Originally called Cooper, the community was planned in 1899 by Frank Cooper, who had organized a settlement company in anticipation of the opening of the Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache Reservation in August 1901. When he learned the reservation would be opened with a lottery instead of a run, Cooper asked for and was granted 320 acres for his company members. He planned the settlement to be at the foot of the Wichita Mountains, about two miles east of the town’s present location. However, an error was made when the townsite was registered. Later the name had to be changed to Cooperton, as there was already a Cooper in present Blaine County, Oklahoma.
Cooperton grew and soon had eighteen businesses and a town board and expected a railroad. The first general store and post office were in a small building. Other businesses included a second general store, livery stable, drug store, bank, hardware store, and cotton gin. Also coming to town were a cigar factory, mill, blacksmith shop, and two hotels. Churches and a school were built, and a newspaper, the Cooperton Banner, was published.
By 1910 Cooperton had one hundred residents. Despite its failure to acquire a railroad, the town grew gradually until 1940 when the population reached 187. Over the years the schools disbanded, students transferred, and people moved on, so that by 2000 there were only 20 residents remaining.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: “Cooperton,” Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Dorothea L. Dudgeon, “Cooperton Valley,” in Pioneering in Kiowa County, Vol. 1 (Hobart, Okla.: Kiowa County Historical Society, 1975).
Ethel Crisp Taylor
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