Ada, Oklahoma

Ada is a city in and the county seat of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, United States.[3] The population was 16,810 at the 2010 census, an increase of 7.1 percent from 15,691 at the 2000 census.[4] The city was named for Ada Reed, the daughter of an early settler, and was incorporated in 1901.[5] Ada is home to East Central University, and is the headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation.

Ada is an Oklahoma Main Street City, an Oklahoma Certified City, and a Tree City USA member.[5]

Ada, Oklahoma
Ada City Hall
Ada City Hall
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Coordinates: 34°45′49″N 96°40′6″W / 34.76361°N 96.66833°WCoordinates: 34°45′49″N 96°40′6″W / 34.76361°N 96.66833°W
CountryUnited States
Post Office1891
 • TypeCity Council
 • MayorTre Landrum
 • Total15.8 sq mi (40.8 km2)
 • Land15.7 sq mi (40.7 km2)
 • Water.1 sq mi (.2 km2)  0%
1,010 ft (308 m)
 • Total17,140
 • Density1,077.2/sq mi (417.1/km2)
 • Demonym
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s)580
FIPS code40-00200 [1]
GNIS feature ID1089523 [2]


In the late 1880s, the Daggs family (by way of Texas) became the first white family to settle what is now known as Ada, which was formerly known as Daggs Prairie. In April 1889, Jeff Reed (a native Texan and relative of the Daggs family) was appointed to carry the mail from Stonewall to Center (which was later combined with Pickett), two small communities in then Indian Territory. With his family and his stock, he sought a place for a home on a prairie midway between the two points, where he constructed a log house and started Reed's Store. Other settlers soon built homes nearby. In 1891, a post office was established and named after Reed's oldest daughter, Ada.[6] Ada incorporated as a city in 1901 and grew rapidly with the arrival of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway line. Within a decade the Santa Fe Railroad and the Oklahoma Central Railway also served the town.[7]

Ada was originally a sundown town, where African Americans were not allowed to live. In the 1900s, the town was opened up to African Americans so that black witnesses could stay while testifying in district court. Despite a violent episode in 1904, the town remained open to African Americans to provide labor for a local cotton compress.[8][9][10]

In 1909, the women of Ada organized an effort to build a normal school in their city. It resulted in the founding of East Central College (now East Central University).[7]

On April 19, 1909, an organized mob hanged four men, among whom was American outlaw Deacon Jim Miller, who was set to be tried for the murder of a former U.S. marshal and member of the local freemason lodge.[11] The town had a population of about 5,000 at the time, and 38 murders a year at the time of the lynching.[11] The Daily Ardmoreite reported that the four lynched men were "one of the bloodiest band of murderers in the state of Oklahoma and an organization of professional assassins, that for a record of blood crimes, probably has no equal in the annals of criminal history in the entire southwest."[12]

The first manufacturing company in Ada, the Portland Cement Company, installed the first cement clinker in Oklahoma in 1910. American Glass Casket Company began manufacturing glass caskets in 1916, but the business failed. Hazel Atlas Glass bought the plant in 1928 and produced glass products until 1991.[7]

National Register of Historic Places

The following sites in Ada are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:[13]


Ada is located in the rolling hills of southeastern Oklahoma. Ada is 88 miles (142 km) from Oklahoma City, 122 mi (196 km) from Tulsa, and 133 mi (214 km) from Dallas, Texas.[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.8 square miles (40.9 km2), of which 15.7 square miles (40.7 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2) (0.44%) is water.



Chickasaw stop
Chickasaw language stop sign, with Chickasaw word "Hika" ("stop"), in Ada, Oklahoma.
Broadway - Watertower
Picture taken on Broadway of the former Stout family residence with one of the city's water towers behind it.
Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201517,303[15]2.9%
Language offerings for audio tours at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, including Chickasaw, English, and Spanish.

As of the 2010 census, Ada's 16,810 residents consisted of 6,697 households and 3,803 families. The population density was 999.3 people per square mile (385.9/km²). The 7,862 housing units were dispersed at an average density of 475.9 per square mile (183.8/km²). Ada's 2006 racial makeup was 73.81% White, 3.54% African American, 15.10% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races, and 5.81% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.89% of the population.

