Durant, Oklahoma
Main Street in Durant
Main Street in Durant
Official seal of Durant, Oklahoma
City of Magnolias and Gateway to Lake Texoma
Location within the state of Oklahoma
Location within the state of Oklahoma
Durant, Oklahoma is located in the United States
Durant, Oklahoma
Durant, Oklahoma
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472Coordinates: 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472
CountryUnited States
 • MayorOden Grube (D)
 • Vice MayorChad Hitchcock
 • City ManagerTim Rundell
 • Total27.83 sq mi (72.08 km2)
 • Land27.76 sq mi (71.89 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)
636 ft (194 m)
 • Total18,589
 • Density669.68/sq mi (258.56/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code580
FIPS code40-22050[2]
GNIS feature ID1092307[3]

Durant (/drænt/) is a city in Bryan County, Oklahoma, United States that serves as the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. The population was 18,589 in the 2020 census. Durant is the principal city of the Durant Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 46,067 in 2020.[4] The city is the largest in the Choctaw Nation, ranking ahead of McAlester and Poteau. Durant is also part of the Dallas–Fort Worth Combined Statistical Area, anchoring the northern edge.[5]

The city was founded by Dixon Durant, a Choctaw who lived in the area,[6] after the MK&T railroad came through the Indian Territory in the early 1870s. It became the county seat of Bryan County[7] in 1907 after Oklahoma statehood.

Durant is home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation. The city is officially known as the Magnolia Capital of Oklahoma.[8] The city and its micropolitan are a major part of the Texoma region.


Bryan County Courthouse and Confederate monument
Bryan County Courthouse and Confederate monument

The Durant area was once claimed by both Spain and France before officially becoming part of the United States after the Louisiana Purchase and Adams–Onís Treaty. During the 1820s and 1830s the area was designated as part of the Choctaw Nation in the southern Indian Territory. During the Indian removals the Choctaws followed the Choctaw Trail of Tears from their ancestral homeland in Mississippi and Alabama into this area. The Choctaw Nation originally extended from the Mexican border in the west (now part of the Texas panhandle) to the Arkansas Territory in the east, from the Red River in the south to the South Canadian River in the north. In 1855, the Choctaw and Chickasaws formally divided their land into two separate nations, with Durant remaining in Choctaw territory on the east. Chickasaw land extended west to the boundary that would divide Indian Territory from Oklahoma Territory after passage of the Oklahoma Organic Act in 1890.[9]

Pierre Durant and his four sons, all of French-Choctaw origin, made the journey up the Trail of Tears on the way to the southeastern part of the Choctaw Nation in 1832. The brothers, grown, with families of their own, established homesteads from the Arkansas line to Durant. One son, Fisher, married to a full-blood Choctaw, found a beautiful location for a home between Durant's present Eighth and Ninth avenues. At the time of Durant's founding it was located in Blue County, a part of the Pushmataha District of the Choctaw Nation.[10]

Fisher Durant's son Dixon Durant is recognized as the founder of Durant and is honored as its namesake. A minister, businessman and civic leader, Dixon Durant is credited with pastorates in local Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist churches. He established the first store selling general merchandise in 1873,[9] around the time of the 1872 creation of the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (Katy Railroad) siding at Durant, which was the initial impetus for establishing the community.[9]

The Missouri-Kansas and Texas Railway (also known as the MKT or "Katy") had already laid a line through the area that would become Durant by November 1882. A wheelless boxcar was parked on the siding there and named "Durant Station". Dixon Durant erected the first building, adjacent to the boxcar, where he opened a general store in 1873. The first post office, also named as Durant Station, Indian Territory, opened February 20, 1879, but closed on July 11, 1881.[11] A.E. Fulsom was postmaster.[12] The U.S. Postal Service re-established the post office at the site as Durant on March 8, 1882, dropping the word "station" from the name.[11] Beginning in 1882, the area was simply called Durant.[9]

W.H. Hilton was elected the first mayor of Durant.

A memorable event in Durant's rail history occurred on April 5, 1905. A special southbound Katy train stopped in the city with President Theodore Roosevelt aboard.[13]

In 1895, a fire destroyed the original business district, which had spread along the Katy tracks.

