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Oklahoma City
—  City  —

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Nickname(s): The City; O.K.C.; Renaissance City; The Big Friendly
Location in Oklahoma County and the state of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City is located in the USA
Oklahoma City
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°28′56.28″N 97°32′6.72″W / 35.4823°N 97.5352°W / 35.4823; -97.5352Coordinates: 35°28′56.28″N 97°32′6.72″W / 35.4823°N 97.5352°W / 35.4823; -97.5352
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Counties Canadian, Cleveland, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie
Government
 - Type Mayor-Council
 - Mayor Mick Cornett (R)
 - City Manager Jim Couch
Area
 - City 621.2 sq mi (1,608.8 km2)
 - Land 607.0 sq mi (1,572.1 km2)
 - Water 14.2 sq mi (36.7 km2)
 - Urban 322.3 sq mi (834.9 km2)
Elevation 1,201 ft (396 m)
Population (2008)
 - City 551,789
 Density 871.5/sq mi (336.5/km2)
 Urban 747,003
 Metro 1,275,758
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 405
FIPS code 40-55000[1]
GNIS feature ID 1102140[2]
Website http://www.okc.gov/

Oklahoma City is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County,[3] the city ranks 31st among United States cities in population.[4] The city's estimated population as of 2008 was 551,789[5], with an estimated metro-area population of 1,206,142[6]. In 2008, the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,275,758 residents.[7]

Besides the core Oklahoma County, Oklahoma City's city limits extend into Canadian, Cleveland, and Pottawatomie counties, though much of those areas are rural or suburban. The city ranks as the seventh-largest city in the United States by land area which includes consolidated city-counties; it is the largest city in the United States by land area whose government is not consolidated with that of a county (or, in the case of Alaska, a borough). The city is the largest city and metro area in population of the traditional 'plains states' as well as the South Central United States outside of Texas.

Oklahoma City is an important livestock market, featuring one of the top livestock markets in the world.[8] Oil, natural gas, and petroleum products are a major product of the economy, as the city is situated in the middle of an oil field, with oil derricks even on the capitol grounds. Several prominent Energy companies are headquartered in Oklahoma City. The city has varied light and heavy industries, Tinker Air Force Base and the Federal Government are also vital sources of employment.

The city was founded during the Land Run of 1889. The city was the scene of the April 1995 bombing attack of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in which 168 people lost their lives. It was the worst terror attack in the history of the United States before the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Contents

History

Oklahoma City was settled on April 22, 1889, when the area known as the "unassigned lands" was opened for settlement in an event known as the "The Land Run".[9] Some 10,000 homesteaders settled the area that would become the capital of Oklahoma. The town grew quickly; the population doubled between 1890 and 1900.[10] Early leaders of the development of the city included Anton Classen, Henry Overholser and James W. Maney.

Oklahoma City 1890.jpg

By the time Oklahoma was admitted to the Union in 1907, Oklahoma City had surpassed Guthrie, the territorial capital, as the population center and commercial hub of the new state. Soon after, the capital was moved from Guthrie to Oklahoma City.[11] Oklahoma City was a major stop on Route 66 during the early part of the 20th century and was prominently mentioned in Bobby Troup's 1946 jazz classic, "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66," later made famous by Nat King Cole.

Before World War II, Oklahoma City developed major stockyards and, with the 1928 discovery of oil within the city limits (including under the State Capitol), it became a center of oil production.[12] Post-war growth accompanied Oklahoma City's location as a major interchange on the Interstate Highway System, with the convergence of I-35, I-40 and I-44 in the city. It was also aided by federal development of Tinker Air Force Base.

As with many other American cities, center city population declined in the 1970s and 80s as families moved to newer housing in nearby suburbs. Urban Renewal projects in the 1970s including the Pei Plan (Oklahoma City) unfortunately removed many older historic structures but then compounded it by failing to spark much new development. A notable exception was the construction of the Myriad Gardens and Crystal Bridge, a botanical garden and modernistic conservatory in the heart of the city. Casualties of the plan included the Criterion Theater,[13][14], the Baum Building,[15] the Hales Building,[16][17] and the Biltmore Hotel.[18]

In 1993, the city passed a massive redevelopment package known as the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), which aimed to rebuild the city's core. The city added a new baseball park; central library; renovations to the civic center, convention center and fairgrounds; and a canal to the Bricktown entertainment district. MAPS has become one of the most aggressive and successful public-private partnerships ever undertaken in the U.S. exceeding $3 billion.[19] As a result of MAPS downtown housing has skyrocketed as well as increased demand for residential amenities, such as grocery and other retail stores.

