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Foss

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Nearly a Ghost Town

Foss, the town is almost a Ghost Town, it has the remains of the vintage Kobel's Place Service Station, and a original old West steel "Jail Cell" (a mobile cage).

Foss OK

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About Foss, Oklahoma

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 1,640 ft (500 m). Population: 151 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Foss is a town in Washita county which has gradually lost population and today is almost a ghost town.

Old Kolbers Place Service Station in Foss, Oklahoma

Old Vintage Service Station in Foss Oklahoma
Kolber's Place, Foss by Larry Myhre

The area was settled during the 1892 Cheyenne and Arapaho Opening. In the late 1890s, some settlers who lived near the Wilson post office moved 4 miles north to the valley of Turkey Creek. They requested a post office by the name of Graham, but the Post Office Department retorted that Graham had been taken so it named it Maharg, an anagram of Graham; it opened in 1900 and William Radford was the first postmaster.

The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway, (later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway), built tracks through the area in 1902, and that same year a flash flood destroyed the village, prompting residents to move closer to the tracks on higher ground. A post office named Foss was established at the new site.

The name: Foss

The town was named after J. M. Foss a postmaster at the town of Cordell 15 miles to the southwest of Foss.

The town grew quickly serving the local rural community. Cotton gins processed the local produce which was shipped out by train.

Population peaked at 525 in 1910 stood steady for some years but by the early 1920s Elk City to the west and Clinton to the east drew investment and trade. Foss began to decline. Even though Route 66 passed through the town in 1926 the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression in the 1930s hit the local economy.

Route 66 was finally moved south of town in 1931, bypassing it.

An Air Force base was set up in Burns Flat in the 1950s, but it closed later. In 1961, six miles north of Foss in Custer County, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation finished the Foss Dam, which created a lake for water supply, flood control and recreation.

Where to Stay

Book your hotel near Foss

There are several hotels in nearby towns along Route 66

>> Book your Hotels in nearby Clinton (14 miles east).
or in Elk City (13 mi. west).

Lodging Near Foss along Route 66

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>> There are RV campgrounds close to Foss

Weather in Foss

Temperature in Foss: Winter average low is (Jan) 25°F (-4°C) and the average high is 50°F (10°C). The summer (Jul) average low is 69°F (21°C) and the average high is 95°F (35°C).

Rainfall is about 26.5 in. (673 mm) per year and the rainiest months are May (5.1 inches - 130 mm) and June (3.5 mm - 89 mm).

There are about 52 Rainy days per year and the relative humidity is approximately 60%.

About 10 inches (25.4 cm) of snow fall every year between October and March, most of it during Jan. and Feb. (more than 2 in. - 5 cm each month).

Tornado risk

Foss is located in "Tornado Alley" and has about 11 Tornado watches every year.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Route 66 and Foss Oklahoma
Location of Foss, Route 66

Getting to Foss

Heading east from Foss down Route 66 are the towns of: Clinton and Weatherford. To the west, is Canute and Elk City and Sayre.

Map of Foss and Route66

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.

  Click to See the Eastern Oklahoma alignment

See Route 66's alignment in Texas

Remove or restore State shading
 

Google Maps. Terms. Icons.

Route 66 itinerary to Foss

Route 66 logo

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 Foss.

Foss, Oklahoma: Attractions & Sights

Things to Do and See

Foss, almost a Ghost Town, its Attractions

Almost a Ghost town...

Nowadays Foss is a shadow of its former glory. Ruins of a vintage service station (Kobel's gas station) and the town's jail survive in a town that is almost a ghost town, faded away in time.

Historic sites in Foss

Kobel's Place - Gas Station

A Landmark on Route 66: Kolbers Place

SW corner of OK-44 and OK-66, Foss

Today you can still see the ruins of the building which at one time was the proud Kobel's Place Gas Station. It sits on the intersection of former Route 66 and Broadway, roughly half a mile south of Foss.

Although it is close to the Interstate I-40 (Exit 53) is just down the road, it never recovered from the loss of traffic that in the early 1970s opted for the faster and safer I-40.

Despite the cracking walls, peeling paint and overgrown trees you can still read "Kobel's Place" on the wall that faces Route 66.

