About Yukon, Oklahoma
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 1,289 ft (393 m) . Population: 22,709 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Yukon is a city located in Canadian County and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area. Most residents work in Oklahoma City.
Mulvey Mercantile, a Historic Site on Main Street (Route 66), Yukon.
Oklahoma has been inhabited for at least 11,000 years. In nearby Luther there is a Paleo-Indian camp site dating back from 7,000 to 11,000 years ago.
The last great battle between the Cheyenne, Arapaho and the United States Army took place in Canadian County.
The Native Americans that lived here when the town was established were the result of the U.S. government's resettlement policy that began in around 1820 and relocated the Indians to "uninhabited" land west of the Mississippi River.
Starting in 1859, The Cheyenne, Arapaho, Caddo and Wichita tribes were assigned the territory where Yukon is now located.
But later the government decided to assimilate the natives and assigned individual tribe members a plot of 160 acres each and purchased the surplus land of each Reservation. This land was reserved for settlement by white Europeans & Americans.
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.
As a consequence, the federal government created County Four in the new Oklahoma Territory, which was renamed after the 1889 "land run" as "Canadian County", after Canadian River which runs through it.
A second land run took pace in 1892, expanding its territory.
The first town to be platted was Frisco, located 3 miles northwest of present day Yukon. There was a post office there from 1889 to 1903, it took its name form the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway ("Frisco") which was being built westwards from Guthrie towards the Pacific Ocean. But the tracks never reached Frisco (they went through Richland) which was abandoned in 1891 in favor of Yukon; it became a Ghost Town.
The name: Yukon
The town took its name from the post office, which in turn was named after Yukon River in Canada and Alaska, it is a Native American name "yu-kan-ah" meaning "Big River".
It is claimed that the town was named after the River due to the Canadian Klondike Gold Rush, but that event took place after 1896, so the story is probably not true.
In 1891 A. N. Spencer a businessman and Texas cattleman reached an agreement with another railroad, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway and with two homesteaders (Minnie Taylor and Luther S. Morrison) to have the railroad pass through the townsite on Taylor and Morrison's property. The railway built the tracks and a station in 1891 and the residents of Frisco (pop. 1,000) moved to Yukon.
Around 1898 many Bohemians began arriving in Yukon, a flow which grew after the First World War (1918) when Bohemia was integrated into the new country of Czechoslovakia.
The Czech Capital of Oklahoma
The inflow of Bohemians into Yukon during the early 1900s, named "Czechs", led the town to be proclaimed "the Czech Capital of Oklahoma".
Visit the historic Czech Hall and enjoy the Annual Czech Day, held since 1966 in October.
Yukon began as a farming community and the main industry was the Yukon Mill and Grain Company, whose silos can be seen on Main Street.
The town incorporated in 1901 and soon had water works, sewerage and electricity (1910). A Interurban rail linked it to El Reno and Oklahoma City (1911 to 1940).
Route 66 was aligned through Yukon in 1926, and was paved that same year. It was Yukon's main throughfare and brought prosperity to its Business District. When I-40 was built further south, it drew diners, gasoline stations and business to its exit ramps.
Trivia: Grady the Cow
In 1949 national media took note of Grady, the cow who got stuck inside a storage silo on the Mach farm in Yukon.
The story went viral and after 4 days Grady got out of her tight situation. She became famous and as a local celebrity lived to the old age of 18.
Yukon is now a town whose residents commute to work at Oklahoma City, whose downtown is only 16 miles away.
Where to Stay
Book your hotel in Yukon
>> Book your Hotels in Yukon
Lodging Near Yukon along Route 66
- 15 miles. Motels and Hotels in Oklahoma City.
- 26 miles. Motels and Hotels in Edmond.
- 63 miles. Motels and Hotels in Chandler.
- 130 miles. Motels and Hotels in Tulsa.
- 14 miles. Motels and Hotels in El Reno.
- 58 miles. Motels and Hotels in Weatherford.
- 74 miles. Motels and Hotels in Clinton.
- 101 miles. Motels and Hotels in Elk City.
- 119 miles. Motels and Hotels in Sayre.
>> There are several RV campgrounds close to Yukon.
Weather in Yukon
Summers in the central area of Oklahoma are hot and humid. Fortunately winters are quite mild (but severe snowstorms can happen). During fall and spring there are frequent variations. During summer the prevailing winds blow from the south and southeast while during winter the north wind is the most common one.
The average yearly temperature is around 61.5°F (16.4°C). The average mean during winter is 39.2 °F (4 °C), and the high and low are 48.5°F (9.2°C) and 25.6°F (-3.5°C) respectively.
About 8 inches of snow falls every year (20.3 cm) between December and March.