The Murrah Federal Building damage

Since the MAPS projects' completion, the downtown area has seen continued development. Several of the downtown buildings are undergoing renovation/restoration projects. Notable among these was the restoration of the Skirvin Hotel in 2007. The famed First National Center is also currently being renovated.

The "Core-to-Shore" project was created to relocate I-40 one mile (1.6 km) south and replace it with a boulevard that will create an entrance to the city.[20] This allows the central portion of the city to expand south toward the Oklahoma River, thus connecting the core of the city to the shore of the Oklahoma River. Several elements of Core to Shore were included in theMAPS 3 proposal which passed in late 2009.

Residents of Oklahoma City suffered substantial losses on April 19, 1995 when Timothy McVeigh set off a bomb in front of the Murrah building. The building was destroyed, more than 100 nearby buildings suffered severe damage, and 168 people were killed.

The site is now home to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Since its opening in 2000, over 3 million people have visited. Every year on April 19, survivors, friends and family return to the memorial to read the names of every victim lost.

Government

Oklahoma City's art deco city hall building.

The City of Oklahoma City has operated under a council-manager form of city government since 1927.[21] Mick Cornett serves as Mayor, having first been elected in 2004, re-elected in 2006 and then again in 2010. Eight councilpersons represent each of the eight wards of Oklahoma City.

Sister cities

Oklahoma City has seven sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

Geography

Oklahoma City's landscape consists mainly of rolling hills, low trees and shrubs

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 621.2 square miles (1,608.8 km²), of which, 607.0 square miles (1,572.1 km²) of it is land and 14.2 square miles (36.7 km²) of it is water. The total area is 2.28% water. Oklahoma City is located in the Frontier Country region of Central Oklahoma, in the Southern Plains of North America; it is on the tallgrass and mixed-grass prairie section of the Great Plains.

Sunset over Lake Hefner in northwest Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City lies in the Sandstone Hills region of Oklahoma, known for hills of 250 to 400 feet and two species of oak - blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica) and post oak (Q. stellata).[22] The northeastern part of the city and its suburbs fall into an ecological region known as the Cross Timbers.[23]

The city is roughly bisected by the North Canadian River (recently renamed the Oklahoma River inside city limits). The North Canadian was once substantial enough to flood every year, wreaking destruction on surrounding areas, including the original Oklahoma City Zoo.[24] In the 1940s a dam was built on the river to manage the flood control and reduced its level.[25] In the 1990s, as part of the citywide revitalization project known as MAPS, the city built a series of low-water dams, returning water to the portion of the river flowing near downtown.[26] The city also has three large lakes: Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser, in the Northwestern quarter of the city; and the largest, Lake Stanley Draper, in the sparsely populated far southeast of the city.

The population density normally reported for Oklahoma City using area of its city limits can be a bit misleading, as its urbanized zone covers roughly 244 sq mi (630 km2), compared with larger rural areas incorporated by the city, which cover the remaining 377 sq mi (980 km2) of the city limits.[27]

Oklahoma City is one of the largest cities in the nation in compliance with the Clean Air Act.[28]

Climate

Oklahoma City lies in a temperate, sub-humid climate, with frequent variations in weather daily and seasonally, except during the consistently hot and humid summer months. Consistent winds, usually from the south or south-southeast during the summer, help temper the hotter weather. Consistent northerly winds during the winter can intensify cold periods.

The average temperature is 60.0 °F (15.6 °C),[29] though colder through the winter months, with a 37.0 °F (2.8 °C) average in January,[29] and warmer during the summer months, with an 82.0 °F (27.8 °C) average in July.[29] The city receives about 33.3 inches (850 mm) of rain annually and 9.0 inches (230 mm) of snow.[29]

Oklahoma City has a severe weather season from March through August, especially during April and May. Tornadoes have occurred in every month of the year. Oklahoma City has become one of the most tornado prone cities in the United States.[30] Since the time weather records have been kept, Oklahoma City has been struck by nine violent tornadoes, eight F4's and one F5.[30] On May 3, 1999 parts of southern Oklahoma City and nearby communities suffered one of the most powerful tornadoes on record an F-5 on the Fujita Scale, with wind speeds topping 318 mph (510 km/h). This tornado was part of the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak.

