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City of Durant
—  City  —

Seal
Nickname(s): City of Magnolias, Queen of Three Valleys
Location within the state of Oklahoma
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
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Bryan
Government
 - Mayor Jerry Tomlinson
 - Vice Mayor Thomas Marcum
 - City Manager James Dunegan
Area
 - Total 19.1 sq mi (49.4 km2)
 - Land 19.0 sq mi (49.3 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 636 ft (194 m)
Population (2007)
 - Total 16,161
 Density 849/sq mi (327.8/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 74701-74702
Area code(s) 580
FIPS code 40-22050[1]
GNIS feature ID 1092307[2]
Website http://www.durant.org/

Durant is a city in Bryan County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 13,549 at the 2000 census, but in the 2007 estimate, it had risen to 16,161. Durant is the principal city of the Durant Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 39,563 in 2007. It was founded by Dixon Durant, a Choctaw who lived in the area, after the MK&T railroad came through the Indian Territory in the early 1870s. It became the county seat of Bryan County[3] in 1907 after Oklahoma statehood. Durant is home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Durant ranks as the second largest city within the Choctaw Nation, following McAlester, and ahead of Poteau. The city has officially been recognized as the Magnolia Capital of Oklahoma, and the SOSU campus is known as "The Campus of a Thousand Magnolias".

Contents

History

The Durant area was once claimed by both Spain and France before officially becoming part of the United State after the Louisiana Purchase and Adams-Onis 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.

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 Eight and Ninth Avenues.

Fisher Durant's son Dixon Durant is recognized as the founder of Durant and is honored as its namesake. As an early day minister, businessman and civic leader, Dixon Durant is credited with pastorates in local Presbyterian, Congregationalist and Methodist churches. He established the first store selling general merchandise and possibly influenced the 1872 creation of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (Katy Railroad) siding at Durant, thus producing the initial impetus for establishing the community.

A post office for “Durant Station” was authorized in 1879, evidence that a village of some size had developed during the seven years since the coming of the railroad. A.E. Fulsom was post master. Discontinued in 1881, the post office re-established in 1882 with the address as “Durant, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory.” The word “station” was never again used as part of the official name for the community.

W.H. Hilton was elected as 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 none other than President Theodore Roosevelt aboard.

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

Geography

Durant is located at 33°59′59″N 96°23′5″W / 33.99972°N 96.38472°W / 33.99972; -96.38472 (33.999834, -96.384825)[4].


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.1 square miles (49.4 km²), of which, 19.0 square miles (49.3 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.16%) is water.

Durant is located in a region named Texoma, or Texomaland, because of its short distance from Lake Texoma. Durant is classified as located in Southeastern Oklahoma, South Central Oklahoma, Kiamichi Country and Arbuckle Country. It is approximately 14 miles (23 km) north of the Texas border at the Red River. Dallas is also 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.

Climate

Climate data for Durant, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
(32)
93
(34)
99
(37)
97
(36)
103
(39)
107
(42)
111
(44)
118
(48)
111
(44)
100
(38)
88
(31)
87
(31)
118
(48)
Average high °F (°C) 53
(11.7)
57
(13.9)
66
(18.9)
75
(23.9)
82
(27.8)
91
(32.8)
95
(35)
96
(35.6)
89
(31.7)
78
(25.6)
65
(18.3)
55
(12.8)
75
(23.9)
Average low °F (°C) 31
(-0.6)
34
(1.1)
42
(5.6)
51
(10.6)
59
(15)
68
(20)
71
(21.7)
70
(21.1)
63
(17.2)
52
(11.1)
41
(5)
33
(0.6)
51
(10.6)
Record low °F (°C) -6
(-21)
-4
(-20)
-7
(-22)
28
(-2)
33
(1)
46
(8)
52
(11)
50
(10)
34
(1)
16
(-9)
9
(-13)
5
(-15)
-6
(-21)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.2
(55.9)
2.7
(68.6)
2.9
(73.7)
4.5
(114.3)
5.4
(137.2)
3.8
(96.5)
3.2
(81.3)
2.8
(71.1)
3
(76.2)
3.8
(96.5)
2.6
(66)
2.6
(66)
39.5
(1,003.3)
Snowfall inches (mm) 1.2
(30.5)
0.8
(20.3)
0.3
(7.6)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.4
(10.2)
2.7
(68.6)
Source: weather.com 2009-03-09
Source #2: Weatherbase.com [5] March 9, 2010

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 13,549 people, 5,488 households, and 3,309 families residing in the city. The population density was 712.1 people per square mile (274.9/km²). There were 6,082 housing units at an average density of 319.7/sq mi (123.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 78.99% White, 1.54% African American, 12.27% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.57% from other races, and 4.68% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.56% of the population.