Of Ada's 6,697 households, 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. The 15.8% of those 65 years or older living alone made up a substantial portion of the 37.1% single-person households. Average household size was 2.20 persons; average family size was 2.91.

The age breakdown in 2006 was 22.3% under the age of 18, 17.5% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% aged 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. The disparity between the number of males and the number of females seems to be decreasing: for every 100 females aged 18 or over, there were only 84.5 males, but when all females and males were taken into account, there were 100 females for every 88.4 males.

Median household income was $22,977, while median family income was $31,805. Males had a median income of $25,223 versus $17,688 for females. Ada's per capita income was $14,666. Some 14.8% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.8% of those under 18 and 11.4% of those 65 or over.

Perhaps 2,000-3,000 residents speak the Chickasaw language.[19]


The economy of Ada is diversified. In the mid and late 20th century, the town was a manufacturing center, producing products such as Wrangler jeans, auto parts, cement and concrete, plasticware, and other products. Since the start of the 21st century, manufacturers have made major investments in expansions and new technology[20][21][22].

In 1975, the Chickasaw Nation opened its headquarters in Ada.[23][7] Revenues for the Nation were over 12 billion dollars in 2011, most of which is funneled through Ada.[24] The Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Center, a large water research lab staffed by the Environmental Protection Agency, opened in 1966.[7] LegalShield, a multi-level marketing provider of pre-paid legal services, is headquartered in the city. Oil and natural gas are still very much a part of the regional economy.

The largest employers in the region are the following:[25]

  • Ada City Schools
  • Chickasaw Nation
  • East Central University
  • iQor (call center for T-Mobile)
  • Pontotoc County Technology Center
  • Dart Container (makers of the Solo Cup)
  • Flex-N-Gate (auto parts manufacturer)
  • Holcim Inc. (Portland cement)
  • LegalShield
  • Power Lift Foundation Repair
  • State of Oklahoma
  • Walmart
  • Kerr Lab
  • Mercy Hospital Ada
  • City of Ada


ECU's Honor Plaza

Higher education

East Central University, located in Ada, is a public four-year institution that has been in operation since 1909. ECU serves roughly 4,500 students and is perhaps best known internationally for its cartography program, as only a few such programs exist. ECU is also home to an Environmental Health Science Program, one of only 30 programs nationally accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).[26]

Primary and secondary

Ada Public Schools has six primary and secondary schools.

  • Glenwood Early Childhood Center
  • Hayes Grade Center
  • Washington Grade Center
  • Willard Grade Center
  • Ada Junior High School
  • Ada High School

Latta Public Schools has 1 high school in Ada: Latta High School

Technical school

Pontotoc Technology Center (formerly Pontotoc Area Vo-Tech) is located in Ada.



Major highways are:


Rail Freight is serviced by BNSF

Notable people

In popular culture

Because of its short, palindromic spelling with frequently used letters, Ada is a very common crossword puzzle answer. Associated clues often include "Oklahoma city", "Oklahoma palindrome", and "Sooner State city."[46]