Climate data for Oklahoma City, OK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 47
(8.3)
54
(12.2)
63
(17.2)
71
(21.7)
80
(26.7)
87
(30.6)
93
(33.9)
92
(33.3)
84
(28.9)
73
(22.8)
60
(15.6)
50
(10)
71.1
(21.7)
Average low °F (°C) 26
(-3.3)
31
(-0.6)
39
(3.9)
48
(8.9)
59
(15)
66
(18.9)
71
(21.7)
70
(21.1)
62
(16.7)
51
(10.6)
38
(3.3)
29
(-1.7)
49.1
(9.5)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.28
(32.5)
1.56
(39.6)
2.90
(73.7)
4.28
(108.7)
5.44
(138.2)
4.63
(117.6)
2.94
(74.7)
2.48
(63)
3.98
(101.1)
3.64
(92.5)
2.11
(53.6)
1.89
(48)
35.85
(910.6)
Snowfall inches (mm) 3.0
(76.2)
2.4
(61)
1.4
(35.6)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.5
(12.7)
1.8
(45.7)
9.1
(231.1)
Avg. rainy days 6 6 9 11 13 12 12 10 11 10 8 8 116
Source: The Weather Channel[31] Weatherbase.com[32] January 2010

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 4,151
1900 10,037 141.8%
1910 64,205 539.7%
1920 91,295 42.2%
1930 185,389 103.1%
1940 204,424 10.3%
1950 243,504 19.1%
1960 321,599 32.1%
1970 368,164 14.5%
1980 404,014 9.7%
1990 438,922 8.6%
2000 506,132 15.3%
Est. 2008 551,789 9.0%
[33]

At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates the city's population was 72.7% White (60.7% non-Hispanic White alone), 16.1% Black or African American, 7.6% American Indian and Alaska Native (2.7% non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native alone), 4.7% Asian, 0.2% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 5.4% from some other race and 6.3% from two or more races. 13.9% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. [1]

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 506,132 people, 204,434 households, and 129,360 families residing in the city. The population density was 321.9/km² (833.8/mi²) with 2,317.4/mi² for an urban area[27] that occupies a small portion within the city's incorporated limits, which cover hundreds of square miles of rural land. There were 228,149 housing units at an average density of 375.9/sq mi (145.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 68.4% White, 15.4% Black or African American, 3.5% Native American, 3.5% Asian American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.3% from other races based on persons indicating only one race category on Census forms. 5.6% of the population were two or more races. 10.1% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 204,434 households, 30.8% of which had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. One person households account for 30.7% of all households and 8.8% of all households had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the 2000 Census Oklahoma City's age composition was 25.5% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.

The 1999 median income for a household in the city was $34,947, and the median income for a family was $42,689. Among full time employed persons, males had median 1999 earnings of $31,589 compared to $24,420 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,098. 16.0% of the population and 12.4% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 23.0% of those under the age of 18 and 9.2% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

In June, 2007, the U.S. Census announced its estimate population of 547,274 and that Oklahoma City had grown 1.4 percent between July, 2006 and July, 2007. Since the official Census in 2000, Oklahoma City had grown 8.1 percent, according to the Census Bureau's estimates.

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Oklahoma City is the principal city of the eight-county Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area in Central Oklahoma and is the state's largest urbanized area. Based on population rank, the metropolitan area was the 46th largest in the nation as of the year 2000.

Crime

Powdered cocaine and crack cocaine are widely available in Oklahoma City. Street gangs such as the Bloods, Crips, South Side Locos and Juaritos have become active in the city and are the primary retail distributors of crack cocaine. Cocaine abuse is prevalent among adult male arrestees in Oklahoma City. According to data from the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring system ("ADAM"), almost one-quarter (22.4%) of adult male arrestees in Oklahoma City tested positive for cocaine in 2000. During 2002, powdered cocaine in Oklahoma City sold for $90 per gram, $550 to $900 per ounce, and $18,000 to $20,000 per kilogram, making it one of least expensive cities in Oklahoma to purchase cocaine. Crack cocaine in Oklahoma City sold for $5 to $50 per rock, $25 per vial, and $750 per ounce. Crack cocaine often is associated with violence in Oklahoma City. The DEA Oklahoma City District Office reports a steady increase in the number of major crack distributors who are associated with violent Los Angeles-based street gangs such as the Bloods and Crips. Gangs operating in Oklahoma City are involved in violent acts such as drug-related shootings, drive-by shootings, and robberies. Bloods, Crips, and South Side Locos present the greatest challenge to Oklahoma City law enforcement. South Side Locos is considered one of the city's most violent gangs.[34] Oklahoma City Police estimate that on any given night, as many as 6,000 gang members may be out on Oklahoma City streets.[35] Some of the gang "sets" that are active in Oklahoma City include the following:[36][37][38][39] Crossroads Mall, formerly the flagship retail center in Oklahoma City, largely went into foreclosure because anchor tenants left due to it having become a magnet for gang members.

