Elk City's Rich History
A Legacy Built Through Community
Founded By Families
Elk City’s history dates back to the days immediately following the opening of all surplus land of the Cherokee Outlet in 1892 when the first men made their appearance. Prior to this time, many early settlers had driven cattle over the “Great Western” trail from Texas going north, through the present town site of Elk City, to Dodge City, Kansas.
Probably the most important day in Elk City’s history is March 20, 1901, the date the first lots were sold by the Choctaw Townsite and Improvement Co., which had a few days earlier purchased the site for the business district from Mr. Allee.
By the date of the sale of the lots, March 20, hundreds of prospective purchasers had built a tent city. A legal document in the county clerk’s office certifies that the city was surveyed and platted into lots, blocks, streets, and alleys on March 18, 1901.
Named From The Land
Originally called Crowe, the townspeople, eager for industry, renamed the town Busch, hoping to woo the favor of Adolphus Busch, so that the town might get a brewery. However, when the brewery did not materialize, the name Elk City was officially changed in 1901. Elk City was named after Elk Creek, which in turn had been named after an Indian Chief, Elk River, who lived in this vicinity years before.
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.