Michael H., "Cheyenne-Arapaho Opening," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Crawford, Terri. "Watonga," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Rinehart, Merle. Geary," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d Reynolds, W. Dale. "Okeene," [Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture], 2009. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  11. ^ "2020 Population and Housing Data".
  12. ^ Wagner, Peter. "Closed prison can mean long-term harm to democracy in Oklahoma County". Prison Gerrymandering Project. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  13. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  14. ^ Blaine County Government Website, "Communities of Blaine County (accessed July 7, 2010).
  15. ^ Bates, Richenda Davis. "Watonga Cheese Festival," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, 2009. Accessed March 28, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  17. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  18. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  19. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2015.
  20. ^ "2020 Population and Housing Data".
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  22. ^ "Oklahoma Registration Statistics by County" (PDF). OK.gov. November 1, 2019. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  23. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 28, 2018.


Coordinates: 35°53′N 98°26′W / 35.88°N 98.43°W / 35.88; -98.43