Economy

Oklahoma City is home to Sonic Drive-In.

The economy of Oklahoma City, once a regional power center of government and energy exploration, has diversified to include the sectors of information technology, services, health services and administration. The city has two Fortune 500 companies: Devon Energy Corporation and Chesapeake Energy Corporation, several others that are in the Fortune 1000 and a number of large privately owned companies. Oklahoma City is home to the corporate headquarters of Sonic Drive-In, whose office building and corporate restaurant is located in Bricktown. Devon Energy revealed plans in August 2008 for a new 900-foot (270 m) tall, 1,900,000-square-foot (177,000 m2) headquarters building in downtown Oklahoma City.[40] The new skyscraper is currently under construction and is expected to be complete in 2012.

Other large employers in Oklahoma City include Tinker Air Force Base, the federal government, the University of Oklahoma, AT&T, The Boeing Company, Xerox, United Parcel Service, Cox, and the state of Oklahoma.[41] Six Flags at one point was headquartered in Oklahoma City but relocated to New York City on January 27, 2006.[42]

According to the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, the metropolitan area's economic output grew by 33 percent between 2001 and 2005 due chiefly to economic diversification. Its gross metropolitan product totaled $43.1 billion in 2005.[43]

In 2008, Forbes magazine named Oklahoma City the most "recession proof city in America". The magazine reported that the city had falling unemployment, one of the strongest housing markets in the country and solid growth in energy, agriculture and manufacturing.[44] However, during the 1980's, Oklahoma City had one of the worst job and housing markets due to the bankruptcy of Penn Square Bank in 1982 and then the post-1985 crash in oil prices.

Business Districts

The beginning of streetscape efforts along Oklahoma City's Historic Film Row.

Film Exchange District

In 2003, a part of downtown Oklahoma City was developed into the new Film Exchange District, to honor its roots as a film exchange.[45]

The Film Exchange District encompasses 42 square blocks and lies between Classen Boulevard and Walker Avenue along Sheridan Avenue. It is also bordered by S.W. 2nd Street, S.W. 1st Street and Colcord Drive.

The district's history includes the likes of Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Fox Films starting with silent films.[46] The first film exchange appeared in Oklahoma City as early as 1907, and in 1910, the General Film Exchange was established on West 2nd Street.[47]

Paramount Pictures operated at 123 SW 3rd and by 1929 relocated to 701 W. Grand (Sheridan Ave.), now in the heart of the Film Exchange District and backed the opening of the Plaza Theatre in 1935.[48] By 1930, most studio offices had moved along what is now Sheridan Avenue.[49]

The Film Exchange building's marque at 700 W. Sheridan Avenue.
The Paramount Pictures building in 1943 along Oklahoma City's Historic Film Row.

The 1930s came to know the area as Film Row, where theater owners came to screen and lease films for their movie houses.[50] J. Eldon Peek, a graduate student of Oklahoma State University, and his wife Maxine opened the Oklahoma Theatre Supply Company and Missouri Theatre Supply Company at 708 W. Grand (Sheridan) in 1930. By 1988, she and her granddaughter Sharon Allen were still operating the business, which closed in 2004.[51] The Peeks landed contracts to install sound systems in former silent theatres across Oklahoma and relocated to their newly constructed building at 628 W. Grand (Sheridan) in 1946.[52]

In the 1950s, cable television first came to Oklahoma in Bartlesville, where the "Telemovies" system was started by Video Independent Theatres.[53] Television and the advent of new technology and introduction of inexpensive air freight, hurt the film exchange business and by the 1970s and early 1980s, film row became a haven for bars, prostitution and drugs.[54]

David Wanzer and Bradley Wynn were behind the 2003 plan to revive film row. They convinced property owners, city planners, and businessmen to invest in the area, saving it from destruction. Several of the historic buildings in the district are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[55]

Plaza District

Area businesses and residents have worked to develop a western area of Oklahoma City now known as the Plaza District[56] Located off of N.W. 16th Street between Classen and Penn, the district includes The Lyric Theatre and the Everything Goes Dance Studio.