During summer the average temperature is 83.0 °F (28.3 °C) and the average high and low are 94°F (34.5°C) and 71°F (21.5°C).
The average yearly rainfall is around 36.5 in. (928 mm). There are 85 rainy days per year with most rain falling during summer.
Thunderstorms are quite common during late spring and summer, and come with hail and strong winds. Some spawn tornadoes. Tornadoes can hit at any time during any season.
Yukon is next to Oklahoma City, whose metro area is one of the most tornado-prone ones in the whole world: about 150 tornados have struk this area since 1890. Some of them were very strong (F5 on the Fujita scale, which is the maximum value).
Yukon is located in the Oklahoma "Tornado Alley and experiences approximately 11 Tornado watches every year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Yukon
Map of Yukon and Route66
Map of Yukon 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 through Calumet and Geary.
Remove or restore State shading
Route 66 itinerary to Yukon
Route 66 in Oklahoma
Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across Oklahoma.
Below we detail the interesting remains of Historic Yukon alignment of Route 66.
Yukon, Oklahoma: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Yukon is well known for the largest dance hall in Oklahoma, the Czech Hall, a Historic site and the iconic Yukon Mills elevators. Visit its Main Street with the historic Mulvey Mercantile Building and the Chisholm Trail crossing. Enjoy its gentle giant Clydesdales horses in a 1936 wooden barn.
Historic buildings in the town of Yukon
There are several buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Yukon, below we describe some of them.
425 W. Main, Yukon, OK.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places - State Historic site
This historic building was constructed in 1904 and housed one of Yukon's most important stores.
The two-story building was built in red brick and had large window on the first floor on either side of the recessed entrance. The words "Mulvey Mercantile" are inlaid with black tiles against a white tile setting in the entry area. See the photograph above.
The facade has ten clerestories that admit light. The second story has large windows and the roof line is stepped with a gabled pedoiment. The red brick is inlaid with lighter colored outlines that give the building character.
Mulvey Mercantile was established in 1893 and sold hardware, farm appliances and dry goods. It was the largest store in town until The Great Depression led to its bankruptcy in the 1930s.
205 N. Czech Hall Road, Yukon, OK.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places - State Historic site
Czech presence is evident at the historic Jan Zizka Lodge Number 67, popularly known as Czech Hall, located two miles south of town.
Head south from Main St. along Cornwell Dr., cross I-40 (at its Exit 137) and follow N. Czech Hall Rd. for 0.6 mi. the Hall is on the right side of the road.
People have been dancing here (Czech dances) every Saturday night since 1925. The place is open to anyone (there is an admission fee for adults). It is the largest dance hall in Oklahoma.
The Hall, which is also known as Bohemian Hall was first built in 1899 by the Bohemian settlers (the current building replaced the original one in 1925).
The Czech migrants were members of Sokol Karel Havlicek Lodge and Western Fraternal Life Association Lodge Jan Zizka No. 67., and used it for their social and musical events: weddings, dances, family gatherings.
See its map and Google Street View
3rd. St. and Main St. Yukon.
The Yukon Mill and Grain Company began in 1893 as a small business operating a grain elevator and mill. It was acquired around 1903 by John F. and Frank L. Kroutil with A. F. Dobry, who expanded the company. By 1915 it was exporting grain. The plant could mill 2,000 barrels of flour per day in the 1930s.
Iconic Yukon Mill and Grain Co. elevator silos, Route 66
The Dobrys sold their part to the Krotils and opened a second mill (Dobry Mills) which operated separately for years until they were acquired by bigger players in the market.
Yukon was purchased by Shawnee Mills which in turn was acquired in 1972 by Mid-Continent, which had already bought Dobry ills. Thus both were reunited again.
It is still in operation on Yukon's Main Street (Route 66) next to the railroad tracks.
The students of Yukon High School are known as "Millers", and their mascot is "The Miller Man".
The side of the elevator silos, painted white, read: "Yukon's Best Flour, no finer or more modern mills in America. Yukon Mill & Grain Co. - Yukon, OK Yukon Czech Capital of Oklahoma"
The 42 x 55 foot sign atop the elevator lights up at night using energy-saving LEDs and announces "Yukon's Best Flour"
See its map and Google Street View.
Yukon Historical Society Museum and Art Center
601 Oak Street.
It has a replica of businesses on Main Street and detailed information on the town's history.
Yukon's Best Railroad Museum
3rd and Main St., Yukon OK.
Restored Railroad cars and historical information on the railroad. Across the street from Yukon's Flour Mill.
Yukon's Historical Society Farm Museum
3rd and Cedar St., Yukon OK.
Displays of farming implements and artifacts from the early days of Yukon. See the "old" tractors.
