From Indian Territory to Today
Originally Edmond's site was explored by Washington Irving in 1832 and described in his publication, "A Tour On The Prairies." That began a tradition that lives to this day of a driving desire to be First, a desire for Excellence.
In 1867, the opening of the Chisholm Cattle Trail, a few miles north of the town site, initiated nearly two decades of trail dust and cattle bawling. The area soon became a haven for cattle ranchers and hardworking ranch hands. (Today this agrarian background has developed into exclusive equine breeding and training stables, pedigreed cattle ranches, and even a llama ranch, all of which exemplifies the agricultural flavor of Edmond today! The colorful Edmond Farmer's Market features flavorful herbs and naturally grown fresh vegetables and fruits.)
1870 saw the United States government issued a directive toconduct a survey of the western portion of the Indian Territories. After entering into treaties with The Creek and Seminole Indian nations as well as the assignment of other Indian reservations within Indian Territory, it was discovered that a significant area in the center of this region had been left untouched. Edmond was in this area known as "The Unassigned Lands," which later became known as Oklahoma.
Later in 1886, a route was surveyed for the Santa Fe railroad from Arkansas City to Gainesville, TX. This route went right through the center of "the unassigned lands" of Oklahoma Territory. Prior to July 14, 1887, the Santa Fe filed an official request with the government "Edmond", be the name of mile 103. This site was to provide both water and fuel for passing trains and was dubbed originally "Summit" due to being the highest point on the Santa Fe line between Kansas City and Galveston. Soon the location was given the name of "Edmond" by the Santa Fe headquarters in Topeka. A water well for steam engines was planned for Edmond, and Edmond was the only Oklahoma rail location with a coaling barn.
One passenger and one freight train each way arrived daily in Edmond. It was indicated that Edmond was the most important spot on the line because it was possible to get food there!! (Today with 150+ restaurants, Edmond still is considered a tastefully important dining stop.)
President Benjamin Harrison signed a proclamation setting the stage to open the "Unassigned Lands" for a great land rush of white settlers. April 22, 1889, dawned bright and clear as the First great rush for free government lands in history was scheduled to begin promptly at 12 noon, "sun time". And so the Great Oklahoma Land Run(s) were begun. Several railroad workers were among the first to make their runs and stake out their claims. At 12:05 pm a crew of surveyors began laying out a town site.
The first "legal" settlers of Edmond were Colonel Eddy B. Townsend, Hardy C. Angelea, and J. Wheeler Turner who arrived in Edmond at approximately 1:20 pm. They had made the run from 15 miles east of Edmond at the west line of the Kickapoo Indian Reservation. It was the determination of settlers like these three men, Nanitta A.H. Daisy, and others who put their stamp on Edmond and helped shape its personality.
Picture this, Miss Nanitta A.H. Daisy, later to be known as Kentucky Daisy, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Gazette came to the Land Run on the press correspondent rail car. This petite woman was perched on the first of the special trains with one hand clutching the train, a stake in the other and a gun strapped to her waist. You see "Kentucky Daisy" had persuaded the train's engineer to let her ride the cow-catcher out of Edmond Station. At one point, less than a mile from Edmond station, she leaped from the train, dashed across a ditch, drove her spike into the ground, fell to her knees and fired a shot into the air claiming her land to the cheers of the other passengers. "Kentucky Daisy" then turned and caught the caboose, the last car of the train, riding it into Guthrie to legally file her claim.
Thus began a series of Edmond firsts in Oklahoma Territory. First public school house.First grocery (in a tent). First flour mill.First newspaper (the Edmond Sun). First church (the Catholic's St. John's). First library. First public institution of higher education ("Normal School") now the University of Central Oklahoma).and so much more.
Home of Olympic gymnastic gold medalist Shannon Miller and burial site of famous aviator Wiley Post, Edmond residents continue to take great pride in their community. This is reflected in the many artistic, cultural, recreational, and just down-right enjoyable activities and attractions available during any stay in this community. So please accept this invitation to Experience the Excellence. Experience Edmond today!