Durant City Hall
Durant City Hall

Calvin Institute was opened in 1894, representing the first institute of higher education in the immediate area, which was an outgrowth of Presbyterian mission work among the Choctaw Indian nation. Its success led it being reopened as a larger school, Durant Presbyterian College in 1901, later renamed as Oklahoma Presbyterian College.[14] After statehood became effective on November 16, 1907, the state legislature created the Southeastern State Normal School at Durant, which opened March 6, 1909. This school was renamed Southeastern State Teachers College in 1921, and renamed again in 1974 as the present Southeastern Oklahoma State University.[9]

Further growth of the town was inhibited by its proximity to the larger town of Caddo (also on the Katy line) and the fact that Dixon Durant did not want to sell more of the land he had inherited to non-Indians. In the 1902-1903 timeframe, the St. Louis, San Francisco and New Orleans Railroad, an affiliate of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (also known as "SL&SF" or "Frisco") had intended to build an east–west line through Caddo, where it would intersect the Katy; however, the land prices near Caddo had increased rapidly, causing the Frisco to bypass Caddo in favor of Durant.[15][16]

In 1904, Durant was named in a grand jury instruction as a sundown town where a notice had been posted warning African Americans not to stay after dark.[17]

The Oklahoma Constitutional Convention selected Durant as the county seat for Bryan County, Oklahoma, which would supersede Blue County at statehood. In 1908, a special election ratified this choice over three other candidates for the honor: Bokchito, Blue, and Sterrett (later renamed Calera).[15]

Bryan County was created from Choctaw lands in 1907, the same time as statehood, and was named after William Jennings Bryan. Bryan was nominated three times for President of the United States and at the age of 36 lost to William McKinley. He lost to McKinley again in 1900, and to William H. Taft in 1908. Woodrow Wilson appointed the county's namesake as United States Secretary of State in 1913.

Eleven people were killed in Durant by a tornado in April 1919.[18]

The town's population grew from 2,969 in 1900 to 5,330 in 1910, 12,823 in 1990, and to 13,549 in 2000.[9]

The Durant Downtown Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Durant is located in southeast Oklahoma, in a region named Texoma, or Texomaland, because of its short distance from Lake Texoma. The city is also part of Choctaw Country, formerly Kiamichi Country. Its geographic coordinates are 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472 (33.999834, −96.384825).[19] It is approximately 14 miles (23 km) north of the Texas border at the Red River. Dallas is about 88 miles (142 km) south of Durant. The north edge of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, in McKinney, is about 58 miles (93 km) to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city of Durant has a total area of 26.8 square miles (69.3 km2), of which 26.7 square miles (69.2 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.24%, is water.[20]


Climate data for Durant, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
Average high °F (°C) 53
Average low °F (°C) 31
Record low °F (°C) −6
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.2
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1.2
Source 1: weather.com
Source 2: Weatherbase.com [21]


Historical population
Census Pop.

According to the 2020 census, the racial composition of Durant was as follows:[27]

As of the census of 2010,[28] there were 15,856 people and 3,651 families residing in the city. The population density was 830 people per square mile (322/km2). There were 7,202 housing units. Nearly three fourths of the city's population (74.7%) self-identified as white, 13.3% self-identified as Native American, and 2.2% self-identified as black or African American. Less than a tenth of the population (7.1%) self-identified as Hispanic or Latino, regardless of race. Individuals of mixed Native American and white heritage accounted for 4.8% of the population. Less than 1% of the population was Asian or Pacific Islander.

Durant's first census was recorded in 1900, and the population was 2,969. [a] The 2000 census reported Durant's population as 13,549.

There were 6,331 households in the city, of which 26% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.3% were non-families. Individuals living alone accounted for 32.9% of households and 25.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22% under the age of 18, 18.6% from 18 to 24, 24.8% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.9 years. There were slightly more females (51.4% of the population) than males (48.6%).

The median income for a household in the city was $35,135, and the median income for a family was $41,014. Males working full-time had a median income of $34,040 versus $26,197 for female full-time workers. The per capita income for the city was $18,009. About 21% of families and 28% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35% of those under age 18 and 14% of those age 65 or over.


