HISTORY OF HOOKER OKLAHOMA
Back in the 1800’s, this land was No Man’s Land, because none of the surrounding states or territories wanted this little strip of land about 40 miles wide. Folks started running cattle around these parts and one of those folks was John “Hooker” Threlkeld for whom the city was named. John earned his infamous nickname by being such a good roper. He was described as one of the really great ropers of the day, a man who could ride quietly into a herd, drop a tight, small, and fast loop from either side of his mount and catch calves standing beside their mothers. Hooker was born in Kentucky, November 13, 1846. He came west with his parents to Missouri. On May 15, 1864 he joined up with a freight outfit and bullwhacked west from Omaha to Virginia City, Montana with his two brothers. In 1873, Hooker came to No Man’s Land where he spent the next 30 years in the saddle.
Things in Hooker, Oklahoma started coming right along with schools, churches, and businesses going up. Then on June 1, 1908 tragedy struck. A fire started behind Mrs. Atterbury’s restaurant and destroyed 42 businesses and assorted other buildings. No fire trucks were available and the fire spread quickly. But true to the pioneer spirit business started rebuilding. In 1914 Dr. and Mrs. LG Blackmer came to Hooker. Dr. Blackmer helped found the First National Bank. Dr. Blackmer enjoyed a long career here as a family physician and thanks to his generosity we now have the Blackmer Golf Course.
The 1930’s which saw the whole great plains region devastated by horrific dirt storms and drought. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Shield took over the Hooker Advance newspaper, where they continued for many years. Things were so bad that in June of that year the railroads used snow plows and shovel crews to clear tracks after the storms. Congress authorized the Optima Dam project, one of the longest running boondoggles in political history.
In the 1940’s the oil and gas industry brought to our town many who contributed much to the town throughout their lives including Bill and Olive Warner. Bill was instrumental in promoting the baseball program in Hooker and Olive served as city librarian. The Lions Club, chartered in 1949, would play a big part in Hooker’s history during the 50’s and 60’s with their famous Lions’ Club Carnival still operating today.
In 1967 the little league park was opened and a new library was completed. 1967 was also the year that the American Legion baseball team became known as the Hooker Horny Toads.