About Chandler, Oklahoma
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 942 ft. (287 m). Population: 3,100 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Chandler is the county seat of Lincoln County, Oklahoma, and it is located in its center.
Main Street - Route 66 in Chandler
Central Oklahoma has been inhabited for over 10,000 years, but its current mix of Native Americans is the outcome of the U.S. government's policies during the 1800s. At that time the federal government decided that the Natives should cede their ancestral territories in the east and move west of the Mississippi River. This process began in the 1820s and relocated many tribes from Alabama to Ohio and the final outcome was that these "newcomers" settled in the Indian Territories (which would later become the state of Oklahoma), in lands that were given to the tribes in exchange for their original homeland.
Sac and Fox Nation
The Sac and Fox are Native Americans whose original lands were located next to Lakes Huron and Michigan. The American government relocated them in the Indian Territories during the 1870s.
Some tribes which were native to Oklahoma were displaced by the forced migrants, like the Osage people, who had to leave Oklahoma for Kansas and return later after buying back their land from the Cherokee.
But the policies changed again in the late 1800s and, prompted by the need to settle the west, the authorities decided to regain control, eliminate the Indian Territories and the autonomy that had been granted to the Indians was revoked. The State of Oklahoma was created in 1907 and the Indians became "ordinary" citizens.
It is in this context that we can understand the early history of Chandler.
The area which would become Chandler was just west of the land of the Creek Tribe and the Indian Territory, however the land had been granted to the Sac and Fox people by the U.S. government.
A "Land Run" (or rush) was literally a race where the potential homesteaders set off from a defined starting point and rode as fast as they could to the land that was being granted and they had to stake their claims on the best possible places on a "first come, first served basis".
As part of the later process to curtail Indian autonomy the government assigned each tribe member a plot of land and bought back from the tribe the surplus land.
This generated a large surface of vacant land (900,000 acres) which was then opened to a "Land Run" by non-Indian settlers. The "run" in Chandler took place in September 1891 on territory opened for settlement which had belonged to the Sac and Fox people.
Prior to the run, Chandler's townsite was chosen deliberately: it was in the center of the future county (named "County A" at that time) and was next to a spring of water (now in a city park). The post office opened on Sept. 21, 1891.
The Name, Chandler
The town was named for Assistant Secretary of the Interior George Chandler, of Kansas, who served under President Harrison (1889-1893).
The name is similar to the word "Candle" and in fact the surname originated from the "Chandler", the person who was the head of the chandlery in medieval households and was responsible for wax, candles, and soap.
A general election was held on November 8, 1892 and the county received its current official name: Lincoln.
Chandler destroyed by the 1897 tornado
The fledgling town was hit badly by a tornado on March 30, 1897 which killed 19 people, wounded hundreds and razed the town. It was rebuilt with sturdier brick and stone buildings of which several are now listed as Historic Places.
The railway (St. Louis and Oklahoma City Railroad - which later became "Frisco" or the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) reached the town in 1898 and allowed it to ship out cotton and bricks from the Chandler Brick Factory. Cotton was an important business in the early 1900s and cottonseed oil was produced in Chandler, so were pecan nuts and fruit.
Vintage Phillips 66 station, Chandler
Chandler's county officials worked hard to have the main road between Oklahoma City and Tulsa (see Ozark Trail below) pass through the town. And were very successful: the network was defined in 1915, and went through Chandler.
The same route would become Oklahoma Highway #7 and in 1926, it became part of the brand new Route 66.
US 66 was aligned along Chandler's Main Street and brought a steady flow of travelers and boosted the local economy. Population has been fairly stable, it was 2,234 when Oklahoma became a state of the U.S.A. in 1907, and now stands at 3,100 residents.
Pecan Capital of the World
In 1949, the Oklahoma legislature declared Chandler as "The Pecan Capital of the World"
Chandler's Main Street was bypassed by the Turner Turnpike which linked Oklahoma City with Tulsa in the late 1950s,
The last old-west gunfight in Oklahoma
The last gunfight took place in Cromwell, Seminole Co., 33 miles southeast of Chandler and it ended up with the death of a veteran lawman and gunfighter of the American Old West: William Matthew "Bill" Tilghman.
Tilghman (1854 - 1924) began his career as a buffalo hunter at the young age of fifteen. In 1878, he was approached by Bat Masterson to serve as a deputy sheriff and he took the job and held it until 1884. He took part in the 1889 "Battle of Cimarron" and later worked as deputy US Marshal, imposing the law and order in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.
He was elected sheriff of Lincoln County in 1900 and was based in Chandler. He retired as a US Marshal in 1910 and was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate. He was also police chief of Oklahoma City.
