The Birth Of A Boom Town

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In the first quarter of 1927, the post office set a world record for money orders with $258,927, only to pass that mark in the second quarter with $361,308. The Rock Island Railroad of Seminole was also setting records. It became the second station in volume on the Rock Island by handling more than a million dollars of freight charges a month, exceeded only by Chicago. One month Seminole did exceed Chicago by reaching a high of $606,900. This small farming community had become, in a very short period of time, the industrial capital of the oil industry.

Money was flowing freely in Seminole. The oil field payroll in June 1928 was over $600,000 a week and was expected to reach the million dollar mark before the end of the year.

As always when there is so much money around, there were people waiting to take it from the working men. The north end of Seminole became the center of the dance halls and saloons. One of the most notorious criminals associated with the north end Bishop Alley District was “Pretty Boy” Floyd. There were many other shady characters, both men and women, that came to Seminole’s Bishop Alley.

Women and children of the town were afraid to go out after dark. Even some of the men walked in the middle of the streets to keep from being hijacked going around the corners. Eventually the respectable element outnumbered the rough and shady side. Churches and schools were built, and life began to settle down to a more normal existence.

And so the Seminole Boom became a legend in the oil industry. It belongs to the past and can never happen again. Out of it came a settled, thriving city of twelve thousand people which is the Seminole of today.