In 2006, a true crime book by author John Grisham brought Ada into the national spotlight by relating various false convictions and imprisonments resulting from two unconnected murder trials. Two men had been tried and convicted of the murder of Debra Sue "Debbie" Carter. After twelve years on death row, DNA evidence proved the men's innocence and established the guilt of the prosecution's main witness. Similar problems surrounded the trials of the two men convicted for the murder of Denice Haraway. Two of the books examining these cases are The Dreams of Ada (1987) by Robert Mayer and The Innocent Man, Grisham's first non-fiction book. Accounts from both books suggest major flaws, irregularities, and outright miscarriages of justice including forced and made-up confessions by the police and prosecutors. Prosecutor Bill Peterson has self-published his disagreements with Grisham's version of events.[47][48][49]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ "Ada, OK Population - Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts - CensusViewer". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "About Ada". 2007-08-12. Archived from the original on 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
  6. ^ City of Ada, OK (accessed February 23, 2007).
  7. ^ a b c d e "OHS Publications Division". 2016-05-05. Archived from the original on 2016-05-05. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  8. ^ "After Negroes in Ada, I.T." Arkansas City Daily Traveler. Arkansas City, Kansas. March 30, 1904. p. 1 – via Until recently the people of Ada, a town of 300, have refused to allow negroes to reside within the corporation. As district court is held there it became necessary to secure some place where negro witnesses might stay during the session. Judge Townsend induced the people to allow a negro restaurant to be established. Following this barber shops, stores and hotels were put up by negroes. Notices were served on these people by unknown parties that unless they left the town immediately they must suffer the consequences. They refused to leave and last night a negro restaurant was blown up by dynamite and an occupant of the building seriously injured. ... As a cotton compress is to begin operations here next fall considerable negro labor will be required, and most citizens now believe negroes should be allowed to live there.
  9. ^ "Used Dynamite". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Alexandria, Louisiana. March 31, 1904. p. 7 – via Unknown parties dynamited the house of Lum Williams, seriously injuring one negro and demolishing the building. The negroes occupying the house had been warned several times not to let the sun go down on them in Ada. The card of warning was signed 'Old Danger.' Heretofore negroes were not allowed to live in Ada, and these were only allowed to stay to accomodate [sic] the negroes attending court. After court they refused to leave.
  10. ^ "Considers Conspiracy Law". The Wagoner Echo. Wagoner, Indian Territory. November 19, 1904. p. 5 – via Now in Durant and other towns in the Central District, and for that matter, in Holdenville, Ada and other towns in the territory notices had been posted for the Negroes not to let the sun go down on them in said towns.
  11. ^ a b "Ada, Oklahoma Lynching, 1909" at Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon (accessed April 1, 2010)
  12. ^ The Daily Ardmoreite. Ardmore, Oklahoma. Monday, 19 April 1909 (accessed January 1, 2008).
  13. ^ Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
  14. ^ "Historical Weather for Ada, Oklahoma, United States".
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  16. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Oklahoma" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Oklahoma: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  19. ^ Robins Hunter, Phoebe. "Language Extinction and the Status of North American Indian Languages".
  20. ^ Gray, Sydney. "100 year old cement plant gets modernized". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Ada company develops lead-free fuel to power general aviation industry". 9 August 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  22. ^, Eric Swanson Staff Writer. "Globe Manufacturing celebrates 10 years in Ada". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  23. ^ Floyd, Billie Fathree and Alberta Johnson Blackburn. "Ada". Archived 2010-04-12 at the Wayback Machine Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Retrieved 2009-10-7.
  24. ^ "Financial Reports of the Chickasaw". Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  25. ^ Oklahoma Department of Commerce (April 2011). "Southern WIA Economic Profile" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-08-15.
  26. ^ "Undergraduate Accredited Programs | NEHSPAC". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  27. ^ 2011 Oklahoma Indian Nations Pocket Pictorial Directory. Archived 2012-04-24 at the Wayback Machine Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. 2011: 8. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  28. ^ "Major General Vaughn A. Ary". Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2013-08-02. Retrieved 14 Oct 2013.
  29. ^ "Nick Blackburn Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  30. ^ "Harry Brecheen Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  31. ^ Dan Cody - Baltimore Ravens, Yahoo! Sports (accessed May 21, 2007).
  32. ^ Douglas Edwards Chronology Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, The Douglas Edwards Archives at St. Bonaventure University (accessed July 26, 2013)
  33. ^ Josh Fields Stats, Baseball Almanac (accessed July 26, 2013)
  34. ^ Mark Gastineau, Pro Football Reference. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  35. ^ Johny Hendrick, (accessed July 26, 2013)
  36. ^ "Anthony Armstrong Jones was born". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  37. ^ David Keirsey
  38. ^ Congressional biography of Robert S. Kerr (accessed July 26, 2013)
  39. ^ "Carolyn Roy, "Longtime KSLA anchor and news director Don Owen passes away"". KSLA-TV. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  40. ^ Louise S. Robbins - Oklahoma Library Legends Archived 2013-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, Oklahoma State University. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  41. ^ Oral Roberts, Tulsa World Special Projects Page (accessed July 26, 2013)
  42. ^ Editor, GLENN PUIT Executive. "Ole Red Blake Shelton launches new bar/restaurant in downtown Tishomingo". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  43. ^ CNN (6 April 2018). "This Oklahoma student is excited she's reading a textbook used by Blake Shelton. Her mother is not". Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  44. ^ Leon Polk Smith Scholarship, Art Department Scholarships Archived 2014-08-12 at the Wayback Machine, East Central University. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  45. ^ Dwyer, Jim. "Ronald Williamson, Freed From Death Row, Dies at 51," New York Times, December 9, 2004. (accessed July 26, 2013)
  46. ^ "ADA". Crossword Tracker. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  47. ^ Frontline: burden of innocence (accessed November 13, 2008)
  48. ^ The Innocence Project Archived 2008-09-19 at the Library of Congress Web Archives (accessed November 13, 2008).
  49. ^ Grisham's Folly (accessed November 13, 2008).