In the 1930s, what is now the Plaza District consisted mostly of drugstores and drycleaners,[57] but did see the opening of the Plaza Theatre in 1935. The theatre closed in 1979 before being renovated as the Lyric Theatre.[58]

Cityscape

Tallest buildings

Rank Building Height Floors Built
1 Chase Tower 500 feet (152 m) 36 1971 [59]
2 First National Center 446 feet (136 m) 33 1931 [60]
3 City Place Tower 440 feet (134 m) 33 1931 [61]
4 Oklahoma Tower 434 feet (132 m) 31 1982 [62]
5 SandRidge Center 393 feet (120 m) 30 1973 [63]
6 Valliance Bank Tower 321 feet (98 m) 22 1984 [64]
7 Bank of Oklahoma Plaza 310 feet (94 m) 16 1972 [65]
8 Leadership Square North 308 feet (94 m) 22 1984 [66]
9 Dowell Center 300 feet (91 m) 20 1927 [67]
10 Regency Tower 288 feet (88 m) 24 1966 [68]

Neighborhoods

Water taxis in Oklahoma City's downtown Bricktown neighborhood

Oklahoma City neighborhoods are as varied as the Oklahoma climate. Historic, renovated neighborhoods sit alongside others that suffered from a mix of economic and social factors such as "white flight" and have not yet truly recovered. Inner-city neighborhoods radiate from those located in downtown and include mostly single-family detached houses with small yards and the occasional apartment complex. In the downtown and northwest business area, there are numerous condo and loft developments and several mid-rise and high-rise options.

Downtown Oklahoma City itself is currently undergoing a renaissance, one of the largest in the nation. White flight during the 1950s and 1960s left much of the inner city abandoned. Unfortunately, during the Urban Renewal days of the early 1980s, controversial urban planning allowed for the destruction of almost 50 historic buildings and skyscrapers. Examples include the Biltmore Hotel, which was imploded to make way for the I. M. Pei-designed Myriad Botanical Gardens, the only major Urban Renewal project completed as planned. Many of the buildings which were not destroyed in the Central Business District were covered by new façades or left to Class-C office space. The removal of historic structures left downtown without much retail presence.

Education

Higher education

The city is home to several colleges and universities, including the cities flagship university, Oklahoma City University, located in the Uptown area of the city.

Oklahoma City University, formerly known as Epworth University, was founded by the United Methodist Church on September 1, 1904 and is renowned for its performing arts, medical services, mass communications, business, law, and athletic programs.

The University of Oklahoma has institutions of higher learning in the city and metropolitan area, with the OU Medical Center east of downtown in the Oklahoma Health Center and the main University of Oklahoma campus located in the suburb of Norman. OU Medical Center is one of the nation's largest independent medical center, employing more than 12,000 people.[69] OU is one of only four major universities in the nation to have all six medical schools.

Park on the campus of OU Medical Center near downtown

Oklahoma State University - Oklahoma City is located in the "Furniture District" on the Westside. Oklahoma City Community College in south Oklahoma City is the second-largest community college in the state.

The third-largest university in the state, the University of Central Oklahoma, is located just north of the city in the suburb of Edmond, as is Oklahoma Christian University, one of the state's private liberal arts institutions. Oklahoma City is the location of the Federal Aviation Administration's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center.

Rose State College is located east of Oklahoma City in suburban Midwest City. Northeast of the city is Langston University, the state's historically black college (HBCU). Langston also has an urban campus in the eastside section of the city. Southern Nazarene University, which was founded by the Church of the Nazarene, is a university located in suburban Bethany, which is surrounded by Oklahoma City.

Primary and secondary

Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) is the state's second largest school district.[70] The Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics in Oklahoma City is home to some of the state's most gifted math and science pupils. Classen School of Advanced Studies is located in the Oklahoma City Public School District. It was recently cited by Newsweek as a public school ranked 17th in the nation in the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken (not passed) by all students at a school the previous year, divided by the number of graduating seniors. [71]. In addition, Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School in OKCPS was named the top middle school in the state according to the Academic Performance Index, and recently received the Blue Ribbon School Award.[72]

There are numerous suburban districts which surround the urban OKCPS district, such as Putnam City Public Schools in suburban northwest Oklahoma City, Moore Public Schools serving the southwest and south areas, and Mid-Del Schools, serving the eastern and southeastern parts of the metropolitan area. The city also has very well developed private and parochial schools, including Casady School, Heritage Hall School,Millwood High School,Providence Hall, and the schools of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City including Bishop McGuinness High School. and Mount Saint Mary High School.

CareerTech

Oklahoma City has several public career and technology education schools associated with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the largest of which are Metro Technology Center and Francis Tuttle Technology Center.

Private career and technology education schools in Oklahoma City include Oklahoma Technology Institute, Platt College, Vatterott College, and Heritage College.

A nonprofit vocational training center for individuals with disabilities in Oklahoma City is Dale Rogers Training Center.

