Purcell, Oklahoma

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Purcell, Oklahoma
Nickname(s): Heart of Oklahoma, Quarterhorse Capital of the World, Queen City of the Chickasaw Nation
Location of Purcell, Oklahoma
Location of Purcell, Oklahoma
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Country United States
State Oklahoma
Counties McClain
 • Total 10.5 sq mi (27.2 km2)
 • Land 10.1 sq mi (26.1 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.2 km2)
Elevation 1,099 ft (335 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 5,884
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 6,339
 • Density 560/sq mi (220/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 73080
Area code(s) 405
FIPS code 40-61150[3]
GNIS feature ID 1096963[4]
Website www.cityofpurcell.com

Purcell is a city in McClain County, Oklahoma, United States, and the county seat.[5] As of the 2010 census, the city population was 5,884.[1]

Purcell's railroad heritage includes being named after Edward B. Purcell of Manhattan, Kansas, former director of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF).[6]

Purcell is often called the "Quarterhorse Capital of the World" and its official motto is "Heart of Oklahoma"; the city has registered trademarks on both titles.[7]


Purcell was founded as a railroad town in 1887, with the coming of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. Amtrak still serves the town with the Heartland Flyer at the station near the old Santa Fe depot. Purcell was at the north end of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, owned by the ATSF. Located on the Canadian River, it was called the "Queen City of the Chickasaw Nation."[6]

Purcell was the only town on the border of the Unassigned Lands, and began attracting hopeful settlers even before the Land Run of 1889. Town lots went on sale April 5, 1887, and a post office was established 16 days later. Residents elected the town's first mayor, James Taylor Bradley, on August 13, 1895. The town was incorporated on October 3, 1898.[6]

In 1895, one of the five district courts of the Chickasaw Nation was located in Purcell, with the first session opening November 18, 1895. The court house escaped destruction the next day, when a fire destroyed most of the buildings in the business district.[6]

Construction of the Oklahoma Central Railway, which would connect the Lehigh coal mines with Chickasha, reached Purcell in March 1907. The OCR located its main yards, barns and most of its equipment in Purcell. Although the OCR went bankrupt in the following year, its assets were acquired by the ATSF[8] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.5 square miles (27.2 km2), of which 10.1 square miles (26.1 km2) is land and 0.46 square miles (1.2 km2), or 4.33%, is water.[9]

Purcell is located along the I-35 Corridor in the central part of the state, on a bluff overlooking the Canadian River valley within the Interior Plains region. It is 13 miles (21 km) south of Norman.[6] The view from atop Purcell's Red Hill offers a scenic glimpse at both the South Canadian River and the University of Oklahoma campus in neighboring Norman.

The central core of Purcell is located at the intersection of US-77 and OK-74/OK-39. Access to I-35 is at the north and south ends of the town.

Prior to the construction of I-35, this route of US-77 was the heavily traveled road from Oklahoma City to Dallas.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 2,277
1910 2,740 20.3%
1920 2,938 7.2%
1930 2,817 −4.1%
1940 3,116 10.6%
1950 3,546 13.8%
1960 3,729 5.2%
1970 4,076 9.3%
1980 4,638 13.8%
1990 4,784 3.1%
2000 5,571 16.5%
2010 5,884 5.6%
Est. 2014 6,340 [10] 7.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 5,571 people, 2,120 households, and 1,500 families residing in the city. The population density was 560.1 people per square mile (216.2/km²). There were 2,789 housing units at an average density of 233.3 per square mile (90.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.60% White, 2.21% African American, 6.53% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 4.51% from other races, and 4.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.09% of the population.

There were 2,120 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 26.2% 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 2.54 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,283, and the median income for a family was $36,128. Males had a median income of $25,494 versus $18,919 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,261. About 12.5% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.9% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


Purcell is a member of the Heart of Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, and is at the center of a micropolitan trade area which includes the communities of Goldsby, Lexington, Washington, and Wayne.[12] Several small businesses and banks are located in Purcell, including a Walmart Supercenter.[13] Purcell has historically served as an agribusiness area and a center for Oklahoma's equestrian industry.[14] Purcell is the site of the first planned double-wide trailer park with underground utilities, paved roads, greenbelts and other amenities, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Large area employers include: Oklahoma Department of Corrections at 2 nearby prison facilities, Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City, Purcell Public Schools, and The City of Purcell (which operates electric, water and sewer service).