Durant City Hall
Bryan County Courthouse

Durant's first census was recorded in 1900, and the population was 2,969. The 2000 census reported Durant's population to be 13,549. In 2005, Durant's population grew to 14,795. The city's population in 2006 was 15,050 and in 2007, it was 16,161.

There were 5,488 households out of which 28.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 18.1% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 17.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,328, and the median income for a family was $32,988. Males had a median income of $26,574 versus $19,676 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,849. About 17.2% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.8% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.

Economy

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. Today, the city is ranked as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.

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

Since 1999, the Durant Economic Development Department, the Durant Industrial Authority and the City of Durant has experienced unprecedented success in recruiting over $600,000,000 in new investments to the city.

Durant is a progressive community with a thriving, diversified local economy, and currently leads the state in economic development. One of the city's strongest industries is tourism; attractions include Lake Texoma, Lake Durant, the Choctaw Casino Resort, Choctaw Casino Bingo and Fort Washita. Manufacturing and distribution are growing industries that are occurring in Durant with several factories of such industries being constructed and planned.

Durant is headquarters to J.C. Potter meat processing facility.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Choctaw Casino Resort, looking east.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has a huge impact on Durant's economy, especially the Choctaw Casino Resort and the Choctaw Casino Bingo located between Durant and Calera along U.S. 69/75, which is a thriving area with economic success.

The Choctaw Nation Headquarters.

In 1894, Calvin Institute, one of a few schools for Native American youths, was established in Durant. The school was to change its name twice more (Durant Presbyterian College in 1900, and Oklahoma Presbyterian College in 1910), and by 1899 it had attracted an enrollment of 300. The school eventually became known as Oklahoma Presbyterian College. This was accomplished shortly after Oklahoma was admitted to the Union as a State. 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 wished to establish 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 into the federal government of the United States. Impressive 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.

Calvin Institute was originally the North Building of the Choctaw Nation Headquarters. The establishment of Oklahoma Presbyterian College lead to the construction of the current South Building of the CNHQ. After Choctaw Nation had acquired the former OPC buildings, Choctaw Nation built a third structure, the Financial Building, to accommodate growth. The Nation and has since then built several other structures behind the main buildings to accommodate even more growth, creating today's complex.

Though the Capitol of the Choctaw Nation is recognized as being Tuskahoma, the administrative offices remain at the old Presbyterian College, formerly the old Calvin Institute. The Choctaws have strong ties with the school, being a part of their culture, history and religion, having served as one of the early educational institutions for their people.

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 many more facilities that are located in the resort with more plans of construction. Over 5,400 people work for the Choctaw Nation in Durant.

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 is part of the Main Street Program. 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.

The Hollow Tree is a local lunch shop, gift shop, and nail salon. It is run by former teachers, where other teachers and their families like to visit. The store is named after the literature book.

Cardinal Glass Industries has a float glass manufacturing facility in western Durant. It became operational in July 2004. This plant is number twenty for Cardinal Glass Industries. This is the largest single investment, ever made, in Durant and Bryan County, an investment of $122,000,000.

Big Lots has a 1,200,000 sq ft (111,000 m2). distribution center in the southern part of Durant, it became operational in January 2004. This represents the second largest investment ever for Durant, and the county, of $80,000,000.

Durant is home to the headquarters of First United Bank, one of the largest privately owned banks in the United States, and First Texoma National Bank. Indian Nation Wholesale, also headquartered in Durant, is the 15th largest wholesaler in the United States as of 2008 [6].

Durant has a Lowe's.

Durant has an independent local grocer called Green Spray, which suffered fire damaged and was closed for years. It was renovated in 2009.

Durant's Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in 2003, which was unusual considering the city's size of the time (13,000 people), in which most cities of that size already do have a Supercenter. The Durant citizens relied on several grocery stores before 2003. Smaller stores are Green Spray, Save-A-Lot, and Nichol's Dollar Saver. Two more food centers were large warehouses and were near the former Wal-Mart location. They were Super H, and Dollar Saver Food Warehouse. Many of the department stores vacated when the Wal-Mart Supercenter opened,such as Dollar Saver. Nichol's Dollar Saver and Dollar Saver Feed moved into the Northwest Shopping Center, formerly containing Winn-Dixie. Super H closed completely and was renovated for two department stores. The former Wal-Mart location was also renovated for two stores. Dollar Saver was renovated for one large store or other business. Until 2003, the nearest Wal-Mart Supercenter was Denison, Texas, The square footage of the Supercenter in Durant is approximately 195,000 square feet, the largest in the area.