External links

Ada Evening News

The Ada News is a daily newspaper published five days a week in Ada, Oklahoma. The publication's coverage area includes Pontotoc County and portions of Coal County, Garvin County, Hughes County, Johnston County, Murray County and Seminole County. The newspaper is published Tuesday through Friday and Saturday.The Thomson Corporation sold The Ada News, along with 11 other papers, to the American Publishing Company (later Hollinger International) in 1995. Hollinger sold off most of its small papers in 1999, and The Ada News went to Community Newspaper Holdings.

The publication is owned by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc., a company founded in 1997 by Ralph Martin. CNHI newspapers are clustered in groups that cross-sell packages to advertisers and occasionally feature editorial content written by a regional reporter working directly for CNHI.

Ada Gaming Center

The Ada Gaming Center is a Native American casino in Ada, Oklahoma. The center is the first gaming facility that was founded by the Chickasaw Nation, having started out as a bingo hall in 1983. The 22,482 sq ft (2,088.6 m2) facility includes a bar, the Traditions Bar, and a restaurant, the Double Down Grill, and 9,220 sq ft (857 m2) of gaming space. The center has seven tables for blackjack and Ultimate Texas Hold 'em, and more than 330 electronic gaming machines.

Bertha Teague

Bertha F. Teague (September 17, 1906 – June 13, 1991) was an American basketball coach, born in Carthage, Missouri, USA. She coached the Byng High School girls' team in Byng, Oklahoma (near Ada, Oklahoma) for 42 years (from 1927 to 1969) with a career record of 1,157-115 (.910 winning percentage). Her teams won 8 Oklahoma state titles and 98 consecutive games from 1936 to 1939. She was named Coach of the Decade for 1930s, 1940s and 1970s by the Jim Thorpe Athletic Awards Committee in 1974. She was enshrined as a coach in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985 and in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Dan Cody

Dan Cody is also the name of a character in the novel The Great Gatsby.Daniel Price Cody (born December 1, 1983) is a former American football linebacker. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He played college football at Oklahoma.

David Keirsey

David West Keirsey (; August 31, 1921 – July 30, 2013) was an American psychologist, a professor emeritus at California State University, Fullerton, and the author of several books. In his most popular publications, Please Understand Me (1978, co-authored by Marilyn Bates) and the revised and expanded second volume Please Understand Me II (1998), he laid out a self-assessed personality questionnaire, known as the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which links human behavioral patterns to four temperaments and sixteen character types. Both volumes of Please Understand Me contain the questionnaire for type evaluation with detailed portraits and a systematic treatment of descriptions of temperament traits and personality characteristics. With a focus on conflict management and cooperation, Keirsey specialized in family and partnership counseling and the coaching of children and adults.

East Central Tigers

The East Central Tigers (also ECU Tigers) are the athletic teams that represent East Central University, located in Ada, Oklahoma, in NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports. The Tigers compete as members of the Great American Conference for all 13 varsity sports.

East Central University

East Central University (ECU or East Central) is a public, co-educational teaching university in Ada, in the south central region of Oklahoma. East Central one of the six universities that are part of Oklahoma's Regional University System. Beyond its flagship campus is Ada, the university has courses available in McAlester, Shawnee, Ardmore, and Durant, as well as online courses. Nearly 4,500 students are enrolled in the school's undergraduate and graduate programs. Founded as East Central State Normal School in 1909, its present name was adopted in 1985. Some of its more famous alumni include former NFL player Mark Gastineau, past governors Robert S. Kerr and George Nigh, former U.S. Representative Lyle Boren, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Tom Colbert, and U.S. Army General James D. Thurman.

