The word Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw words “okla” and “humma,” meaning “red people.” It is also known by its nickname, The Sooner State, which references the non-Native settlers who claimed the best pieces of land before the official opening date of the Unassigned Lands. Those people who entered early were known as the “Sooners.” Just as our state has a nickname and a meaning behind the name, so do many towns inside Oklahoma. Here are 14 town nicknames in Oklahoma and the meaning behind them.
1. Tulsa: Oil Capital of the World
Tulsa claimed the name early in the 20th century, after oil strikes at Red Fork and Glenpool in Tulsa County. The Congress (IEP) wanted to "firmly establish Tulsa for all time to come as the oil center of the entire world." The name is now used as a historical or nostalgic term, as Houston, TX has claimed the title.
2. Stilwell: Strawberry Capital
During the Depression and World War II, strawberries became a major crop in the county of Adair. In 1948 the first Strawberry Festival was held and in 1949 the state governor proclaimed it as "Strawberry Capital of the World."
3. Rush Springs: Watermelon Capital of the World
The town's largest event is the annual Watermelon Annual Festival which started in 1948. It is a major cash crop for this town and in its honor the festival is held, drawing in more than 20,000 visitors every year.
4. Purcell: Quarterhorse Capital of the World
Purcell is located in the heart of horse country and was nicknamed the "Quarter Horse Capital of the World." The town has a large presence of ranches for breeding this animal for racing and pleasure.
5.Oklahoma City: The Cinderella City
A former edition of American Airlines’ "American Way" includes an article describing Oklahoma City as a “Cinderella City.” The article describes how the Metropolitan Area Projects revitalized the city and led to it attracting the Oklahoma City Thunder. Many other publications and people have now adopted the nickname.
6. Muskogee: The Gee
The younger generation has affectionately nicknamed their city "The Gee." It is just a shortened version of Muskogee.
7. Mannford: Striped Bass Capital
Mannford is known as the "Striped Bass Capital of the World" due to its proximity to Lake Keystone.
8. Inola: Hay Capital of the World
Inola has been considered the "Hay Capital of the World" for thirty-five years because of the high quality of Bluestem Prairie Hay grown on the many hay fields in town.
9. Glenpool: The Town That Made Tulsa Famous
Glenpool has been known as “The Town That Made Tulsa Famous” because of the discovery of oil in 1905 on the land of Ida Berryhill Glenn. The oil boom that resulted at the Glenn Pool made Tulsa the “Oil Capital of the World.”
10. Enid: E-Town or Etown
A magazine named itself E-town to cover all things Enid and the nicknames are just a cool, shortened version of Enid.
11. El Reno: The Onion Fried Burger Capital of the World
El Reno holds an annual Fried Onion Burger Day and has the record for the World’s Largest Fried Onion Hamburger. The fried onion burger has been cooked daily in El Reno since the early 1900's.
12. Drumright: Town of Oil Repute
Drumright sprang up nearly overnight in 1912 after oil was struck. It is believed to be the only remaining oil related boomtown in Oklahoma.
13. Beaver: Cow Chip Capital of the World
Cow chips (a.k.a. cow dung) were an integral part of life during the pioneer days. They were used for many purposes and families starting having contests who could throw them the farthest. In 1970, Beaver, OK, turned this activity into an actual sport and now holds the title, "Cow Chip Capital of the World." The town holds an annual World Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest.
14. Bartlesville: City of Legends
The city is proud of its many legends that have made Bartlesville great, hence the name "City of Legends."
What other towns do you know the nicknames and history of? Let us know below in the comments.