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HOLDENVILLE, INDIAN TERRITORY.

BY J. W. KIEF.

 

Holdenville is distinctly an American community and one of the few Territory towns that bears an English name. It was founded in 1885, and was named for Mr. J. F. Holden, who has taken a keen interest in every enterprise that would contribute to its growth. Holdenville is in the southwest corner of the Creek Nation, on the Frisco System. It has had a slow, steady, substantial growth from the beginning, despite the anomalous conditions that prevail in the Territory, and today presents many striking evidences of a progressive and enterprising citizenship. An authentic census, just completed, fixes its population at 2,100. It must be remembered that whatever degree of progress is manifested in the career of Indian Territory towns, it has been made despite the unsettled conditions through which they have struggled. Notwithstanding these hindrances, Holdenville has reached its present status and is just emerging from the shadows of uncertainty into the dawn of a new era. The appraisements have been made, titles fixed and deeds to real estate are being issued. The Creek Council has ratified the supplemental treaty, and deeds to Indian lands are being issued to allottees, thus insuring, settled conditions and the passing of the lands into the hands of white men with the means and disposition to develop one of the richest and most productive sections of the Southwest.

Holdenville is ready for the new order of things. The town has made gigantic strides through the period of discouragement and takes high rank among the thrifty municipalities of the future great state to be. It is the commercial center of a rich, agricultural section, with no trade rival within a radius of 50 miles. From the natural elevation on which it stands one gets a charming view of the surrounding country. In the distance are heavily wooded hills and well-filled streams, while intervening are rolling plains which richly produce all the cereals and cotton; rich pasture lands on which thousands of cattle are fattening; upwards of five thousand bales of cotton have been ginned and marketed this year; thousands of hogs and cattle shipped to distant markets; corn, wheat, oats and potatoes yield in abundance, while vigorous young orchards and small fruits give evidence of climatic conditions well adapted to their healthy growth and development. These are the sources from which Holdenville draws its substance and prosperity.

The town is growing rapidly. The business section is hedged in by numerous fine blocks of native stone and brick buildings, which do credit to the energy, push and enterprise of its citizens. The imposing array of handsome residences is an index to the refinement and intelligence of the people. Three solid banks are the pride of the commercial interests and the annual volume of business done by the merchants is ample tribute to their business enterprise. As a wholesale center Holdenville possesses superior advantages. Situated at the crossing of the Frisco System and Choctaw railroad, it has in and out-shipping facilities that have made it a jobbing point of considerable consequence. Already there are three wholesale grocery houses, two flour and feed firms, an ice plant, three packing companies have branch houses here from which they distribute $60,000 worth of their products annually. The town is well supplied with churches and fraternal organizations. Bonds have been voted to build a $10,000 school house. More than 500 children attended the city schools this year, and $4,000 will be expended for school maintenance next year.

A successful telephone system is in operation and an electric light plant is among the near future probabilities. Among the other productive enterprises are three gins, a saw mill, a feed and chop mill, a 20-ton ice plant, a stone quarry and brick yard. Holdenville has pursued a waiting policy, but all these years has been gathering latent energy which, when the thralldom of retarded development is lifted, will enable it to advance to the front rank of Territory towns.


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