Elk City has always been a shining example of “Western Hospitality.” Elk City’s geographic location has been one of the main reasons for its colorful and historic past. Major highways now meet where once a number of important routes passed; the most famous being the “Great Western or Dodge City Cattle Trail.” Later, the cattle trails were replaced by highways, and Elk City remained in the center of things by being located in the center of the “Mother Road” Route 66, the major east-west thoroughfare across the United States.
Elk City became a town site in 1901 as a shipping center at the end of Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway Line. Originally called Crowe, the townspeople, eager for industry, renamed the town Busch, hoping to woo the favors of Adolphus Busch so that the town might get a brewery.
However, when the brewery didn’t materialize, the name “Elk City” was adopted. Elk City was named for Elk Creek, which runs through the city. The creek is named after Indian Chief Elk River.
While its locations made it an ideal transportation hub, Elk City also has strong ties to agriculture with beef and dairy cattle production. Cotton, alfalfa, wheat and other grains are also produced.
In 1903, Charles Gould ended his first geological survey of the Anadarko Basin. More than any other industry, oil and gas have shaped and reshaped Elk City’s history.