“Mile Marker 103”
Edmond was originally called “Mile Marker 103”
After the U.S. Congress granted the Southern Kansas Railway Company the right to lay a rail line through the “Unassigned Lands,” railroad officials wasted no time. A small party of 15 surveyors for the Southern Kansas Railway dubbed the location that would later become Edmond, Oklahoma, “Mile Marker 103” in 1886.Southern Kansas Railway Document mapped by surveyors in “Indian Territory” July 17, 1886. The map marks the site of later day Edmond: “Mile Marker 103.” The Township Line as indicated on the right side of the map is the current day 15th Street in Edmond and the dividing line between sections 26 and 35 is what would become 2nd Street. Hoig, page 4
Southern Kansas Railway
In January 1886, a party of fifteen
surveyors with the Southern Kansas Railway under civil engineer J.D. Wirt left Arkansas City to survey a
new route from there to Gainesville, Texas. This new route cut west from
Ponca Agency and dead through the center of the Unassigned Lands known
as Oklahoma. Between mile 102 and 103 out of Arkansas City, the
surveyors noted a “good spring.” This location would eventually become a
Santa Fe station called “Edmond.”
By stipulation and an amended act of
April 16, 1885, the rail construction company had to complete its first
hundred miles by April 20, 1887. The time requirement pressured railroad
officials to push for distance first and quality later. Accordingly,
survey crews sought the shortest and easiest route to lay line and
gained both company and government approval to build a track down the
eastern third of the T-shaped unassigned territory. Meanwhile, on March
3, 1886, the Santa Fe purchased the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe
Railroad Company of Texas to build a track from North Texas to the South
Canadian River at Purcell.
Coming from the north, the Southern
Kansas had hired hundreds of construction workers from Caldwell,
Arkansas City and the surrounding area. The railroad contractors and
crews pushed south through the Cherokee Strip and Cherokee Outlet as
they averaged almost one and a half miles of track laying per day.
Bridging the Cimarron River proved to be their biggest challenge, but
once completed they again made good time and reached what would become
the Territorial Capital of Guthrie on February 8, 1887.
In the heat of the late summer of 1886, two men laying track for the Railroad at “Mile Marker 103” lost their lives and were buried at the track’s side. See our link to the “Right of Way Graves” to learn more.
As the railroad construction
advanced, telegraph offices and side tracks were established every few
miles depending on the lay of the land. Coal and storage bins and water
tanks for the iron horses also were necessary.
“Mile Marker 103” indicated the number
of miles from Arkansas City, Kansas
to what would later be called Edmond, Oklahoma.
BibliographyCrowder, Dr. James L., Historic Edmond: An Illustrated History, Lammert Publications, San Antonio, 2000, pg 6 & 7.
Edmond Historical Society Collections Archives
Farrington, S. Kip Jr., “The Santa Fe’s Big Three,” D. McKay Company, 1972, p. 139. Hoig, Stan, Edmond the Early Years, Edmond Historical Society, Edmond, Oklahoma, 1976, pg 4-6. Moore, John B., Railroad Historian, “Edmond Station and Depot Notes & Documents,” Albuquerque, 2011, page 5.