History of Bartlesville & Washington County, Oklahoma

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Washington County, OK

Ochelata

Population: 494 in 2000; 441 in 1990
(formerly Otis)

Ochelata, pre-1907
Ochelata before statehood (pre-1907)

This Santa Fe railroad stop and cattle shipping point was once called Otis but then renamed for Charles Thompson, Cherokee principal chief from 1875-1879, whose Indian name was Ochelata. The railroad picked the name because it translated to "foot of the hill" and Ochelata is at the foot of the Osage Hills. The town was created in 1900 when Thomas Ellis (at far left in photo below) bought land from a Cherokee, Jacob Dick, in accordance with the provisions of the Curtis Act. The post office was established on March 23, 1900 and the town incorporated in 1902 with Nick Taylor as mayor. The photo above is from this era.

Tom Ellis
Tom Ellis, founder of Ochelata, is at the far left
Photo via OKGenWeb by Annette & Danny Foster; Link

The center of an early oil boom shortly after statehood in 1907, Ochelata attracted merchants and businessmen who established Campbell's Meat Market, J. Hammond's blacksmith shop, and Dr. Rowland's Drug Store. The Santa Fe ran six passenger trains a day carrying mainland baggage, and the Ochelata depot (the rightmost building in the photo below) was a popular gathering place on Sunday afternoons when the train came in at 3:15 pm and 4:08 pm. The depot was built in 1899 and retired on December 31, 1941.

Ochelata Depot

Washington County Carrel