Harry Brecheen

Harry David Brecheen (October 14, 1914 – January 17, 2004), nicknamed "The Cat", was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played most of his career for the St. Louis Cardinals. In the late 1940s he was among the team's stars, in 1946 becoming the first left-hander ever to win three games in a single World Series, and the only pitcher ever to win consecutive World Series games. He later leading the National League in several categories in 1948.

His career World Series earned run average of 0.83 was a major league record from 1946 to 1976. From 1951 to 1971 he held the Cardinals franchise record for career strikeouts by a left-hander, and he also retired with the fourth-highest fielding percentage among pitchers (.983), then the top mark among left-handers.

Jeremy Shockey

Jeremy Charles Shockey (born August 18, 1980) is a former American football tight end. He was drafted by the New York Giants 14th overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Miami.

The winner of the first-ever Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year Award in 2002, Shockey earned four Pro Bowl selections in his career and received Super Bowl rings with the Giants in Super Bowl XLII and with the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

Jerry Walker

Jerry Allen Walker (born February 12, 1939) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Athletics, and Cleveland Indians between 1957 and 1964. Born in Ada, Oklahoma, the right-hander was listed as 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and 195 pounds (88 kg). He signed with the Orioles as a "bonus baby" out of Ada's Byng High School on June 28, 1957, and continued his education at East Central University.


KADA-FM (99.3 FM, "Cool 99.3") is a radio station licensed to serve Ada, Oklahoma, US. The station, established in 1980, is currently owned by the Chickasaw Nation.

KADA-FM broadcasts an adult contemporary music format.


KADA (1230 AM, "Pirate Radio 102.3") is a radio station broadcasting a modern rock format. Licensed to Ada, Oklahoma, United States, the station (and its sister stations, KADA-FM 99.3, KYKC 100.1, KCNP 89.5, KXFC 105.5, and KTLS 106.5) are owned by The Chickasaw Nation.


KCNP (89.5 FM) is a radio station Licensed to Ada, Oklahoma, United States, the station is currently owned by The Chickasaw Nation.

Nick Blackburn

Robert Nicholas Blackburn (born February 24, 1982) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins from 2007 to 2012.

Oklahoma City–Ada–Atoka Railway

The Oklahoma City – Ada – Atoka Railway (OCAA) was formed from trackage from Oklahoma City to Atoka via Shawnee and Ada, Oklahoma, that was not included in the 1923 reorganization of the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad.

The OCAA was originally owned by interests associated with the Oklahoma Railway, but was sold to the Muskogee Company (which also controlled the Midland Valley Railroad and the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway) in 1929. In 1964 the OCAA was sold to the Missouri Pacific Railroad's Texas and Pacific Railway, which briefly operated the property before selling it to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway with which it merged on December 1, 1967.

In 1960 OCAA reported 20 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and no passengers on its 104 miles of road.

Pontotoc County, Oklahoma

Pontotoc County is in the south central part of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,492. Its county seat is Ada. The county was created at statehood from part of the Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory. It was named for a historic Chickasaw tribal area in Mississippi. According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Pontotoc is usually translated "cattail prairie" or "land of hanging grapes." Pontotoc County comprises the Ada, OK Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The Chickasaw Nation's headquarters are in Ada.

Tom D. McKeown

Thomas Deitz McKeown (June 4, 1878 – October 22, 1951) was a U.S. Representative from Oklahoma.

Wilburn Cartwright

Wilburn Cartwright (January 12, 1892 – March 14, 1979) was a lawyer, educator, U.S. Representative from Oklahoma, and United States Army officer in World War II. The town of Cartwright, Oklahoma is named after him.

Climate data for Ada, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
Average high °F (°C) 51
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) −10
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.1
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.7
Source: Weatherbase[14]
Municipalities and communities of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, United States
Other unincorporated
County seats in Oklahoma

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