Culture

Museums and theater

The Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center is the new downtown home for the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. The museum features visiting exhibits, original selections from its own collection, a theater showing a variety of foreign, independent, and classic films each week, and a restaurant. OKCMOA is also home to the most comprehensive collection of Chihuly glass in the world including the fifty-five foot Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower in the Museum's atrium.[73] The newly renovated art deco Civic Center Music Hall has performances from ballet and opera to traveling Broadway shows and concerts. Stage Center for the Performing Arts is home to many of the city's top theater companies. The building that houses Stage Center, designed by John Johansen is a modernist architectural landmark, with the original model displayed in MOMA in New York City.

The Survivor Tree on the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial

Other theaters include the Lyric Theatre, Jewel Box Theatre, the Kirkpatrick Auditorium, the Poteet Theatre and the 488-seat Petree Recital Hall, at the Oklahoma City University campus. The university also opened the Wanda L Bass School of Music and auditorium in April 2006.

The Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Kirkpatrick Science and Air Space Museum at Omniplex) houses exhibits on science, aviation, and an IMAX theater. The museum houses the International Photography Hall of Fame (IPHF) that exhibits photographs and artifacts from a large collection of cameras and other artifacts preserving the history of photography. IPHF honors those who have made significant contributions to the art and/or science of photography.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has galleries of western art and is home to the Hall of Great Western Performers. In contrast, the city will also be the home to The American Indian Cultural Center and Museum that is under construction in 2009, on the South side of Interest 40, Southeast from Bricktown.

The Oklahoma City National Memorial in the northern part of Oklahoma City's downtown was created and the inscription on its eastern gate says, "to honor the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on April 19, 1995". The outdoor Symbolic Memorial can be visited 24 hours a day for free, and the adjacent Memorial Museum, located in the former Journal Record building damaged by the bombing, can be entered for a small fee. The site is also home to the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, a non partisan, non profit thinktank devoted to the prevention of terrorism.

The Oklahoma History Center is the history museum of the State of Oklahoma. Located across the street from the Governor's mansion at 2401 N. Laird Avenue in Oklahoma City, the museum opened in 2005 and is operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society. It preserves the history of Oklahoma from the prehistoric to the present day.

Parks and recreation

The Myriad Botanical Gardens in downtown OKC

One of the more prominent landmarks downtown is the Crystal Bridge at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, a large downtown urban park. Designed by I. M. Pei, the Crystal Bridge is a tropical conservatory in the area. The park has an amphitheater, known as the Water Stage. In 2007, following a renovation of the stage, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park relocated to the Myriad Gardens. The Myriad Gardens will undergo a massive renovation in conjunction with construction of the Devon Tower directly north of it.

The Oklahoma City Zoological Park is home to numerous natural habitats, WPA era architecture and landscaping, and hosts major touring concerts during the summer at its amphitheater. Oklahoma City also has two amusement parks, Frontier City theme park and White Water Bay water park. Frontier City is an 'Old West' themed amusement park. The park also features a recreation of a western gunfight at the 'OK Corral' and many shops that line the "Western" town's main street. Frontier City also hosts a national concert circuit at its amphitheater during the summer.

Walking trails line Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser in the northwest part of the city and downtown at the canal and the Oklahoma River. Part of the east shore of Lake Hefner has been developed into upscale offices and restaurants,[citation needed] but the majority of the area around the lake is taken up by parks and trails, including a new leashless dog park and the postwar era Stars and Stripes Park. Lake Stanley Draper is the city's largest and most remote lake.

Oklahoma City has a major park in each quadrant of the city, going back to the first parks masterplan. Will Rogers Park, Lincoln Park, Trosper Park, and Woodson Park were once connected by the Grand Boulevard loop, some sections of which no longer exist. Martin Park Nature Center is a natural habitat in far northwest Oklahoma City.

Media

See also: Broadcast Media in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoman is Oklahoma City's major metro newspaper and is the most widely circulated in the state. The Oklahoma Gazette is Oklahoma City's independent newsweekly, featuring such staples as local commentary, feature stories, classifieds, restaurant reviews and movie listings. The Journal Record is Oklahoma City's daily business newspaper and Oklahoma City Business is a bi-monthly business publication.

There are various community and international papers in the city that cator to the ethnic mosaic of the city; such as The Black Chronicle, headquartered in the Eastside, the OK VIETIMES and Oklahoma Chinese Times, located in Asia District, and various Hispanic publications. Campus is the student newspaper at Oklahoma City University. Gay publications include Gossip Boy, which despite its name has become known for adventurous undercover work and investigative journalism that has attracted a national audience, and The Gayly Oklahoman.

There are also six metro lifestyle magazines produced by local publisher, Southwestern Publishing: Nichols Hills News, Edmond Monthly, Norman Living, Northwest Style Downtown Monthly, and Design Oklahoma. In addition are two magazines published by Back40 Design: The Edmond Outlook and the Shawnee Outlook. Both contain local commentary and human interest pieces provided to over 150,000 Oklahomans.

