El Reno, Oklahoma
El Reno, Oklahoma
Downtown El Reno
Location of El Reno, Oklahoma
|• Total||80.4 sq mi (208.3 km2)|
|• Land||80.0 sq mi (207.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.4 sq mi (1.2 km2)|
|Elevation||1,358 ft (414 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||220/sq mi (84/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1092512 |
El Reno is a city in and county seat of Canadian County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 16,729. The city was begun shortly after the 1889 land rush and named for the nearby Fort Reno. It is located in the central part of the state, approximately 25 miles (40 km) west of downtown Oklahoma City, and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area.
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The city was originally located about five miles (8 km) north of its present location, on the banks of the North Canadian river, bearing the name Reno City, which caused its mail to get mixed up with mail for Reno, Nevada. After the second time the town flooded, it was moved to its present location and changed its name to El Reno. This word is Spanish for "the reindeer".
Originally the land of Canadian County belonged to Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes but in 1874 Fort Reno was established and General Philip Sheridan took commanded. Sheridan named the fort in honor of his friend, Gen. Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in the Civil War at the hands of the regiment of General John Bell Hood . The grounds of the old fort became home to a research laboratory for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1948. The laboratory studies environmentally sustainable forage and livestock production, contributing to preservation of the great plains of North America.
El Reno is located on the 98th Meridian, which allowed the eastern side to be opened to non-Indian settlement in the Land Run of 1889. The western side was opened in the 1892 opening of the Cheyenne and Arapaho lands. It was subsequently selected as the land district office for the 1901 land lottery drawings.
During WWII, Fort Reno, about 5 mi (8.0 km) north west of El Reno, was the site of a prisoner of war camp, and today contains a P.O.W. cemetery, with stones bearing the names of German and Italian prisoners who died there.
Southwestern Federal Reformatory, restricted to male prisoners under the age of 35, was constructed about 2 miles (3.2 km) west of El Reno in 1935. Renamed the Federal Correctional Institution of El Reno in the mid-1970s, the population expanded to include men of all ages. It became the fifth largest prison in the U.S. It is still one of the largest employers in El Reno.
It is the only city in Oklahoma to have a streetcar in operation in the downtown area. At one time it possessed a terminal and repair facility for the CRI&P (Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, or "Rock Island") railroad, which employed a large number of people. The CRI&P went bankrupt in 1979. The railroad yards have remained vacant property. The old depot and some other buildings were acquired by the Canadian County Historical Society for use as part of a museum complex. The 1954 film noir Human Desire includes locomotive and yard scenes filmed in the El Reno rail yards.
El Reno is a Main Street community. The Oklahoma Main Street Program is a downtown revitalization program and the El Reno Program won the Great American Main Street Award in 2006.
The town is noted for its annual Fried Onion Burger Day Festival, which is always the first Saturday in May. Burger Day is where you can witness the cooking of the world’s largest fried onion hamburger, weighing over 850 pounds (400 kg). The giant burger contains all the important parts of the famous El Reno fried onion burgers which includes meat, fried onions, sliced pickles, and mustard all between two giant buns. Not only do festival goers get to watch the massive burger be built and cooked, but they are also allowed to help eat the monstrosity. Volunteers divide the giant burger into individual sized portions with burger-sized cookie cutters. Other volunteers shuttle back and forth from the burger to the crowd, delivering the free portions to anyone wanting a piece. The idea of the fried onion burger was born out of necessity during the Great Depression, where onions were used to stretch out the meat supply.
On June 15, 2015, Sid's Diner was featured on the Food Network series Top 5 Restaurants, with the Fried-Onion Burger being highlighted. Sid's Diner has also been featured on the Travel Channel series Man v. Food.
On May 31, 2013, El Reno was hit by a multiple-vortex tornado. The tornado set a record with a width of 2.6 miles (4.2 km). The Weather Channel's Mike Bettes was hit by this storm, but survived it. Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and TWISTEX colleague Carl Young lost their lives near the Regional Airport. Paul and Young were ejected from their Chevrolet Cobalt by the tornado's sub-vortex while Tim was still buckled in the passenger's seat next to Young's driving seat. Local amateur chaser, Richard Henderson lost his life in that same area. Before the tornado struck him, Henderson snapped a picture of it from his cellular phone and sent that picture to a friend. Dan Robinson of St. Louis, Missouri successfully escaped the tornado with a few injuries. He was a few hundred meters ahead of the TWISTEX crew.
El Reno is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 80.4 square miles (208 km2), of which, 80.0 square miles (207 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of it (0.56%) is water.(35.530261, −97.957529).
El Reno is located in the United States at the interchange of I-40 and U.S. Route 81. At one time it sat on the boundary between Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, and sits about 20 miles (32 km) west of the old Chisholm Trail. Jesse Chisholm is buried nearby.
In 1952, a magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck near El Reno, causing damage to several buildings in the city. It is currently Oklahoma's third-strongest earthquake on record, and it was the strongest earthquake in Oklahoma history prior to the November 5, 2011 earthquake near Sparks.
El Reno has endured numerous weather-related incidents in recent years:
- On January 30, 2002, El Reno was hit by a severe ice storm that left most of the city without power for several days and caused thousands of dollars of damage in downed trees and powerlines. The storm brought around two inches of ice, with as much as 6 inches over the following days. All of Canadian County was designated as a Federal Disaster Area.