Chisholm Trail Park Marker
On the north side of W. Vandament just west of Garth Brooks Boulevard
Historic Oklahoma Marker
See its map and Google Street View
The park is great for running and walking and is also the venue for Yukon's Concerts in the Park and the July 4th celebration.
Visit its look-out peak and the marker of the Chisholm Trail (visit the Chisholm Trail website www.chisholmtrail.org)
Chisholm Trail in Yukon
After the American Civil War, longhorn cattle used to be driven overland from the ranches in southern Texas to the railway terminals in Kansas using trails. The trail marked by Jesse Chisholm crossed Oklahoma from his trading post on the Red River and then entered Kansas, ending at his northernmost post near Kansas City.
The cattle was then shipped by rail to the markets in the eastern U.S.
Chisholm, who was part-Cherokee, arrived in the area shortly after the Civil War and began the trail for his freight wagons between the Arkansas River in Kansas and Canadian River in what is now Oklahoma (in those days it was the Indian Territories).
In 1867 the first cattle herds were driven towards the railhead in Abilene, Kansas, and the trail took Chisholm's name.
Cowboy Camp Springs
To the north of the fence that is behind the "Chisholm Trail Marker" is a pond (access it from Garth Brooks Blvd. just north of W. Vandament). This pond was a very important watering hole used by the cowboys who drove the cattle along the Trail.
It originated in two natural springs and was well known to the Indians and the buffalo that lived here. It provided clean water for the cowboy campsite.
Cattle were watered at Canadian River, to the north of the campsite.
The current pond was built in the 1930s by the Works Program Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Express Personnel Clydesdales
They are behemoths weighing up to 2,000 lbs (900 kg.) which is twice the weight of a regular horse. They have blak and white faces and are "gentle giants".
12701 W. Wilshire Blvd., Yukon
It is 3 miles north town along Garth Brooks Bvd. (N 11th St.)
A pinewood barn built in 1936 was restored by Amish barn specialists is the home of Clydesdale horses. The barn includes a loft with a historical exhibit and a gift shop.
See its map and Google Street View
Events and Fun in Yukon
There are several events and activities to enjoy in Yukon:
Chisholm Trail Crawfish Festival
Held in the park, on the homestead that was the Kirkpatrick Family Farm (1001 S Garth Brooks Blvd.) it is also the venue for an Easter Festival, more details a the Chisholm Trail website (www.chisholmtrail.org)
Annual Czech Day
Held during October since 1966. Full details at their website
Tours & Itineraries
Historic Route 66 in Yukon
Prior to the creation of Route 66, the road linking Yukon to Oklahoma City (OKC) was State Highway No. 3 which was paved in Portland concrete in 1923, from 39th and Penn in OKC Co. to the Lake Overholser Bridge.
Then, after Route 66 was created paving in Portland concrete continued west from this point to the Canadian County line (1926).
The road after the county line was paved in asphalt in 1928 for 1.5 miles (only in 1947 would it be repaved in concrete) until reaching OK-4 and from there in concrete into Yukon (2.5 mile stretch) which had been paved in 1926.
The road in those days followed a different alignment to that used by current OK-66 (Route 66), which was realigned further north (39th St. Expressway) in 1958.
The 1926 to 1958 road is the following: From 39th Expwy, just east of North Canadian River, it headed west along what is now Overholser Drive and crossed the river along the Lake Overholser Bridge.
Lake Overholser Bridge
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
It is part of OKC, though it is nearer Yukon, so we describe it in detail in our page on OKC.
It combines two kinds of steel trusses: each end is a camelback Warren Pony Truss while the four central spans are Parker Through Trusses. It was built between 1924 and 1925, predating Route 66 which later incorporated it into its alignment for over three decades.
It was rehauled in 2001 and reopened to local vehicular traffic once again.
Overholser Bridge, Route 66 A. Whittall
it curved towards the Lake Overholser (which is OKC's water reservoir) and kept along its north shore, curving again to align along NW 36th St. (in those days there was no John Kilptrick Turnpike) and Lakeshore Dr.
This road actually followed the Interurban Trolley line that linked Yukon to OKC., and that is why it curves slightly south after Mustang Rd. and again north (between Ranchwood and Cornwell) in Yukon.
In 1949 the road took its current configuration west of Mustang. Rd., with four divided lanes, which were continued eastwards in the 1958 upgrade. Once in Yukon, Route 66 became the Main St. as a four lane non-divided street to Garth Brooks Blvd. where once again it became a 2-lane road.
The 2 lanes of the original 1926 alignment west of this point were eliminated when the segment to El Reno was upgraded to 4 lanes in 1951.
See the Map of this segment.
Cynthia Savage, Yukon. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org
George H. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names, Yukon entry.
Town's Website www.cityofyukon.gov.
Original artwork by A. Whittall based on Google Street View Imagery.
Image Used as per Google Street View Image