The town of Skiatook in Oklahoma was established in 1880 by William C. Rogers, who was the last hereditary Cherokee Chief. Rogers started a trading post on the southern bank of Bird Creek, near the line that divided the Cherokee Nation’s Coo-wee-scoo-wee district and the Osage reservation. It is believed that the town was so named after an Osage Indian called Skiatooka, who was a regular trader at the trading post. However, there are a number of other theories concerning the origin of the town’s name.
In the year 1880, the closest town and railroad to Skiatook was Coffeyville, Kansas. Rogers made frequent trips to Coffeyville, bringing supplies back to the town using oxen and mules. As the settlement grew, he assumed the responsibility of delivering mail and newspapers to the residents of the area. The first official post office was set up in the town in 1882, and Rogers decided to name it “Ski-A-Took”, which was then changed to “Skiatook” a decade later.
It was in December 1904 that the town of Skiatook was relocated to its present site, which was around two miles south of the trading post that was opened by Rogers. A railroad was constructed by the Midland Valley Railroad Company at the site, and Rogers moved to the new town, ordering the construction of a brick store building. Many buildings were built soon after the relocation of the town, and the first deed was granted to the Skiatook Bank. Some of the earliest businesses that were set up during the beginnings of the town included the Dickason-Goodman Lumber Company, O’Brill Drug Store, Townsend, Sullivan and Company, Al Fiegly and Son, America Exchange Bank; and First National Bank. Skiatook’s commercial district stretched across two counties, namely the Tulsa County and the Osage County. One business enterprise that was popular among the residents of the town in the early years was horse racing, which was regularly held on Main Street.
Skiatook’s charter received approval by Judge Gill, becoming an official town in 1905. Its first mayor was A.E. Townsend, who was assisted by a group of capable aldermen, including Al K. Fiegly, Fred Lynde, C. E. Tyler, C. H. Cleveland, and George Bleavins. The first Chief of Police was Joseph Mucer and the first town clerk was Mr. Stokes.
In 1907, the first church building in Skiatook was erected, which served as the meeting place for members of the First Christian Church. Due to the efforts of Mr. Craig, Mr. LaFoon, and Mr. Jewett, the town built its first permanent school in 1908. Construction of cement sidewalks in Skiatook commenced in 1909, and the town possessed around 15 blocks of cement-paved streets by 1919. The gas, oil, and farm industries within the area surrounding Skiatook experienced significant growth in the 1910s, and the town had about 2,000 residents and 50 businesses by the year 1920. During the early 1920s, a road to Tulsa and other roads to different towns in the area were established, making the town more accessible to travelers.
The Skiatook Lake was constructed in 1984, giving the town its own source of water. By providing a number of opportunities for outdoor activities, the beautiful lake has also contributed significantly to Skiatook’s tourism industry. Presently, the town of Skiatook has a population of approximately 7,000 people and continues to thrive.