Beer City (White City) OK
The following information comes from Ghosttowns of Oklahoma, by John Morris.
Beer City was located in Texas County, Sections 10 & 15, Township 6N, Range 19E, Cimarron Meridian, 21 1/2 miles north, 27 1/2 miles east of Guymon; 9 miles north, 10 miles east of Hooker.
In 1888 the SAnta Fe railway extended its tracks through western Kansas to a place now known as Tyrone in Texas County. At Tyrone, which was to remain head of the line for fifteen years, large, sturdy corrals were built. Liberal, Kansas, located about five miles northeast of Tyrone and also on the Santa Fe, was started about the same time.
When these two places came into existence Kansas had rigid prohibition laws, but law enforcement in the Public Land Strip (NO Mans Land) was almost unknown. Cowboys and cattle dealers wanted their liquor and women after a long drive, or after shipping was over, and enterprising merchants did their best to supply the product demanded. As a result, Beer City was established south of Liberal and east of Tyrone in the Panhandle lands known as No Mans Land where both seller and buyer would be least disturbed.
At first Beer City was referred to as White City, for it was a tent town. The place never had a post office, church, or school, nor did it have cattle pens or gathering pens for livestock. The townsite was never platted. A part of the main street extended east-west just south of the Kansas border, but there were also norh-south extensions, the whole being a a melange of red lights, saloons, and dance halls. The primary business was the selling of whiskey and beer at the numerious dance halls and saloons. Thus, the place became known as Beer City.
Many liquid refreshment places had several games of chance in continuous operation. Much of the liquid refreshment was manufactured locally near a stream named Hog Creek. A large and well concealed cave, shielded by a leanto and adjacent to an adequate supply of fresh water and plenty of firewood, provided the ideal place for the still. The product was tax free and was said to be bottled dynmaite. J. R. Spears, in his storys of No Mans Land stated that Beer City was composed exclusively of disreputable houses, the only village of the sort ever heard of in America.
The leading businessmen did, to some extent, tried to provide some law and order. They hired enforcers to keep con men, pickpockets, and holdup men away from those who had had too much to drink. Many saloons had drunk pens at the back of the premises where customers would be relatively safe until they could sleep it off. The merchants also provided free wrestling and boxing matches, horse racing, and wild west shows to attract patrons or to celebrate some event.
Harry E. Chrisman described some of the actions, "At the end of one celebration Pussy Cat Nell, the madam in charge of the house above the Yellow Snake Saloon, put a load of buckshot into the body of the town marshal, who was in turn an active rustler."
With the addition of the Panhandle to Oklahoma Territory in 1890, law and order came to the Public Land Strip. Beer City, which had lived two exciting years, soon disappeared. The entire area is now used for agricultural purposes.
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Comments: Beer City is in Beaver County of course. The Section, Range, and Township seem to be right although some of the structures are probably over in Range 20. Quite a few people live there. ~Ron Phillips 2008-11-27 19:00:07
We are looking for information about the entrance to the Jesse Dunn building on Northwestern's campus in Alva. Do any readers have photos or recollections of the light fixture that hung over the steps inside the front entrance on the north of the building? Did it look like the fixtures in the "library" where the natural history museum is now housed? Thanks for any help. Kathy Earnest ~Kathy Earnest 2008-09-07 20:13:07
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