About Canute, Oklahoma
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 1,896 ft (578 m). Population: 541 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Canute is a town on Route 66 in the nortwestern part of Washita county, Oklahoma.
Historic Washita Motel in Canute, Oklahoma
Spanish explorer Coronado passed through this part of Oklahoma in 1541 seeking for the mythical Eldorado (city of Gold). Later Mexican and Spanish miners sought gold in the rivers and it is said that the Fabled gold-mining town of Cascorillo was located on Turkey Creek.
Oklahoma was the land where the U.S. government relocated Native Americans after forcibly removing them from their original homelands east of the Mississippi or, as with the Cheyenne and the Arapaho, from their territory west of that river.
The natives were granted land in Reservations in the Indian Territories. Canute now stands on land once granted to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.
Cheyenne & Arapaho
The Cheyenne originally lived near the Great Lakes in Minnesota and in the 1700s moved to the Great Plains in the 1700s. The Arapaho lived in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Canada. Both tribes met in the plains and formed an alliance with a territory that extended from Texas to Montana.
Successive treaties with the US led them to be relocated to what is now Oklahoma.
Cheyenne Arapaho Opening
In the 1880s, the US government changed its policy and decided to assimilate the natives. It gave each tribe member 160 acres of land and bought back the surplus Reservation land. It set this land apart for settlement by Europeans and non-native Americans.
3.5 million acres of land were opened for settlement by the U.S. government on April 19, 1892. The settlers rushed to the Oklahoma Territory for their homestead in the former Arapaho-Cheyenne Reservation.
By the end of the "opening", almost 80% of the land remained unclaimed, and by 1892 only 7,600 people had settled there.
The first settlers in the Canute area were homesteaders that arrived during the Cheyenne and Arapaho "opening" of 1892. The first community in the area was located about four miles northwest of the current townsite. It was named Keen, after the owner of the local general store (Robert Keene). He later moved his business to Oak, which was one mile north of modern Canute.
In 1898, the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church was established and dedicated in 1901. It was located 3 miles to the southeast of what is now Canute.
The Name: Canute
The town was named after "Cnut the Great" (c. 985 - 1035), King of England (1016 - 1035), of Denmark, Norway and part of Sweden. He is commonly known as Canute. He was a Viking, and his succession led in 1066 to the conquest of anglo Saxon Britain by the Normans.
Keene moved again, this time to the site of Canute in 1899 and that same year a post office was created.
In 1902, when the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad -which later became the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway extended its tracks westwards towards Texas, the Great Southwest Townsite Company surveyed the land and held a lottery for town lots; Canute had been founded.
Trivia. Oldest Bank
The Canute Bank is the oldest state chartered bank still in operation. It was chartered in 1902 as the First State Bank of Canute.
The town grew to have a bank, newspapers, hotels, cotton gins and many stores. The population reached 366 in 1930.
The first oil well in Western Oklahoma was drilled in Canute in 1917 and it was the deepest well in the world at the time.
Route 66 was aligned through the town in 1926, in those days it followed Oklahoma State Highway No. 3. The road was later paved and soon travelers were stopping at the local motels and service stations bringing prosperity to this small rural town.
Where to Stay
Book your hotel near Canute
There are several hotels in nearby towns along Route 66
Lodging Near Canute along Route 66
- 6 miles. Motels and Hotels in Elk City.
- 24 miles. Motels and Hotels in Sayre.
- 63 miles. Hotels and Motels in Shamrock, TX
- 156 miles. Hotels and Motels in Amarillo, TX
- 21 miles. Motels and Hotels in Clinton.
- 37 miles. Motels and Hotels in Weatherford.
- 81 miles. Motels and Hotels in El Reno.
- 95 miles. Motels and Hotels in Yukon.
- 110 miles. Motels and Hotels in Oklahoma City.
>> There are RV campgrounds close to Canute.
Weather in Canute
Average Summer (Jul) temperature: low 68.9°F (20.5°C); high 94.8°F (34.9°C) . Average Winter (Jan) temperature: low 23.6°F (-4.7°C) and high 48.9°F (9.4°C).
As you head west in Oklahoma rainfall decreases: the average yearly rainfall is 26.9 inches (683 mm), with most rain falling during May, June and Sept. (4.6, 3.9 and 3.3 inches - 117, 99 and 84 mm respectively). Least rainy month is January (0.7 in. - 18 mm).
Snow falls in this region at any time between September and May (the first snowfall takes place usually, during the first week of December). There is more snow here than in the eastern parts of the state: more than 10 inches (25 cm).
An ice storm in 2002 cut power lines causing a 5 day power outage.
Canute is located in the "Tornado Alley and experiences around 11 Tornado watches every year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Canute
Map of Canute and Route66
Map of Canute and Route 66 in Oklahoma.
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment; Red line: Interstate highways, where they overlap the old alignment.
The Black: line shows the 1926-1932 alignment from Bridgeport through Geary and Calumet.
See Route 66's alignment in Texas
Remove or restore State shading
Route 66 itinerary to Canute
Route 66 in Oklahoma
Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across Oklahoma.
Below we give information on Route 66's 1926 alignment near Canute.
