City Of Tonkawa115 S 7th St, Tonkawa, OK 74653
Tonkawa was founded following the historic land race of September 16, 1893. The race opened for settlement the Cherokee Outlet which was part of the area included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The original Tonkawa townsite, located on the claims of W.W. Gregory and Eli Blake, was incorporated in 1894. The name "Tonkawa" meaning "They All Stay Together" comes from the Tonkawa Tribe that moved to the area in 1885. The tribe still resides in the area and holds an annual pow wow in July at the Fort Oakland Reserve. Tonkawa grew stedily until 1921 when its population exploded almost overnight to 15,000 with the discovery of Three Sands Oil Field south of town. Three Sands became known as the "billion dollar spot," producing more than 60 million barrels. Although the oil boom has declined, petroleum and natural gas are still important minerals in Kay County. Tonkawa was the site of a POW camp during World War II. Located at the north edge of the city, this camp housed over 3,000 prisoners and Army personnel. At present, industrial sites have been developed in this area. Tonkawa has an active Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, numerous civic, social and fraternal groups, National Guard unit, eleven churches, day care centers, public school kindergarten, Tonkawa Elementary School, Tonkawa Junior High and High School, and Northern Oklahoma College, a fully accredited North Central Association state junior college. There is a Council-Manager type government with four (4) Councilmembers, a Mayor and a City Manager. The Police Department includes one (1)chief, seven (7) sworn officers plus eight (8) certified reserve officers, five (5) dispatchers, and seven (7) radio-equipped patrol cars. All areas of the City receive 24 hour patrol service. In 2002, Tonkawa installed a new E911 System to handle emergency calls for both the police and fire departments. The Fire Department includes one station, eight (8) full time personnel (all eight are emergency medical technicians), and twelve (12) volunteers (five are EMTs). Superior ambulance service is manned by EMTs and LIFELINE emergency response system. A rescue vehicle is equipped with "Jaws of Life.