About Luther, Oklahoma
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 915 ft. (279 m). Population: 612 (2000).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Luther is just 28 miles east of Oklahoma City, on the eastern edge of Oklahoma County; it is a part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area.
Engel's Dry Store, Luther
This area has been inhabited for at least 11,000 years. The Booher Site, listed in the National Register of Historic Places holds the remains of a Paleo-Indian camp site dating back 7,000 to 11,000 years ago.
The Native Americans that live here now are the outcome of the U.S. government's resettlement policy that began in around 1820 and relocated the Indians on the eastern side of the Mississippi River, in land located to the west of it.
Luther is on the land that was initially ceded to the Kickapoo group as a Reservation, but later re-purchased by the US government and "opened" to settlement through "Land Runs".
The Kickapoo originally lived in Illinois and were moved to Texas from where they were expelled. They relocated in the Indian Territory (which would later become Oklahoma). They were given their land and formed a reservation in 1883. However the Government then split the tribal land among the individual members to promote "assimilation" and purchased the surplus to allow settlement by people of European origin. The tribal government was disovled in 1898. But was reorganized in 1936. Today there are over 2,700 enrolled tribal members.
A "Land Rush" or "Land Run" was a system by which those interested in staking a claim for a plot of land set off from a starting point and rode as fast as they could towards the land being "opended" to settlement. Once they reached it, they claimed their homestead on a "first come, first served basis". There were several "runs" in the early 1890s in Oklahoma.
The original town was planned under the name of Garnettville, in 1892. But only in 1898 did it begin to take shape: Luther F. Aldrich purchased the land from John A. Blizzard because the St. Louis and Oklahoma City Railroad, which later became the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway ("Frisco") would pass through it.
The town was platted in April 1898 and the post office opened in July 1898. Aldrich's partner, a wealthy Oklahoma City railroad businessman named Charles G. Jones suggested the name "Luther", after both his son "Luther" Jones and his partner.
A second railroad passed next to the town in 1903 and it was incorporated in 1905. By 1907, when Oklahoma became a state of the US, it had 423 residents.
Farming and cotton production were the main activity 8it had five cotton gins by 1907 and soon avter the Historic Engel's Dry Goods Store opened (1910).
The Booker T. Washington High School for African Americans opened in Luther in 1916 and closed after the end of segregation in 1957.
One of Booker T. Washington High School for African Americans' graduates, Elizabeth Hilton-Threatt, was one of the first five African Americans to enroll at the University of Central Oklahoma. Her family owned the Threatt Filling Station
The Ozark Trail linked it to Tulsa and Oklahoma city and in 1926 it became part of Route 66 was aligned north of the town. It brought some prosperity during the years of the Great Depression which hit farmers badly. After World War II, the railways stopped serving Luther and, in 1953 the Turner Turnpike bypassed the town and drew away travelers to the safer and quicker Interstate highway.
Most of the local residents commute to work in neighboring towns.
Where to Stay
Book your hotel in nearby Chandler or Edmond
Lodging Near Luther along Route 66
- 20 miles. Motels and Hotels in Chandler.
- 88 miles. Motels and Hotels in Tulsa.
- 106 miles. Motels and Hotels in Catoosa.
- 116 miles. Motels and Hotels in Claremore.
- 17 miles. Motels and Hotels in Edmond.
- 28 miles. Motels and Hotels in Oklahoma City.
- 43 miles. Motels and Hotels in Yukon.
>> There are some RV campgrounds close to Luther.
Weather in Luther
During Summer, the temperature reaches average highs of 94°F - 34.5°C (July) and average lows of 71°F (21.5°C). The temperature during winter has highs (Jan) that average 48.5°F (9.2°C) and below-freezing average lows: 25.6°F (-3.5°C).
Around 36 inches (914 mm) of rain fall every year, and the rainiest months are May, June and September with 5.5, 4 and 4.3 inches each (135, 100 and 109 mm).
There are approximately 89 wet days every year with thunderstorms more frequent during summer.
Snow falls between November to March: 9.6 inches of snow (24 cm) per year.
