Enid Newcomers Guide 2017 - Page 18

Original Enid’s History Enid is said to have been named by a railroad official after a character in Tennyson’s “The Idylls of the King.” At noon on Sept. 16, 1893, hundreds of thousands of land seekers charged into the Cherokee Outlet seeking free land and a new start in life. They came on horseback, in horsedrawn wagons and buggies, on trains and even on bicycles or on foot. Droves of settlers lined up at the land office to file their claims for land. The land office was located near what is now the site of the Enid Public Library on the south side of the downtown square. This original land office building is now part of a permanent display at the Humphrey Heritage Village on the west side of Government Springs Park. On the plaza of Enid Event Center and Convention Hall (301 S. Independence) is the life-size bronze sculpture of “Boomer.” The sculpture depicts a home-seeker astride his galloping horse, his claim stakes in his hand, making the race for a free quarter section of land or a town lot in the 1893 land run. In the beginning, Enid struggled to become a city and won. At the turn of the century, easy access to a railroad was an absolute must if a community was to grow 16 Cherokee Strip Land Run and prosper. The Rock Island Railroad had put its depot in North Enid, even though, before the land run, surveyors designated Enid as the “government town.” The railroad stopped in North Enid rather than Enid and a battle ensued. Then, one night, persons still unknown, sawed through the supports on a Rock Island Railroad trestle southeast of Enid. The weakened supports dumped into a gully the next train that came over the tracks. The event marked the turning point in the dispute and a short time later the railroad agreed to move its depot to Enid. At the height of railroad activity in the 1920s, there were more than 20 steam trains every day huffing and puffing in and out of Enid. Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the roller-coaster ride of several oil booms and busts in the area, Enid has for the most part enjoyed slow but deliberate growth over the years. Enid’s current population is approximately 52,000. The huge grain elevators on the east side of town have long been Enid landmarks, reflecting the city’s agricultural roots.