Local landmarks

Love Hotel, Purcell
James C. Nance Memorial Bridge, viewed from Purcell train station

Purcell's downtown business district and its many historic buildings underwent major improvements and revitalization at a cost of over $1 million in the 1990s via the "U.S. Main Street" program. The improvements included new sidewalks, Victorian lamp posts, storefront restorations, and landscape islands in the downtown area.

Purcell has three listings on the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Hotel Love. A three-story Victorian brick building that currently houses an antique store, a bed and breakfast inn, and retail offices/storefronts.
  • McClain County Courthouse. An original turn-of-the-century three-story brick building. It underwent a $2 million restoration in 1995.
  • James C. Nance Memorial Bridge spans the South Canadian River, connecting Purcell to Lexington. The bridge, among the longest in Oklahoma, is named for James C. Nance, a newspaper publisher and legislative leader in Oklahoma and U.S. Uniform Law Commissioner. Nance was the publisher of a chain of community newspapers in Oklahoma, including the Purcell Register.

The U.S. Federal Courthouse for Indian Territory, at the east end of Main Street, is a historic site of the former U.S. Federal Courthouse for Indian Territory. It was later renovated into a car dealer showroom and now is a retail storefront occupied by a local floral shop. The territorial courthouse was established under the Nonintercourse Act.

Parks and recreation

  • Brent Bruehl Memorial Golf Course. Named to honor a popular and talented Purcell High School golfer whose life was ended by cancer in the mid-1970s. The golf course is located with the municipal pool on a rolling area near Purcell Lake.
  • Veterans Memorial Park was established downtown across from City Hall. Recent granite memorial pavers and nameplate memorial was constructed by the City of Purcell workers in cooperation with the local Rotary Club and American Legion, on Main Street.


  • New $14 million public high school was constructed in 2007-2008. The former high school complex is now the junior high school.



Purcell's train station is located at the lower level of the hill at east Main Street, and has daily rail service provided by Amtrak's Heartland Flyer north to Norman and Oklahoma City, and south to Pauls Valley, Ardmore, Gainesville, and Fort Worth. In Fort Worth, passengers can connect to Amtrak's Texas Eagle. Interstate 35 runs north–south on the west edge of Purcell. The town is also served by U.S. Highway 77, State Highway 39, and State Highway 74.[15] In addition, ODOT maintains State Highway 77C in downtown Purcell, a route which is not marked.[16]

Stephen Shephard Memorial Purcell Airport. Renamed from Purcell Municipal Airport in 2005 to honor a Purcell High School alumnus who became a U.S. pilot and flight instructor and lost his life in the Iraq War.

Health care

Purcell has two local medical facilities, Purcell Municipal Hospital, a 50 bed full service hospital offering acute care and emergency room, is located on the north side of the city. PMH is owned by the City of Purcell and operated by the Purcell Hospital Authority. The hospital was once managed by HCA-Presbyterian Health Care Systems, and more recently a referral arrangement and joint management agreement was awarded to Saint Anthony Hospital of Oklahoma City

The Purcell Clinic is operated by the Chickasaw Nation Indian Health Service, and owned by The Chickasaw Nation. The clinic, located on the fast-growing south end of Purcell near the Walmart supercenter, has a contract with the U. S. Government. The Purcell Clinic serves members of all 530 recognized Native American Tribes with healthcare and prescriptions free of charge. The Purcell Clinic facility includes a drive through pharmacy for the convenience of patients. The Purcell Clinic refers patients to Carl Albert Hospital in Ada.

Notable people

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-09-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-09-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Joyce A. Rex, "Purcell," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed April 12, 2015.
  7. "Purcell Quick Facts". City of Purcell. Retrieved October 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Purcell city, Oklahoma". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved March 2, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved September 24, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "About Purcell". City of Purcell. Retrieved October 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Members". Heart Of Oklahoma Chamber Of Commerce. Retrieved October 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Quality of Life". City of Purcell. Retrieved October 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Official State Map (Map) (2008 ed.). Oklahoma Department of Transportation.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 2008 Control Section Maps (PDF) (Map). Oklahoma Department of Transportation. p. McClain 44.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Photograph 2012.201.B0363B.0389". Gateway to Oklahoma History. Retrieved 12 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links