Durant was ranked as the fastest growing rural city in Oklahoma in 2004, having the fastest growth rate outside of the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metropolitan areas.[29]

Durant's daytime population increases to approximately 20,000 people.[citation needed] The city has a pull factor of 1.8–2.1 times its population and was named an All-American City finalist for 2006.[citation needed]

Since 1999, the Durant Economic Development Department, the Durant Industrial Authority and the City of Durant have developed over $600,000,000 in new investments to the city.[citation needed]

Durant currently leads the state in economic development.[citation needed] One of the city's strongest industries is tourism; attractions include Lake Texoma, the Choctaw Casino Resort, and Fort Washita. Manufacturing and distribution are growing industries in Durant with several factories being constructed and planned.

North building of Choctaw Casino Resort
North building of Choctaw Casino Resort

The largest employer in Durant is the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, including the Choctaw Nation Headquarters and the Choctaw Casino Resort, which has two Choctaw Travel Plazas, two Choctaw casinos, the Choctaw Inn, and more facilities that are located in the resort. Over 5,400 people work for the Choctaw Nation in Durant. Though the capital of the Choctaw Nation is recognized as being Tuskahoma, the administrative offices are located in Durant.

In 1894, Calvin Institute, a school for Native American youths, was established in Durant. By 1899, it had attracted an enrollment of 300. It was renamed Durant Presbyterian College in 1900 and Oklahoma Presbyterian College in 1910. The support for the school came from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the federal government, and several denominational missionary boards. Because of financial difficulties, the school was closed as a learning institution in the late 1960s. Chief Clark David Gardner established the Choctaw Nation administrative offices at the old Oklahoma Presbyterian College Building in 1975.

In 1976, in cooperation with the Durant Chamber of Commerce and the owners of the buildings, the Red River Valley Historical Association, title was transferred to the federal government. Ceremonies were held August 17, 1976, commemorating the title transfer. Reacquisition of this building allowed centralization of government which permits more effective utilization of personnel in administering current programs and developing future programs. The buildings has been renovated, and administration of many Choctaw programs are headquartered there.

Another important part of Durant's economy is the city's historic central business district and the retail district. In the past few years, downtown Durant has seen growth, renewal projects such as streetscaping, and new businesses arriving. Durant has a Main Street program.[30] The retail district is west of downtown, at the intersection of U.S. 69/75 and U.S. 70, and is Durant's fastest growing area.

Cardinal Glass Industries has a float glass manufacturing facility in western Durant. It became operational in July 2004. This plant is number 20 for Cardinal Glass Industries.

Big Lots has a 1,200,000 sq ft (110,000 m2). distribution center in Durant that began operating in January 2004.

Durant is home to the headquarters of First United Bank, one of the largest privately owned banks in the United States,[citation needed] and First Texoma National Bank. Indian Nation Wholesale, also headquartered in Durant, was the 15th largest wholesaler in the United States as of 2008.[31]

Arts and culture

The large peanut in Durant
The large peanut in Durant

Durant is home to the annual Magnolia Festival and the Three Valley Museum. The festival is put on by the Durant Chamber of Commerce and Durant Main Street Program the weekend following Memorial Day. It features music, shopping, shows, and two pageants – the Magnolia Pageant and the Choctaw Princess Pageant.[32]

The Oklahoma Legislature proclaimed Durant as the "Magnolia Capital of the World" in 1993. Every year since, the town has celebrated a Magnolia Festival during the weekend following Memorial Day.[9]

Durant has a "World's Largest Peanut" monument, a title it shares with two other monuments in Texas and Ashburn, Georgia. This monument to the peanut growers in Bryan County is located on the front lawn of Durant's city hall. Dedicated in 1973, it includes a time capsule that contains historic and legal documents, which will be unearthed in the year 2023.

The Three Valley Museum houses historical artifacts of Bryan County. Opened in 1976, it is named for a book about Durant, Queen of the Three Valleys by Henry McCreary, which references the city's location in the middle of the Red, Blue River, and Washita River valleys. The museum's exhibits include an early law office, doctor's office, child's room, parlor, and general store.

The Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival is housed on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival is one of the top summer theatre festivals in America. It has made Durant and Southeastern Oklahoma State University a destination for tourists, professional and aspiring actors and theatre artisans.[33]


Although no major sports team is located in Durant, many sporting opportunities are found in the city, including the Durant Multi-Sports Complex, golf, soccer pitches, and baseball fields.

