Woods (M) County

"M" County Map -- Legacies of Alva

March, 2000, Woods Co., Courthouse, northside
Courthouse - 1906

Old Woods Co. CourthouseThe Olds Woods County Courthouse and the Courthouse Square, ca. 1906.

Construction of this eighty-two by fifty-two foot building was completed in 1904 at a cost of sixty thousand dollars.

The main floor housed the offices of the County Clerk, County Treasurer, County Sheriff, County School Superintendent, and Register of Deeds.

The second floor contained the District courtroom, office of the District Clerk, Probate Courtroom and the office of the County Attorney. There were two jury rooms in the attic and seven jail cells in the basement. Cement walks extended from this building outward to the four corners of the Courthouse Square.

On the west side, in the triangular space created by these walks, there was a large fish pond with an ornamental iron railing. In the center of this pond was a cast iron fountain featuring cranes whose uplifted bills sprayed water into the air. This beautiful and unique fountain was removed in 1955 prior to the demolition of the old Courthouse in 1956.

Sandie Olson with the Waynoka Historical Society & History Museum informed me that the Sundial that once graced the Alva, Woods County Courthouse square, in downtown Alva, Oklahoma is now in the Waynoka History Museum. Sandie also mentioned that awhile back a resident of Waynoka bought the Courthouse Fountain and it now is located in a private courtyard in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Speaking of the Woods County Courthouse fountain and the 2x4 lumber pressed into the points on the top of the wrought iron fence to keep children from hurting themselves... a NW Oklahoma friend of mine told me a story of two young boys who were playing near the fountain way back in earlier times when it (fountain) existed. One boy (Kenneth Baker) had pushed another boy (Warner) and caused Warner to fall over the points on the top of the wrought iron fence. Warner was punctured in the mid-section and died. I am not quite sure of the year, but have a feeling that was the reason the 2x4 lumber was pressed into the points on the top of the wrought iron fence.

Old Woods County Courthouse

Alva would boast and reflect upon this old county courthouse. It was one of the most stately public buildings in Oklahoma. It came into fact in late 1904 after 10 years of controversy.

Before statehood Woods County then titled "M" County was larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island. This county was without an officially designated building to house the County's offices, courtroom, or prisoner facilities of an adequate jail.

In December of 1903 one grand jury report stated that a body of 16 prisoners had only 12 square feet of space for each prisoner. The first county jail was built in October 1893 with 2' by 4' lumber boards laid flat and nailed solidly one on top of another. It was 10 feet by 12 feet in size. Later the first brick building in Alva was the new county jail constructed on the public square.

The newspaper, called the Cherokee Outlet, stated in 1904 that for 10 years "M" County had been doing business without a fit building to conduct any of the county's affairs. The records of various offices of the county were kept in various business establishments around town in which a certain county office happened to be housed, and the official records were piled into boxes for keeping.

When a taxpayer came to town to complete his county business of taxes and etc. he would have made a complete circuit of the town. At that time "Woods" (M) county was considered to one of the richest and most populous counties in Oklahoma Territory.

The long suffering issue was pushed by the newspapers, one paper in particular. The County Courthouse at Alva was built around 1904 and measured 82 by 52 feet. It was two stories high, with a jail in the basement. On the first floor was the County Clerk's, the Registrar of Deeds and Treasurer's offices, each 19 by 31 feet, with private offices 9 by 11 feet. The County Superintendent's office measured 12 by 14 feet, and the sheriff's office was 19 by 19 feet. Probate Courtroom was 20 by 30 feet, and the County Attorney's office was 10 by 15 feet. Two jury rooms 11 by 20 feet in the attic, and 7 jail cells in the basement.

New WDS Co. courthouseThis is a photo of the NEW Court house that replace the Old Woods County Court house was torn down in the early 1950's. It stands in the middle of the downtown square, between College Avenue on the west, Government Street on the east, Flynn on the north and Barnes on the south.

Naming of Woods County

Upon the opening of the Cherokee Strip, September 16, 1893, the area covering Woods, Alfalfa, and Major counties today was then titled "M" county of the Oklahoma Territory.

The following year the peoples of each lettered county submitted permanent names for their prospective counties. It was agreed that each political party should be in charge of the name submission and it would be voted in the November 1894 election.

The Democrats chose "Banner", the Republicans chose "Flynn" and the Populists chose "Wood". In those days the party of the Populists held supreme power in this part of the country and therefore, their nominee of "Wood" was received in the largest vote of the population.

The name "Wood" was suggested by Jesse Dunn of Alva, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma. Dunn and Sam N. Wood were very good friends and co-workers in the political arena in Stevens County, Kansas.

Legacies of "M" (Woods) County & Alva....

Woods "M" County Links:
Alva Downtown Square Memoirs - by Bill Barker
AlvaLegacies - History of Alva, Oklahoma Territory, Murals, etc.
The Alva Record - Official City Paper - Vol. 22, No. 39, Alva, Okla., Friday, September 28, 1923 MORE Alva Record Tidbits
Alva Santa Fe Depot (In the 60's, Scott took a nap at 3 PM like he was supposed to, my mother would reward me with a trip to the depot to see the 4pm (?) train come through.) - submitted by Scott Downs
Alva's College Avenue (Looking north down college Ave from the Castle on the Hill) submitted by Scott Downs
Alva Science Hall, State Normal School - submitted by Scott Downs
Dacoma, Oklahoma - History
Dacoma Platte Map Platte of Dakoma (Homer), Okla.
Dacoma Area Township Map - Dacoma area map of Twp. 25N-Range 13W.I.M. showing 1906 land owners. David Cannon "Pat" Oates - 1900-1904 Woods County Sheriff, 1909-1914 1st Deputy Warden at McAlester.
Fairvalley, Oklahoma -
Freedom, Oklahoma - Home of the Biggest Open Rodeo Hatfield Park and Lake - Warranty Deed dated 20 March 1906 between the City of Alva and Wm. F. & Fannie L. Hatfield.Waynoka, Oklahoma - History
Wm. J. Bryan Stumps the State & Alva - Photo of crowd on Courthouse square
Alva Center Parking Debate
Wednesday, May 20, 1953 City Council Abolishes Center Parking
Thursday, May 21, 1953 Center Parking Will Be Abolished Friday
Friday, May 22, 1953 Several Give Opinions On City Parking
Center Parking - Heated Debate Wednesday, May 27, 1953, Charges Fly, ..... Heated Debate at Meeting.
Oklahoma POW Camps (1942-1945)
WWII POW Camps Across Oklahoma
More WWII POW Info - reminders & memories of WWII
WWII POW Camp Stories - 1942-1945, Alva, Oklahoma
WWII POW Map of Camps - Oklahoma & Alva Camp Layout Map
Basic Facilities of WWII POW Camps
The Battle of Alva - Alva Guards vs Nazi prisoners, (1945)
German POW Murals Discovered
Kiowa, KS Man's WWII POW Experience