In 1924, although he lived in Chandler, he took the job as marsha of Cromwell where a corrupt Prohibition Agent, Wiley Lynn shot him to deat in the street.
He is buried in Chandler, where a city park is named after him. In 1960, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Where to Stay
Book your hotel in Chandler
>> Book your Motels and Hotels in Chandler.
Lodging Near Chandler along Route 66
- 72 miles. Motels and Hotels in Tulsa.
- 90 miles. Motels and Hotels in Catoosa.
- 100 miles. Motels and Hotels in Claremore.
- 35 miles. Motels and Hotels in Edmond.
- 48 miles. Motels and Hotels in Oklahoma City.
- 63 miles. Motels and Hotels in Yukon.
>> There are some RV campgrounds close to Chandler.
Weather in Chandler
Chandler's summers have highs that average 94°F or 34.5°C (July) and lows of 70.9°F (21.6°C). The winter (Jan) average highs are 48.6°F (9.4°C)and the average lows are below freezing at 25.7°F (-3.5°C).
The average annual precipitation is 35.2 inches (895 mm) and most rain falls during May, June and September (5.3, 4 and 4.3 in respectively - 135, 100 and 109 mm).
There are about 90 rainy days per year, and during summer, thunderstorms take place with hail and potential tornado formation.
About 9.5 inches of snow (24 cm) fall during winter, as early as November and as late as March.
Chandler was hit by a severe tornado in 1897, which devastated the town. It is located in the infamous "Tornado Alley and it has around 10 Tornado watches every year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Chandler
To the west, are Warwick (7 mi), and, 48 mi. away, Oklahoma City.
Map of Chandler and Route66
Map of Chandler and Route 66 in Oklahoma.
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment; Red line: Interstate highways, where they overlap the old alignment.
Remove or restore State shading
Route 66 itinerary to Chandler
Route 66 in Oklahoma
Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across Oklahoma.
Below we detail the Old Alignment of Route 66 in Chandler.
Chandler, Oklahoma: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Chandler has a main street with many historic buildings: Crane Motor Co., Phillips 66 filling station, the Lincoln motel and the St. Cloud hotel, the famous "Chandler Armory" and a unique barn painted with a "Meramec Caverns" advertisement.
Some Historic Buildings and Landmarks
Phillips 66 Station #1423
Phillips 66 Station, Chandler A. Whittall
701 Manvel Ave., Chandler, OK.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A cottage style Phillips 66 gasoline station built in the early 1930s.
The steep gabed roof, tall windows and chimneys conveyed a home-like look to reassure the travelers and make them feel at home.
Over 300 buildings like this were built by Phillips between 1928 and 1945.
Crane Motor Company Building
Crane Motor Company BuildingA. Whittall
722 Manvel Ave., Chandler, OK.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A vintage automobile repair and sales shop of the early 1930s.
Located on the Main Street of town (which was also Route 66), it was opened by Clyde Crane and L.P. Anderson as a garage to service Fords. Unlike many similar shops, it was not a reconverted blacksmith shop, instead it was specially built for cars.
It had large windows to display the cars it sold. It is a two-story building in brick and sandstone, the original windows and doors have been filled in.
St. Cloud Hotel
St. Cloud Hotel A. Whittall
1216 Manvel Ave., Chandler, OK.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A classic hotel established in 1903.
The hotel was built by John E. Gromley, a grocer and lumberman who bought the lots in 1903 for his hotel. In 1904 he added to more lots to his property, known then as "Gromely's block". He operated a saloon (Silver King Bar) until statehood, when the new constitution banned the sale of alchol in Oklahoma (1907).
Salesmen traveling by train used the hotel and, when Route 66 was created in 1926 it catered to those traveling in cars. It has two-floors built in brick and sandstone. Notice the tin cornice and facade on the second story. There is a ghost sign on its side wall.
More Historic Places and Buildings
Boston Store, 917 Manvel Ave.
Chandler Baseball Camp, 2000 W. Park Rd.
Chandler Bookstore, 713 Manvel Ave.
Chandler High School, 515 Steele Ave.
Clapp-Cunningham Building, 1021 Manvel Ave.
Conklin House, 206 W 8th
First Presbyterian Church of Chandler, 8th & Blaine
Flynt Building, 720 Manvel Ave.
Johnson House, 503 Manvel Ave.
Mascho Building & Public Privy (Murphy Building), 717-719 Manvel Ave.
Midlothian School, 6.5 mi away.
National Guard Statistical Building, 1 Block West of 6th on Park Rd.
The Chandler Armory
Chandler Armory A. Whittall
400 East Route 66, Chandler, OK.
East of town, on Route 66 as it curves into Chandler (Junction of Mickey Clarkson Ave & 1st St.)
