Introduction to Lawton, Oklahoma
Lawton is located in the south western portion of Oklahoma, close to the Wichita Mountains in Comanche County. The city is the cultural and commercial center for the region. Lawton is known for huge granite deposits as well as cotton. The city has been included on the Forbes' List of the "Best Small Places for Business and Careers."
Indian tribes had taken advantage of the natural resources offered in South West Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains such as wildlife, water and vegetation. Fort Sill was constructed in 1869 in the hostile Indian Territory. The city was named in tribute to Henry Lawton, the quartermaster at Fort Sill who partook in the capture of the well known Apache leader, Geronimo. He was taken to Fort Sill and placed in jail in 1894.
In 1901 the Rock Island Railroad arrived and a lottery was held for homestead claims for Lawton. One year after the lottery was completed, approximately 100 saloons had been established. Banks and stores were quickly open for business.
Gambling was a major activity until it was declared illegal in 1907. The huge population growth causes serious public health problems and led to a shortage of water and disregard for the law. the Indians resided outside of the city but often entered Lawton in order to conduct business. After World War II ended the city experienced a steady growth in population.
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife and Refuge is popular with hikers, rock climbing enthusiasts and tourists. The refuge features buffalo, elk, deer and numerous other animal and plant species. Popular destinations in the refuge include Holy City of Wichita, Lake Lawtonka, Quanah Parker Lake & Dam, Mount Scott and Quartz Mountain Nature Park. Lake Ellsworth is a popular location for outdoor activities.
Attractions and Entertainment
- Medicine Park, located in the Wichita Mountains is a popular resort town which features structures made from naturally formed red granite cobblestones
- McMahon Memorial Auditorium offers ballet performances, a variety of concerts and Broadway shows
- Pioneer Heritage Town Site Center is a museum complex which portrays the life of residents during the 1920s
- Lawton Community Theatre offers plays and musicals
- Little Chapel is a restored Gothic Revival Church
- Mattie Beal Home is situated on a large acreage and features Greek Revival style architecture and includes impressive woodwork and stained glass
- Museum of the Great Plains offers exhibits on the history of the Great Plains of North America
- Percussive Arts Society Museum features percussion instruments from all over the world
Lawton is home to Cameron University.