Oklahoma City was home to several pioneers in radio and television broadcasting. Oklahoma City's WKY Radio was the first radio station transmitting west of the Mississippi River and the third radio station in the United States.[74] WKY received its federal license in 1921 and has continually broadcast under the same call letters since 1922. In 1928, WKY was purchased by E.K. Gaylord's Oklahoma Publishing Company and affiliated with NBC; in 1949, WKY-TV went on the air and became the first independently-owned television station in the U.S. to broadcast in color.[75] In mid-2002, WKY was purchased outright from the Gaylord family by Citadel Communications who owns and operates it to this day.

Sports

AT&T Ballpark, home of the Oklahoma Redhawks and Big XII Baseball.

Professional sports

On July 3, 2008 the city of Seattle settled with the owners of the NBA Seattle SuperSonics franchise, allowing them to move the team to Oklahoma City for the 2008-2009 season. The relocated team was named the Oklahoma City Thunder on September 3, 2008. The move gave the city its second 'permanent' major professional sports team after the AFL Oklahoma Wranglers. The Oklahoma City Thunder is the third major team overall, considering the temporary hosting of the NBA New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets from 2005-2007.

Oklahoma City is home to several other professional sports clubs including the Oklahoma City RedHawks, a Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. Other teams include the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz of Arena Football 1, and the Oklahoma City Lightning of the Women's Football Alliance. Starting in 2010-11, Oklahoma City will be home to the Edmonton Oilers' farm team in the American Hockey League, which will play at Cox Convention Center.

Ford Center in downtown is the large multipurpose arena which hosts concerts, NHL exhibition games, and many of the city's pro sports teams. In the 2008 the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder became the major tenant. Located nearby in Bricktown, AT&T Bricktown Ballpark is the home to the city's baseball team. The Brick, as it is locally known, is considered one of the finest minor league parks in the nation.

There are several other stadiums and arenas in the city, including the arena inside the Cox Convention Center, the State Fair Arena, Taft Stadium, the Don E. Porter Hall of Fame Stadium, and Abe Lemons Arena which is located at Oklahoma City University.

Oklahoma City is host to numerous major college and amateur sporting events. The major universities in the area - (University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, and Oklahoma State University) - often schedule major basketball games and other sporting events at Ford Center, although most games are played in their campus arenas.

The Oklahoma City University Stars has a slate of sporting clubs which play on campus including a top-rated rowing program which has events on the Oklahoma River. Of special note, the university had announced its desire to possibly enter the NCAA during the 2007 athletic season.

Oklahoma City is the annual host of the Big 12 Baseball Tournament, the World Cup of Softball, and the annual NCAA Women's College World Series. The city has held the 2005 NCAA Men's Basketball First and Second Round and hosted the Big 12 Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments in 2007; the city will be the site again in 2009. Since 2006, Oklahoma City has been home to the annual Bricktown Showdown Triple-A Baseball Championship game.

Other major sporting events include Thoroughbred and Quarter horse racing circuits at Remington Park and numerous horse shows and equine events that take place at the state fairgrounds each year. There are numerous golf courses and country clubs spread around the city in addition to tennis clubs and high school level sporting activities.

The Ford Center, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, and surrounding area, the New Orleans Hornets of the National Basketball Association temporarily relocated to the Ford Center, playing the majority of its home games there during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. The team became the first NBA franchise to play regular-season games in the state of Oklahoma.

The team was known as the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets and had adopted a split personality of sorts, wearing 'OKC neutral' home jerseys (with an OKC patch of sorts over an H-alternate jersey) and 'New Orleans' jerseys during away games.

After relocating permanently to New Orleans for the 2007-2008 season, the Hornets played their final home game in Oklahoma City during the exhibition season on October 9, 2007 against the Houston Rockets, as a way to say thanks for the temporary hosting. The 'hometown Hornets' won the game 94-92.

Oklahoma City Thunder

On July 2, 2008, upon settlement of a lawsuit with the city of Seattle, the Seattle SuperSonics announced they would relocate to Oklahoma City on July 3, and begin play at Oklahoma City's Ford Center in the 2008-2009 NBA season. The team left the franchise history and team name and colors in Seattle.[76] The team became the fourth NBA franchise to relocate since 1985; the Kansas City Kings moved to Sacramento, the Vancouver Grizzlies to Memphis and the Charlotte Hornets to New Orleans.[77] The new name and color scheme for the Oklahoma City Thunder was announced on September 3; other finalists included Energy, Wind, Marshalls, Barons and Bison.[78]

On April 18, 2008, the NBA gave conditional approval for the Seattle Supersonics franchise to move to Oklahoma City for the 2008-2009 season provided the ownership could free themselves from the legal challenges that existed with the City of Seattle with a 28-2 vote by its board of owners.

