115 years of Oklahoma Statehood
LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Oklahoma had it’s 115th birthday.
115 years ago it was the 46th state to join the United States.
“The minute Oklahoma became a state they were able to send that information through the wires to people. There were throngs of people who were standing around the streets of Guthrie waiting for the news and they said it was about thirty minutes of pandemonium in the streets that people were so jubilant and excited that Oklahoma had finally become a state,” Museum of the Great Plains living history interpreter Ian Swart said.
President Theodore Roosevelt signed Presidential Proclamation 780, admitting Oklahoma into the Union in 1907, but it wasn’t their first crack at statehood.
“There were other attempts to make eastern Oklahoma, what is now eastern Oklahoma [a state] and there was a constitutional convention that met I believe as early as 1903,” Swart said.
But, politics got in the way.
“Politicians on the east coast did not want to admit two western states to the union. They at that point in time changed their minds and said if they were going to let a state in Oklahoma and Indian territory had to be combined into one entity,” Swart said.
That meant the city of Lawton, which was 6 years old at the time, would become part of the state.
Their presence helped give Oklahoman’s a voice in federal politics.
“Oklahoma could finally have senators, U.S. senators. That was one of the first acts that Governor Haskel, our first governor, he appointed two Oklahoma Senators to go to Washington, one of them being Thomas Gore of Lawton, became one of our first state senators,” Swart said.
Gore ended up serving three more terms in the senate in 1908, 1914 and again in 1930 before retiring from politics in 1937.
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