Arts and culture

Durant has a "World's Largest Peanut" monument. This title is shared with Flooresville, Texas and Ashburn, Georgia who also have their own peanut monuments. This monument to the peanut growers in Bryan County is located on the front lawn of Durant's city hall. Dedicated in 1973, the monument includes a time capsule that contains historic and legal documents, which will be uneathed in the year 2023. The peanut rests on the World's Oldest Monument, a chunk of granite that is approximately 1.2 billion years old.[7]

Magnolia festival

Durant is also the home of the Magnolia festival.

Museums

The Three Valley Museum is located in Durant, and there is a historical museum at Fort Washita.

Sports

Although there is no major sports team located in Durant, there are sporting opportunities located within the city, including the Durant Multi-Sports Complex, Golf, soccer fields and baseball fields.

Parks and recreation

The City of Durant maintains and operates 11 parks totaling more than 251 acres. Including:

Golf Courses:

  • Durant Golf & Country Club
  • Silverado Golf Course
  • Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course

Less than ten miles (16 km) away, Lake Texoma has between 8-10 million tourists 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.

Government

Durant has a Mayor and city council.

Education

Higher education

Durant is home to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which has about 4,000 enrolled students.

Career and technical education

Durant is also 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

Durant also has a private school, Victory Life Academy, which has an enrollment of about 250 students. It serves grades Pre-K through 12.

Media

Newspaper

Television stations

Durant, Oklahoma does not have any television studios, but gets over the air reception of the Sherman-Ada DMA, which happens to have studios nearby in Sherman and Denison, Texas with branch studios in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

  • KTEN Channel 10 - (NBC)
  • KTEN DT Channel 10.2 - (The CW Texoma)
  • KXII Channel 12 - (CBS)
  • KXII DT Channel 12.2 (My Texoma)
  • KXII DT Channel 12.3 (Fox Texoma)
  • A Low Power translator of OETA and its subchannels.

Durant has an independent cable TV & Internet provider called CommuniCom Services.

Public Access stations include:

  • Durant Public Schools has a 24 hour station which usually only airs slide shows.
  • A local classified advertisements with KLBC playing.
  • Duane Sheriff Ministries
  • FBC-TV, which relays FamilyNet and Worship when there aren't any local church broadcasts.
  • A NEXRAD Station

Radio Stations

  • KSEO, AM 750.
  • KLBC, 106.3 FM, "Today's Best Country", is the top-rated Oklahoma radio station in the Sherman/Ada DMA and the most listened-to radio station in southeastern Oklahoma, according to a 2008 Arbitron Rating survey.
  • KSSU, "POWER 92", a SOSU station aimed at young college students.

Magazines

Durant's KLBC publishes a monthly entertainment guide, The KLBC Buzz. Available online and the print version is distributed to a six-county region of Texoma.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Roads and highways

City map of Durant.
  • US 69.svgUS 75.svg US 69/US 75 - A north-south four-lane divided highway and freeway. US 69/75 enters Oklahoma as an interstate grade highway 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 an interstate. US 69/75 goes through western and northern Durant as an interstate highway, and again downgrades at the Bryan-Atoka County line.
  • US 70.svg 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. In Downtown it has an intersection with Main Street, then continuing 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.
  • Oklahoma State Highway 78.svg 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 and 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.
Northbound Highway 69/75 in Durant.

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 everyday. Also, approximately 19,000 vehicles pass under 69/75 on Main Street daily[8].

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 which are at First Avenue, Washington Avenue, University/Chuckwa (the exit off of 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 Bingo and Resort is located.

Air

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, Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa International Airport.

Rail

Durant is also a major railroad center. Union Pacific Railroad and Kiamichi Railroad intersect in Downtown, with Union Pacific being the busier railway.

Utilities

Durant has a water plant and a sewage treatment center. Electricity is served from OG&E.

Healthcare

The city of Durant, as is Bryan County, Southeastern Oklahoma and North Texas, is served by the Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma. Built in 1987, MCSO replaced the Bryan Memorial Hospital. MCSO is at the heart of Durant's medical district, along with the Durant Medical Complex, Choctaw/Chickasaw Indian Clinic, dentist offices, health clubs, and numerous other medical establishments.

Notable people

  • Billie Letts - Author of No. 1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah Winfrey Book Club selection Where the Heart Is (Warner, 1996), made into a 2000 film of the same title, starring Ashley Judd and Natalie Portman. The novel has sold more than 3.2 million hardcover and mass-market paperback copies combined. Although a Tulsa native, she was an English professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. Other novels: The Honk and Holler Opening Soon (Warner, 1998), Shoot the Moon (2004) and Made in the USA (2008).
  • Robert L. Williams - First Chief Justice of Oklahoma Supreme Court, third Governor of the State of Oklahoma.

References

External links








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