Canute, Oklahoma: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Canute, a Vintage Route 66 Town, its Attractions
Vintage Route 66 motels and service stations
Canute has the Historic Canute Service Station, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the vintage Kupka's Service Station. Must see sights are the 1918 Canute Jail, the Cemetery with its grotto and life-size crucifiction, the iconic Cotton Boll Motel and the Washita Motel. Stop at the historic Stone Markers too.
Historic sites in Canute
Canute Service Station
Main St. and Route 66, Canute, OK. (NW corner of W Wade and Choctaw Ave.)
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A vintage 1936-39 service station with typical Pueblo Deco Design located on the southwest corner of Main Street and Highway 66 in downtown Canute.
Pueblo Deco Style
A style inspired in the Old West and Mexican and Native American motifs: white stucco, and southwestern ornamental motifs (red tiles in roofs) in combination with the geometric streamline of Art Deco and Moderne styles.
The Canute Service Station was built along the lines of a local Pueblo Deco style (popular along Route 66 in the Southwestern states). It is a one-story building with stuccoed walls. The concrete block building has gabled roof concealed behind a stuccoed belt that covers the front of the building. The canopy and main building's corners have castellations with triangular pediments decorated with red tiles and diamond shaped inserts.
The service station was built in two stages (1936 and 1939). The 1936 part on the west, was initially a dance hall but local businessman Clarence Kelly added the gas station in 1939.
Canute Service Station, Historic Site.
It fixed punctured tires, repaired engines and offered other services to motorists.
Today it is a reminder of the inspiring architecture of the old days along Route 66.
See its Map and Street View
Kupka's Service Station
105 Old US Highway 66, Canute, Oklahoma.
A vintage gas station in Canute, Oklahoma. Route 66
See its Map and Street View
Kupkas Service Station
This gas station is on the north side of US 66 across the road from the Canute Service Station mentioned above. It used to sell Sinclair gasoline and later Uniroyal. The locals know it as "Kupka's Service Station". Now it is abandoned.
It has a canopy over the service bay which blends into the roof of the office and garages. The style is the 1930s Art Moderne design, which streamlined buildings: notice the curved canopy edges and the horizontal metal facing that contours the base of the roof and canpy.
It is difficult to imagine the cars lining up to fill their tanks along a bustling Route 66 in the bygone days before the Interstate was built.
More Iconic Route 66 Landmarks in Canute
On an alley, between Main and 4th Streets, north of Scheidel Ave.
The building, is not visible from Route 66 but is located behind the Canute Service Station. It is a solid Jailhouse built in 1918. With bars on the windows.
See its Map and Street View
Two Vintage Motels of Route 66
Cotton Boll Motel
It still stands with its faded sign on the north side of Route 66 between 6th and 7th streets. See its Map and Street View
Another iconic Route 66 located on the southeastern corner of 1st St. and Route 66 on the western side of town. See its Map and Street View
Canute's Stone Markers
0.5 miles east of Main St. along Old Route 66. Next to the Cemetery (See Map and Street View).
There are markers for: St. Francis Church, David Lee Walters, History of Canute, the Canute Centennial, and The Great Western Trail.
St. Francis Church
It was the first outpost of Catholicism in Western Oklahoma. Founded by Father Steber in 1898 to the southeast of modern Canute.
One marker remembers David Lee Walters. He was Oklahoma's 24th Governor (1990-94), and was born in Canute in 1951.
Another marker commemorates the town of Canute and its centennial, giving a brief description of its history.
The Great Western Cattle Trail marker. The trail was used between 1876 and 1895 when settlement impeded its use, to move longhorn cattle from Texas to Dodge City for shipment to the eastern US markets.
Cross Route 66 and head into the Cemetery just north of the markers:
You can drive (with due respect for those who rest there) to the Grotto and Crucifiction.
The Grotto and the Bronze Cucifiction group were built in 1928 by the parishioners of the local Holy Family Church of Canute. It has a life-size depiction of Christ on the cross and the Virgin Mary with Mary Magdalen.
The Grotto is a monument to the settlers of Western Oklahoma and the stone used on the tomb was brought from Red River. The red granite is from Granite, Oklahoma, 40 miles away.
See Map and Street View.
First State Park
Adjacent to the Cemetery is the First State Park in Oklahoma built on Route 66 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1936. WPA's goals were to employ local labor, which was idle due to the Great Depression.
Today it is a City Park.
Tours & Itineraries
Nearby Route 66 Towns
The Old alignment of Route 66 near Canute
After Lake Clinton (west of Exit 50), the old 1926 dirt road and the later 1931-1957 alignments meet and head westwards towards Canute. The 2-lane Route 66 used between 1926 and 1957 became the westbound lanes of the upgraded 4-lane Route 66 from 1957 to 1960. At the point where I-40 now curves around Canute, the Historic 1926-31 road entered town along the modern westbound lanes. The eastbound lanes south of the Stone Markers are part of the later 1957-1970 Route 66.
The road went through Canute between 1926 and 1970, and to the west, it meets modern I-40, whose north service road is the historic Route 66. I-40 began to carry traffic in 1970.
Route 66 was paved in this area in Portland concrete in 1931. At Exit 41, just east of Elk City, it held a westerly course into Erick passing through the town from 1926 to 1970, when I-40 bypassed it. Read about Route 66 in Elk City.
Upgraded to a 4 lane road, it laid down the path followed later by I-40.
Parks and Outdoors
To the northwest of Canute is the Black Kettle National Grassland.
Wayne Boothe, Canute. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org
Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.