- During the May 3, 1999 tornado outbreak, El Reno suffered damage from one of the many tornadoes that formed from the same storm that produced the infamous F5 tornado that day. Parts of Redlands Community College were damaged.
- El Reno has weathered several ice storms in recent years, including the January 4–5, 2005 storm that left up to two inches of ice in the hardest-hit locations.
- In 2006, El Reno experienced "exceptional" drought conditions as the entire state endured one of the driest summers on record.
- On March 12, 2006, drought conditions allowed an area wildfire to grow to burn over a thousand acres (4 km²). Winds carried the smoke into the Oklahoma City metro, spurring thousands of calls to emergency services by concerned residents.
- On April 24, 2006, a rare anti-cyclonic tornado hit El Reno's municipal airport, causing damage to the hangars and small airplanes.
- On the night of May 8, 2007, a tornado ripped through the south and east sides of the city. There was at least 1 injury when the tornado knocked over a semi on I-40.
- Overnight on August 19, 2007, Tropical Storm Erin dumped over 10 inches (250 mm) of rain on El Reno and the surrounding area. This caused extensive flooding.
- On May 24, 2011, a violent long-track tornado passed through the El Reno area, causing extensive damage and killing nine people. The tornado was given an EF5 rating after reviewing the damage.
- On May 31, 2013, the 2013 El Reno tornado, the widest tornado ever documented, hit El Reno. The tornado was an estimated 2.6 miles in width and had a recorded wind speed of >301 mph, one of the two highest wind speeds on record along with winds observed in the 1999 Bridge Creek–Moore tornado. It hit the outskirts of the city, prompting a tornado emergency for El Reno and surrounding cities. The tornado killed eight people, including four storm chasers.
|Climate data for El Reno, Oklahoma|
|Average high °F (°C)||47.4
|Average low °F (°C)||23.9
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.0
|Source #1: weather.com|
|Source #2: Weatherbase.com |
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 16,749 people, 5,727 households, and 3,842 families residing in the city. The population density was 202.7 people per square mile (78.3/km²). There were 6,484 housing units at an average density of 81.1 per square mile (31.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.8% White, 11.1% Native American, 7.2% African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 4.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.9% of the population.
There were 5,727 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 114.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 119.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,200, and the median income for a family was $39,106. Males had a median income of $29,521 versus $20,107 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,570. About 11.4% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.6% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure
The City of El Reno operates under a council-manager government system. City employees include the city manager, finance director, police chief, fire chief, city clerk, public works director, code enforcement director, community services director and city librarian.
- Canadian Valley Technology Center is on famed Route 66 (about three miles (5 Rkm) east of the city).
- Redlands Community College opened in 1971.
The El Reno Tribune publishes Wednesday and Sunday and has a circulation of about 5,000.
- Charles Cannon (1915–1997), the Texas saddlemaker, broke horses for the U.S. government in El Reno during World War II
- Harlond Clift, Major League Baseball infielder
- Solomon Andrew Layton (1864 - 1943), architect. Born in Iowa, moved to El Reno in 1902, then to Oklahoma City in 1911; designed many notable public buildings in Oklahoma
- Harvey Pratt, Native American forensic artist (b. 1941)
- Hub Reed, pro basketball player (St. Louis Hawks, Cincinnati Royals, Los Angeles Lakers, and Detroit Pistons) (b. 1936)
- Erik Rhodes, Broadway and Hollywood actor (1906–1990)
- Sam Rivers (1923-2011), jazz musician and composer
- Kenzie Ruston, NASCAR driver in the K&N Pro Series East (b. 1991)
- Gaylord D. Shaw, 1978 Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, managing editor of Dallas Times Herald, Los Angeles Times (b. 1942)
- Tim Samaras (1957–2013), engineer and storm chaser who starred on Discovery Channel's documentary reality television series Storm Chasers. A multiple-vortex tornado took his life on May 31, 2013. This tornado also took the lives of Tim's son, Paul and TWISTEX colleague, Carl Young of South Lake Tahoe, California.
- Carl Young (1968-2013), TWISTEX Probe driver, The 2013 El Reno tornado took his life as well as his partner Tim Samaras and his son Paul Samaras.
- Paul Samaras (1988-2013) Videographer of the 2013 El Reno tornado in the TWISTEX vehicle. His life came to an end when a tornado hit their vehicle also taking the lives of his father Tim Samaras and his colleague, Carl Young.
- Gene Sears, Hall-of-Fame trap and sporting clays shooter 
- Suzan Shown Harjo, advocate for American Indian rights (b. 1945)
- National Register of Historic Places
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 1, 2017.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Cynthia Savage, "El Reno." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 118.
- Clay, Nolan (June 3, 2013). "Oklahoma storms: Amateur storm chaser took photo of tornado that killed him". The Oklahoman. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Hargrove, Brantley (29 August 2013). "The Last Ride of Legendary Storm Chaser Tim Samaras". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
- "Historical Weather for El Reno, Oklahoma, United States".
- Cite error: The named reference
USCensusEst2016was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 12, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016". Retrieved June 21, 2013.
- "El Reno, Oklahoma. 2010 Census results". Retrieved 7 October 2018.
- City of El Reno (accessed August 14, 2013)
- "FCI El Reno Contact Information." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on October 1, 2010.
- FinderBinder: Oklahoma's Updated Media Directory, 2010 Winter Issue.
- "Inductees". www.traphof.org. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
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