The Cheyenne-Arapaho Indian Reservation was the 4th Indian land opening April 19, 1892. President Grover Cleveland was president at the time. Watonga, "C" (Blaine) County, Oklahoma Territory was designated the county seat of Blaine County. Arapaho Chief, Wa-Ah (means black) Dan-Ga-Ah (means coyote). Watonga was a rowdy frontier town in the early days and outlaws roamed the area, using the rugged gypsum canyons of Roman Nose Park as their hideouts. Rich in picturesque history, Watonga has retained its beautiful turn-of-the-century architecture. Accepted into the Oklahoma Main Street Program in 1997, Watonga is restoring many of the downtown buildings to their original beauty. Plans are under way to build a downtown Centennial Park on the corner of Main and Leach.
T. B. Ferguson Home T.B. Ferguson was born in 1857 near Des Moines, Iowa. Although he was trained to be a teacher and a Methodist minister, Ferguson began writing occasional articles for a local newspaper and became interested in journalism. After the 1892 land run, Ferguson brought his family to Watonga, Oklahoma where he established the Watonga Republican.
He remained the publisher of this newspaper until his death in 1921. Ferguson was appointed territorial governor in 1901 by President Theodore Roosevelt. During his administration, deficit spending was eliminated and he strongly supported increasing funds for education and prison reform. He organized the Board of Agriculture and strongly promoted Oklahoma's participation in the St. Louis World's Fair in 1903.
Ferguson pressed for legislation setting qualifications for persons teaching school in Oklahoma. He pressed for the "herd law," which required land to be fenced to prevent herds of cattle from damaging or destroying settlers' crops. Governor Ferguson was also responsible for a law allowing osteopaths to practice in Oklahoma and upgrading Oklahoma's mental institutions.
Perhaps his greatest contribution was his unwavering devotion to the cause of immediate statehood for Oklahoma Territory. Ferguson was governor from November 1901, until January 1906, longer than any other territorial governor. After Governor Ferguson's death in 1921, Mrs. Ferguson managed the newspaper until 1930. In 1927 the famous novelist Edna Ferber stayed in the Ferguson home where she found much of the material for her novel Cimarron.
The second Friday and Saturday in October, Watonga is host to thousands of people for the Watonga Cheese Festival. This huge festival consists of crafts, arts, antiques, flea market, cheese tasting line, cheese food contest, parade on Saturday, living history, quilt show, amusements, rat race, mouse walk, good food and great entertainment.
The Blaine County Courthouse
The Blaine County Courthouse was completed in 1906 at a cost of $42,137. Its special features include a vaulted dome, arched windows and ornamental brick work. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
Blaine County Government Website
The Ferguson Chapel Presbyterian Church located at 2nd and Weigle Ave. was established in 1901. The cost to build the church was $1,387.99. Wages paid to workers on the church were $2.00 per day. The church was dedicated Sunday, June 14, 1903. The church was active until 1972. In December 1992, a group of concerned citizens led by Dr. Fred Lucas met to discuss restoration of the church. They received contributions from individuals in all areas of the United States.
Most of the contributions came from persons whose families had ties with the church and from local individuals interested in restoring the church. The church has been used for weddings and meetings. Every year at Christmas time a community-sing is held to raise funds. Presently the group is working on an old-fashioned garden on the north side of the chapel. Donations continue to be needed and appreciated. The church is open for tours by appointment.
End O'Main Restaurant and Catering is another of Watonga's homegrown businesses. Located at the east end of the downtown Main Street, visitors will find one of the largest catering businesses in Oklahoma. A fleet of approximately 15 vans is used to cater around Oklahoma and into adjoining states. Their largest banquet served was 8,000 people. In the spring, they usually can count on 25 to 30 banquets per weekend. They provide employment for a range from 50 to 150 people. Watonga is fortunate to have two quality motels that combined offer 59 rooms. They are located on Hwy 33 and Hwy 270. There are a total of over 20 eating establishments in town.
The famed Noble House Restaurant is once again open for business every day except Monday. This turn of the century hotel was restored and converted to a restaurant in 1993. Watonga Cheese Soup and bread pudding are specialties of the restaurant. Several other thriving businesses are also located in the Main Street area. They offer wearing apparel, carpet, hardware, crafts, Dream-catcher candles that are made in Watonga, antiques, (furniture refinishing and restoration) collectibles, art work, floral and decorating centers, fine dining, etc. We hope you will take time to browse through our many fine businesses. The Noble House was built in 1912 as a boarding house and doubled in size in 1937 when it became a hotel. Fred R. and Joyce Lucas acquired the building in 2002. A fine restaurant is downstairs and 5 1/2 rooms were completed in May of 2004.
Watonga is the boyhood home of Clarence Nash, the voice of Walt Disney's cartoon character Donald Duck. A street in Watonga has been named I his honor. His former home is located on N. Noble Street.
Roman Nose Resort Park is located six miles north of Watonga. At 540 acres, the Park is the smallest in Oklahoma with a lodge. But with its unusual geological formations, rich Indian history, and variety of recreational attractions, Roman Nose is a favorite destination for people enjoying a quiet getaway vacation. Chief Henry Roman Nose brought his tribe of Cheyenne Indians to winter in the canyons of the Park since it provided shelter, fresh water and abundant game. The Park now offers fishing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, paddle boats, golf, tennis, camp and rv sites and restaurants for dining. Roman Nose Resort's close proximity to Enid and Oklahoma City make it a popular retreat for city dwellers. An additional nine-hole golf course has just been completed. This course is through rugged canyons and atop mesas and provides golf lovers with a challenge they won't soon forget.
Watonga's population is now approximately 4,000 people and growing. We have a 35-bed hospital with 4 doctors, plus medical specialists that come weekly from Oklahoma City to provide specialized care for residents. Watonga has 5 parks, 8 tennis courts, 3 private swimming pools, a dozen restaurants, 1 excellent public library, a community theatre group, bowling alley, 9 hole golf course, 18 hole course at Roman Nose Resort, a golf driving range and bingo facility.
Watonga schools average between 950 and 1000 students. The high school annually graduates around 60 students with an average ACT score of 21. Approximately 68% of the graduating students attend universities. Southwestern Oklahoma State University at Weatherford is about 40 miles from Watonga. Chisholm Trail Vo-Tech is located 12 miles east of Watonga. The Vo-Tech is used extensively by the high school and businesses in Watonga for specialized training.
There are two banks in Watonga with total assets of $80,668,000. Both banks offer a wide variety of services for their customers. The cost of living in Watonga is relatively low with modest light, water and garbage rates, plus the housing costs are nominal and property rates are low.
Many retired people find it advantageous to live in this area, since we are approximately one hour's drive from either Oklahoma City of Enid. People can enjoy a small town atmosphere, yet have a metro area close by for major events. Watonga is an Oklahoma Certified City and our downtown is a part of the prestigious Oklahoma Main Street Program. Restoration of our historical buildings in the downtown area is an ongoing project. Plans are underway for a downtown park with restroom facilities and, perhaps, a museum.
We invite you to come visit us anytime.