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
An armoury built in the mid-1930s and reconverted into a Route 66 Interpretive Center.
It is an armory, that is, a military building (arsenal) used for the storage of arms and ammunition, built in the mid 1930s.
Trivia: the outhouse
Behind Chandler Armory is the only brick outhouse in Oklahoma, thought to have been built between 1903 and 1912 and still containing its original French fixture. Those were the days when the bathroom was far from the main building.
It was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) between 1935 and 1937. The WPA was set up to use local resources and employ local labor during the harsh years of the Great Depression. It employed over 250 workers and was an important boost to Chandler's economy.
Bryan W. Nolan a local architect and National Guard officer designeg it as a solid building with local red-colored sandstone walls, which can withstand tornadoes. It housed offices, locker rooms, ammunition vault, drill hall and a rifle range and was used as quarters for 58 men and five officers of the Oklahoma National Guard which later saw action during World War II.
In 1971 a modern facility replaced the old armory and it was deeded to the town of Chandler. It fell in disrepair but after being listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, it was carefully restored.
It reopened in 2007, and now houses the Chandler Route 66 Interpretive Center with exhibits of vintage route 66.
The drill hall with its wooden floor was rehabiitated as the Ben T. Walkingstick Conference Center and Exhibition Hall.
More information at their website: www.route66interpretivecenter.org.
Other Sights in Town
Classic Lincoln Motel, since 1939, Chandler
Lincoln County Historical Society and Museum of Pioneer History
719 Manvel Ave., Bristow OK.
Exbhibits of the artifacts and photographs of the town and its residents from before the Land Run of 1891.
The Lincoln Motel
740 E 1st St, Chandler
The motel is a typical example of the cottage-style rooms frequent in vintage Motels along Route 66. This Route 66 icon was built in 1939 and now includes a retro-looking neon sign.
See its Google Street View
The Lincoln County Fair is held annually in Chandler during late summer.
Other events are the Chandler Ice Cream Festival, the Bell Cow Run and the Annual Open Rodeo. Most are held at the Tilghman Park, 1015 Joe Long Dr. Chandler. (405) 258-0408
Tours & Itineraries
Nearby Route 66 Towns
"Meramec Caverns" Barn
Meramec Caves advertising on Meramec BarnA. Whittall
Route 66, 3.6 miles west of junction of W15th St. and Manvel, as you leave town.
On the south side of the highway is a barn which is painted with an advertisment promoting the "Meramec Caverns". It is the last one in Oklahoma.
Meramec Caverns were actively promoted by Lester B. Dill, who actually invented the bumper sticker as a means of advertisint them. He erected billboards along Route 66, and also, the painted barns.
Considering that the Meramec barn is over 400 miles away from the Caverns, the advertising was done on a grand scale.
The 4.6 mi (7.4 km) cavern system are located next to Route 66 in near Stanton, Missouri; Read all about it: Meramec Caverns.
It began to be promoted to the public as a tourist attraction in 1935 and became one of the main attractions along the old US Highway 66. Today it is visited by over 150,000 tourists every year.
Route 66 alignment through Oklahoma
Learn more about alignment of Historic Route-66 through Oklahoma.
The Historic "Original" segments of Route 66 near Chandler
The original road that linked Chandler to Sapulpa and Tulsa was the "Ozark Trails" system; it was built in 1915-16:
The local authorities of Lincoln county campaigned during the early 1910s for a branch of the Ozark Trail system to pass through Chandler. In 1916 the Trail was aligned through the town.
In 1924 it became Oklahoma Highway No. 7 linking Oklahoma City to Miami, OK, along an alignment that was later incorporated into US highway 66, when Route 66 was created in 1926.
Route 66 followed the Ozark Trails between 1926 and 1930, while a better road was built. In 1930, Route 66 was upgraded and the former zig-zag course of the "Ozark Trail" network was straightened out and shortened in many places.
Also, the road was paved in Portland concrete all the way from the Creek County line to Chandler. The segment west of Chandler, to Warwick and Wellston had already been paved in asphalt in 1928.
The original Route 66 entered Chandler along East 1 St., then took a sharp left on Cleveland and then a right along 4th. St. to Manvel. It crossed the railway on a bridge built in 1927 but opened to the traffic in 1929. It was replaced in 1956 by the current alignment.
The central district of Chandler had been paved with bricks (Manvel Ave.) in 1926.
The town has two small lakes and a municipal park: Tilghman Park, 1015 Joe Long Dr. More details at the website
Bell Cow Lake has RV campsites and Chandler Lake has primitive campground.
Sally Bourne Ferrell and Donald F. Ferrell Chandler, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org.
Original artwork by A. Whittall based on Google Street View Imagery.
Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.