Luther is located in the "Tornado Alley and experiences approximately 10 Tornado watches annually
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Luther
Map of Luther and Route66
Map of Luther 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 Luther
Route 66 in Oklahoma
Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across Oklahoma.
Below we detail the interesting remains of Route 66's 1926 alignment near Luther.
Luther, Oklahoma: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Tres Suenos Winery
19691 E Charter Oak Rd, Luther
Head North along N. Luther Rd. for 6 miles and take a right. Total distance from town: 7 miles.
Luther is a typical rural community located on Route 66. Visit its historical Threatt Filling Station, the "old" Conoco ruins and its Engels Store (a historic site).
Engels' Dry Goods Store
114 S Main, Luther, OK.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
A typical American store of the early 1900s on the town's Main Street.
Michael C. Engels opened the dry goods store in Luther in 1915, he moved across the road to its current location in 1921. Besides dry goods he also sold food and drink. Engels was a pioneer who came to the Indian Territories in 1889.
The one-story building is built in brick and has a recessed central entry. The windows appear to be multipaned due to a steel grid located behind the glass panes. The building was purchased by the town and will be renovated.
See its location and Google Street View
Tours & Itineraries
Nearby Route 66 Towns
Route 66 alignment through Oklahoma
Learn more about alignment of Historic Route-66 through Oklahoma.
Ruins of Conoco Service Station
4.6 miles west of Jct. E Ash Rd. and Route 66, on the north side of the road.
Head west along Route 66 from Luther and you will see the remains of a service station that once catered to travelers driving down Route 66.
Ruins of Luther's Conoco Service Station
The limestone blocks of a roofless shell correspond to a Conoco filling station built sometime between 1915 and 1920. There is a sign telling its story, which involves counterfeiting and gangsters.
Apparently the owner printed fake $10 bills in the back of the shop. Eventually he was caught and jailed. The station closed and fell into ruin. Later in the 1940s a body was found there, a murder victim, who was never identified.
Threatt Filling Station
Route 66 and North Pottawatomi Rd., Luther, OK.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Vintage sandsone house-style service station built in the early 1900s on Route 66.
Leave town and head eat, the building is located on the southwestern corner of OK-66 and North Pottawatomi Rd., 3 mi. east of Luther. Right next to the road that marks the Oklahoma County line.
The building dates back to the period between 1915 and 1920 and was built using local sandstone. As a service station it is designed in the "house style", with the appearance of a bungalow with a four gabled shingle roof. It remains unchanged (except for a 1961 shed added to the rear) and is virtually indentical to the way it was when Allen Threatt built it.
A grocery was added in 1935 and the café in 1937 named "The Junior".
Historic Threatt Filling Station near Luther
The pumps are gone and the place is closed.
The Threatts were African Americans who had sought a new start as homesteaders in Luther, where they ran a farm and a small sandstone quarry. They later built and operated the Filling Station.
Initially it was located on the Ozark Trail that linked Oklahoma City with Tulsa. Later the Trail became State Highway No. 7 and in 1926 it was incorporated into the new U.S. Highway system as US Highway 66. This brought plenty of traffic and customers to Threatt's station. It was well located and became popular.
Nowadays it is hard to imagine that African American travelers were not welcome in many places. Route 66 was one of them. But Threatt ran a gas station that catered to them, it was one of the few places where they were welcome.
The Old alignment of Route 66 near Luther
For those keen on seeking out the old roadbed of Route 66, these are some tips for Luther:
West of Luther
Head along OK-66 and 0,9 mi west of the junction of N. Ash and Route 66, on the north side of the road, you can access a curved segment that heads back, eastwards and ends just before reaching Deep Fork River. The original alignment continued towards the southeast and met the current Route 66 just west of Luther Road.
This is the 1926 roadbed which later paved in Portland concrete in 1930, from the Oklahoma Co. line to Triple X Rd. The current OK-66 in this section is the 1979 alignment.
See it on the Map.
Thomas L. Hedglen, Luther. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org
Town website www.townoflutherok.com
Threatt Filling Station, National Park Service
Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.