Noble County Sentinel - Holiday Edition - Dec. 23, 1897
A Business Center and a Large Shipping Point
A Bright Young City, in the Heart of a Rich Agricultural Country - Wonderful Progress Made by Its People in the Short Period of four Years, Possessing all of the Advantages of a Modern City.
At 12 o'clock, noon, on September 16th, 1893, the Cherokee Strip was thrown open to settlement. It is estimated that on the line nine miles south of Perry, no less than fifty thousand people gathered to make the free for all race for a home in this much coveted land, thousands of whom had their mind set on securing claim, while thousands of others centered their hopes on a lot in the townsite of Perry. At that time the entire country was a vast sea of prairie - the home of the Texas steer and the coyote. Not even a lone cabin could be seen to mark the title of settlement by the white man. In less than forty minutes after 12 o'clock no less than 20,000 persons were scrambling for the possession of lots in Perry. In many instances as many as a dozen were claiming the same lot, each doing their best to oust the others, and the scene resembled one continuous mass of humanity struggling for existence, and that his sole existence depended on gaining peaceable possession of a small spot of ground 25 x 150 feet. By sundown the same day dozens of houses were in course of erection, and when the sun rose the next morning another army of people joined in the throng and added much to the push and jam on all sides. This army was composed of those who made the run for claims, and, after either failing to secure a claim, or having staked one of their choice, were making their way to the U. S. Land Office to secure their filings on the land of their choice. The scenes incident to the first few weeks would fill a book of many pages, but, no doubt, will remain a part of unwritten history.
On September 28, twelve days after the opening, Governor Renfrow issued his proclamation declaring Perry a city of the first-class and ordering an election for municipal officers, to be held on Saturday, October 21, 1893. This election resulted in the election of the entire Democratic ticket with J. M. Brogan as mayor: Lon Whorton, city clerk; and George Farrar, treasurer. A well regulated police force was soon organized and order brought out of chaos, when the city began to assume the appearance of a well regulated municipality, and from that time to the present no city in the Territory has enjoyed a more prosperous growth. The speculators, the "long and short" men have gone and left a city composed of law-abiding industrious citizens to enjoy the fruits of a well deserved, peaceable commonwealth, whose residences and business blocks are today shining monuments of push, energy and enterprise. In a little over four years Perry has "won the spurs," and might be styled the "Peerless Princess of the Prairie," had not that phrase been adopted by a northern neighbor while our city was yet unborn. With the favorable location, natural surrounding and beauty of situation, Perry is entitled to all the good things that might be said of it, though we will be satisfied with the assertion that it is as good a town of the size as there is in the length and breadth of the country, and present facts and argument to prove it. To get to the point without gush or flattery, presenting the plain unvarnished truth, Perry has 4,000 people at four years of age. It is the metropolis of the Cherokee Outlet, and is situated in the center of a vast area of productive territory. It is on the Santa Fe railway, fifty miles south of the Kansas line, and is generally the first point visited by persons coming to Oklahoma from the North and East. When one stops to consider the territory surrounding Perry, that is at the command of its markets, he does not wonder at its importance as a shipping point and commercial center. Within the area of four counties Perry has no competition as a market and business center. To the north, the nearest town is thirty-five miles; to the east the nearest railroad point is one hundred miles; to the south the only city to be considered a competitor is thirty miles, and to the west the nearest railroad point is forty-five miles. It is not uncommon to meet people upon the streets of Perry who have traveled fifty and seventy-five miles to secure the advantage of its facilities as a market, and trade with the merchants.
A conservative estimate places the amount of wheat that will be shipped from this market this season at 500,000 bushels, worth nearly that many dollars. Exports of other productions include 5,000 bales of cotton, compared to 400 bales last year; there is a telling increase; 350 cars of cotton seed, 378 cars of hogs, 9 cars flax, 25 cars broom corn, 75 cars castor beans, together with large quantities of cattle, poultry, produce, etc.
The important manufacturing enterprises are, a flouring mill with a capacity of 300 barrels, ice plant with capacity of 50 tons per day, carriage factory, three cotton gins, cigar factory, and other minor industries. Manufacturing is something that has been largely neglected in Perry up to date, yet there is not a more promising field for the establishment of varied industries of this character. There is no reason why the common articles manufactured in the central and eastern states cannot be produced here at the same cost, and thus effect a great saving to the consumer in the way of freight rates, which in bulky goods often exceeds the first cost, when brought from distant points. Here can he had the raw material, and a home market. All articles of manufacture which supply the means of every day living or are used in the home, on the farm, or in the shop, will find a ready sale. There should be machinery here to manufacture the cotton crop of the country into the finished article. There is an opening for a starch factory, canning factory, fruit evaporating and drying establishment, woolen mills, tannery and manufacture of gloves and leather goods, tile and pressed brick works, stove factory, foundries, machine shops, vinegar and pickle works, sash and door factory, planing mills, cement factory, marble works, galvanized iron and cornice works. As there is a vast amount of building going on anything manufactured in the way of building material would be in great demand. The people are getting their eyes open to the folly of impoverishing their country by sending money away from home for manufactured articles when the same can just as well be manufactured here, the money kept at home and the employmont given to home labor. The field naturally offers great inducements for manufacturers to locate here and the people are desirous of encouraging that class of industry.
Perry is organized as a city of the first class and has all the departments of modern municipal government. The city is divided into four wards; two aldermen are elected from each ward. There is a Police Judge and police department which keeps the city orderly. A fire department is provided. The greater part of the twenty miles of streets have been graded. The city has a system of water (continued on page 2)