The Durant Multi-Sports Complex is an athletic facility located 2 mi (3 km) southeast of Durant, on Highway 78. The sports complex, dedicated on November 17, 2006, sits on 80 acres (32 ha), with 100 acres (40 ha) undeveloped. It consists of baseball and softball fields, soccer pitches, and a football stadium/track field. A 17-acre (69,000 m2) lake is under construction, and a walking and biking trail is planned to be built around the lake. The cost of the complex was $7 million.

Parks and recreation

The City of Durant maintains and operates 11 parks totaling more than 251 acres (1.02 km2). They include:

Less than 15 miles (24 km) away, Lake Texoma has between 8–10 million visitors every year and is the 12th largest lake in the United States, and also one of the largest reservoirs in the country, contributing to Durant's economic and population growth.


Durant is governed by a council-manager form of municipal government. The city manager is the administrative leader of the government and is appointed by the city council. The city's ceremonial head is the mayor, who is a voting member of the council with limited administrative power.

The city manager is John Dean.[34] The current mayor is Oden Grube.[35] The city is divided into four wards with a member of the city council from each. There is also an at-large city council member. The current mayor also represents Ward 1.[36]


Higher education

Main article: Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant is home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which has about 5,200 enrolled students. It is the only university in Oklahoma to offer a Master of Science in Aviation and Space. Southeastern Oklahoma State University offers degrees through its Aviation Sciences Institute, the largest aviation program in the state. The main campus in Durant has facilities at the airport to support flight training and facilities on campus to facilitate the management options in business, maintenance, safety, and security. The institute offers the undergraduate management degrees as well as the Master of Science degree in Aerospace Administration & Logistics.[37]

Southeastern Oklahoma State University also offers a doctoral degree, Ed.D., in Applied Educational Studies with the Aviation and Space Science specialization and a Graduate Certificate in Aviation Security.[38]

Career and technical education

Durant is home to the Kiamichi Technology Center, which has eight other locations in southeastern Oklahoma. Kiamichi is part of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

Elementary and secondary

See also: Durant Independent School District

The Durant Independent School District is the largest school district in southeastern Oklahoma and serves approximately 3,100 students.[39] The district includes six schools and includes preschool, primary and secondary education.

The region is also home to the Silo School District, which includes three schools and serves approximately 680 students,[40] and to one of two schools in the Rock Creek School District.[41]

The city has a private K-12 school, Victory Life Academy, which has an enrollment of about 250 students.[42]


Durant is served by a newspaper, The Durant Democrat, formerly The Durant Daily Democrat, which publishes three days each week, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Democrat was purchased by Graystone Media Group LLC, a group of local businessmen, in 2018. Graystone Media has also started monthly publications in Kingston, OK and Calera, OK. No television studios are located in the city, but it receives over the air reception from the Sherman-Ada DMA, which happens to have studios in Sherman and Denison, Texas, with branch studios in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The city has an independent cable television and Internet provider called Vyve. On August 26, 2016, Ryan Nazari, an Oklahoma City Thunder fan, created a petition to change the city's name to "Westbrook" because Kevin Durant left the team for the Golden State Warriors that received 1,999 supporters.[43]

The city receives the following stations:

Public-access television cable television stations include:

The city receives the following radio stations:


Durant water tower
Durant water tower

Roads and highways

Northbound Highway 69/75 in Durant
Northbound Highway 69/75 in Durant

US 69/US 75 – A north-south four-lane divided highway and freeway. US 69/75 enters Oklahoma as a freeway from the Dallas area. It then downgrades to a divided four-lane highway just north of Colbert. The highway then enters Durant from the south. After its at-grade intersection with Choctaw Road, it again upgrades to a freeway, passing through western and northern Durant, and again downgrades to a four-lane divided highway at the Bryan-Atoka County line.

US 70 – An east–west route. Highway 70 enters Durant from the east as a two-lane highway as Mulberry Street, crossing a Union Pacific railroad via a bridge. It then heads southward toward downtown on First Avenue as a 3-lane, concurrent with SH 78 and Business Routes 69/75. Downtown it has an intersection with Main Street, then continues its route westward on West Main Street concurrent with Business Routes 69/75. Just west of downtown it turns into a three-lane street, and after its intersection with 9th Avenue it converts into a 5-lane street. At Washington Avenue it downgrades to a two-lane again while it travels through West End Heights, a historic and upscale neighborhood. At 21st Avenue it turns into a divided four-lane highway in the Retail District, intersecting with 69/75 as a parclo interchange. Highway 70 continues westward toward Mead and Lake Texoma as a 5-lane highway.