On July 2, 2008 the City of Seattle reached an agreement to terminate the Sonics' lease and allow the team to relocate to Oklahoma City. Clay Bennett determined that as of July 3, 2008 the relocation of the now defunct Seattle SuperSonics would commence.

Professional teams

Club Sport League Stadium
Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball National Basketball Association Ford Center
Oklahoma City RedHawks Baseball Pacific Coast League AT&T Bricktown Ballpark
Oklahoma City Ice hockey American Hockey League Cox Convention Center
Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz Arena Football Arena Football League Cox Convention Center
Oklahoma City Lightning Women's football Women's Football Alliance Taft Stadium

Oklahoma City was home to the following defunct sports teams:

The city was also the temporary home of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets (known then as the "New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets") in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Transportation

Oklahoma City is an integral point on the United States Interstate Network, with three major interstate highways - Interstate 35, Interstate 40, and Interstate 44 - bisecting the city. Interstate 240 connects Interstate 40 and Interstate 44 in South Oklahoma City while Interstate 235 spurs from Interstate 44 in Northcentral Oklahoma City into downtown Oklahoma City. Major state highways through the city include the Lake Hefner Parkway (SH-74), the Kilpatrick Turnpike, Airport Road (SH-152), and Broadway Extension (US-77). Lake Hefner Parkway runs through Northwest Oklahoma City while Airport Road runs through Southwest Oklahoma City and leads to Will Rogers World Airport. The Kilpatrick Turnpike loops around North and West Oklahoma City and Broadway Extension connects Central Oklahoma City to Edmond.

Riders prepare to board the Amtrak Heartland Flyer

Oklahoma City is served by two primary airports, Will Rogers World Airport and the much smaller Wiley Post Airport (incidentally, the two honorees died in the same plane crash in Alaska)[79] Will Rogers World Airport is the state's busiest passenger airport, with over 3 million passengers annually.[80] Tinker Air Force Base, in East Oklahoma City, is the largest military air depot in the nation, a major maintenance and deployment facility for the Navy and the Air Force, and the second largest military institution in the state (after Fort Sill in Lawton).

Amtrak has a train station downtown, with daily service to Fort Worth and the nation's rail network via the Heartland Flyer. Oklahoma City once was the crossroads of several interstate passenger railroads, but service at that level has long since been discontinued. Greyhound and several other intercity bus companies serve Oklahoma City at Union Bus Station, Downtown. METRO Transit is the public transit company, however due to lack of funding the bus service offered is rudimentary and does not cover most of the city's main street grid. In addition, due to the small number of bus routes offered, it operates a hub-and-spoke system, thus making most journeys other than to downtown impractical. The bus terminal is located downtown at NW 5th Street and Hudson Avenue.

Though Oklahoma City currently has no light rail or commuter rail service, there is growing interest in incorporating light rail and commuter rail into the city's future transportation planning. In December 2009, voters in Oklahoma City passed the $777 million MAPS3 initiative, which will include funding for an estimated 5-mile to 6-mile modern streetcar in downtown Oklahoma City and commuter rail (the commuter rail component would be pending subject to federal and state funding). There is also a significant push for a commuter rail line connecting downtown with the eastern suburbs of Del City, Midwest City, and Tinker Air Force Base. A short heritage rail line that will run from Bricktown to the Adventure District in Northeast Oklahoma City is under reconstruction.

See also

References

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External links


Simple English

Oklahoma City
Nickname(s): OKC
Coordinates: 35°28′56.28″N 97°32′6.72″W / 35.4823°N 97.5352°W / 35.4823; -97.5352
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Counties Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian, and Pottawatomie
Government
 - Mayor Mick Cornett (R)
Area
 - City 621.2 sq mi (1,608.8 km2)
 - Land 607.0 sq mi (1,572.1 km2)
 - Water 14.2 sq mi (36.7 km2)
Elevation 1,299 ft (396 m)
Population (2005)
 - City 541,500
 Density 871.5/sq mi (336.5/km2)
 Metro 1,266,445
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 405
Website http://www.okc.gov/

Oklahoma City is the capital city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma, and the largest city in the state. As of 2006, the population of the city was about 537,734. [1] The Oklahoma City bombing happened in Oklahoma in 1995. Oklahoma City has an NBA team called the Oklahoma City Thunder.

References








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