Kobel's Place, Foss, Oklahoma

Kobel's Place Service Station, Foss
Kobel's Service Station, Foss, OK.
Static Image by Google Street View
Click on image for Interactive Google Street View

Foss Jail

Foss has a jail cell which is quite rare, a surviving "Cage Cell" made of steel bars which was quite common in the old west. In those bygone days there were many outlaws and it took time and money to build a decent jailhouse so the solution was to buy these ready made cages and set them up where they were needed.

Foss' cell is a box shaped cage with steel bars, made by a company that still exists, Pauly Jail Building Company, from St. Louis Missouri. It started out in 1856 building these mobile detention facilities. P. J. Pauly was a steamboat blacksmith on the Mississippi River and they had the know-how to design and build portable steel cages. Today they make equiipment for the detention facilities across the U.S.A.

The cage is mobile indeed, it has been located next to the railway tracks, by the sign that welcomes you to as you enter town from the south on Adams St. and Broadway, and then at Foss Park, next to the post office on 2nd St. and Broadway.

Tours & Itineraries

Nearby Route 66 Towns

Visit, to the east, the nearby towns of Clinton, Weatherford, Hydro. To the west is Elk City, Canute and Sayre

The Old alignment of Route 66 near Foss

We have detailed the road in Clinton (Route 66 in Clinton, and how it went west out of that town as a 4-lane highway between 1956 and 1958 following what then was US 66 and was later incorporated into the roadbed of what is now I-40 (in the map above it is shown with a red line).

The older alignment took a different course out of Clinton:

West along 1926 - 56 Route 66

The road continued along Neptune south of modern I-40 and then headed west after a curve along W. Commerce Rd. This segment was paved in concrete in 1931. It met modern I-40's alignment at Exit 62, and headed west as current South Frontage road of I-40 until Exit 57 next to Foss.

Approaching Foss from the East

Nowadays you must cross to the north side of I-40 at Exit 61 or you can do so at Exit 57. From this exit and through Foss there are several alignments:

1926-1931

See map 1926 Route 66 in Foss).

This road was not paved, it was the old Postal Road. It headed straight west along (a now missing section) of E1060 Rd. (you can reach the existing segment via North frontage Road of I-40 and then take a right along N 2160 Rd. to E1060 Rd, where you should turn left. Keep west until reaching OK-44 and then head south towards Foss, go through the town along Broadway and keep straight until reaching modern OK-66, cross it, cross I-40 and head south until SW 1095 (turn right), then left on N2130 Rd. then turn right on E 1100 Rd. and follow it until reaching I-40. The old road kept west but now I-40 cuts its path, and on the north side of the Interstate, keeps on west as its North Service Road, past Lake Clinton.

It is here that its path joins the one later followed by the 1931-1956 alignment, which we detail below.

1931-1958

The road was paved in Portland concrete and bypassed Foss completely. From modern Exit 57, it kept along the alignment later followed by the 1958 upgrade to 4-lanes and later by I-40. It was the current north frontage Road until 0.7 mi. before OK-44, where it shifted right and took the alignment now followed by OK-66 and headed west as such all the way to modern Exit 55 where Lake Clinton interrupts the old road. At this point it merged with the 1926-1931 aligment.

Map with the 1931-58 alignment

After 1958

Upgraded to a 4 lane road, it laid down the path followed later by I-40.

Parks and Outdoors

Foss State Park

10252 Hwy 44, Foss.

From I-40 take Exit 53, head north along OK-44 for 7 miles and then head west for 0.25 mi. along OK-73.

More information visit the Park's website

The Park is located on Foss lake and is the spot for hiking, riding, fishing, swimming and boating. There are RV campsites some of them full-hookups.

It includes picnic areas, grills and restrooms.

To the north is the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Washita National Wildlife Refuge

The Refuge HQ is located close to OK-33 20 miles north of Foss, (see the Map, location and directions).

No fee charged. Hike the trails and watch the wildlife in the rolling hills and creeks.

Visit the Refuge's website

Other Parks

To the northwest of Foss is the Black Kettle National Grassland.

Sources

Wayne Boothe, Foss. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org

Image by Larry Myhre under its BY-NC-SA-2.0 License.

Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.

Image by Vítězslav Válka adapted under its CC BY-SA 3.0 CZ License

Map Icons by Nicolas Mollet under its CC BY SA 3.0 License