SH 78 – A north–south route. SH 78 enters Durant from the south as Southeast 3rd Avenue and as a two-lane. It comes to an intersection with East Main Street and turns westward toward downtown continuing its route. At the intersection of Main and First Avenue, the highway turns northward onto First Avenue as a 3-lane street, concurrent with Highway 70 and Business Routes 69/75. It continues northward to University Boulevard and turns into a two-lane highway. Just before its intersection with 69/75 (via ramps), SH 78 turns into a divided four-lane highway for a short time and then turns into a two-lane highway again, exiting the city.

Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines.[44]

In a 2006 study by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, an average of about 19,100 vehicles pass Durant's Main Street on U.S. 69/75 every day. Approximately 19,000 vehicles pass under 69/75 on Main Street daily.[45]

The major streets are First Avenue, Southeast 3rd Avenue, South 9th Avenue, Washington Avenue, Radio Road, University Place, 49th Avenue, Choctaw Road, Rodeo Road, West Main Street, East Main Street, University Boulevard, Chuckwa Street, Gail Farrell Drive, and Mockingbird Lane.

There are four exits in Durant from U.S. 69/75, at First Avenue, Washington Avenue, University/Chuckwa (the exit off northbound 69/75 is the only one complete), and Main Street. There are also traffic lights at the intersection of U.S. 69/75 and Choctaw Road south of Durant, where the Choctaw Casino Resort is located.


Durant Regional Airport – Eaker Field, the city's airport, and home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University's Aviation Sciences Institute, was a U.S. Navy auxiliary airfield during World War II. It is named after U.S. Army Air Force General Ira C. Eaker, early commander of the legendary Eighth Air Force in wartime England, who graduated from the university (then known as Southeastern State Teacher's College) in 1917.

The closest international airports to Durant are Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.


Durant is a major railroad center. The giant Union Pacific Railroad and the short-line Kiamichi Railroad intersect in downtown.


Durant is served by a city-owned water plant and sewage treatment center. Residents receive electricity from OG&E and Southeastern Electric Co-op.


Durant is served by AllianceHealth Durant, which was formerly the Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma.[46] Built in 1987, the medical center replaced the Bryan Memorial Hospital.[citation needed]

Emergency Medical Services are provided by Bryan County EMS.[47]

Notable people

See also: List of Southeastern Oklahoma State University notable people

Popular culture references

Other distinctions

Durant has had the honor to be recognized on a national scale on various occasions, regarding famous visitations or other attention. An example of this is as follows:

President Theodore Roosevelt addressed the community from the back of his train car on April 5, 1905.
President Theodore Roosevelt addressed the community from the back of his train car on April 5, 1905.


  1. ^ When it was time for the 1890 U.S. census, Durant was considered as "too small to count."[15]


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  4. ^ "Quick Facts: Bryan County, OK". US Census Bureau. Retrieved November 12, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  12. ^ Foreman, p. 6
  13. ^ "Roosevelt Says He's a Typical President" (PDF). The New York Times. New York, New York. April 6, 1905. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
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  15. ^ a b c Kelli E. Gaston (February 14, 2007). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Durant Downtown Historic District". National Park Service. Retrieved June 2, 2017. With 33 photos.
  16. ^ "Hope, AR" (PDF). All Aboard, January-February, 1994, p.17-18, The Frisco Rail Museum, (accessed on CondrenRails.com). Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  17. ^ "Considers Conspiracy Law". The Wagoner Echo. Wagoner, Indian Territory. November 19, 1904. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com. Now in Durant and other towns in the Central District, and for that matter, in Holdenville, Ada and other towns in the territory notices had been posted for the Negroes not to let the sun go down on them in said towns.
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  33. ^ "Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival".
  34. ^ "Durant names new city manager".
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  39. ^ Durant School District, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  40. ^ Silo School District, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  41. ^ Rock Creek Elementary School, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
  42. ^ Victory Life Academy, Education.com . Retrieved June 9, 2010.
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Further reading