Ada’s History

So you’re here and you’re curious, “Hmm… what is Ada, Oklahoma anyways?” Well, you’re about to find out!

Ada, Oklahoma is the Pontotoc County Seat situated in, wait for it… Pontotoc County Oklahoma. It’s about an hour and a half southeast of Oklahoma City and about two from Tulsa headed southwest. Their current population is around 17,ooo as of 2013. Ada’s story is fun because it is the product of natural Oklahoma settling, where a town grows up from nothing.

So in the late 1880s, there was a new family from Texas that decided to come up into the new Oklahoma territory. They were the Daggs who set up an area titled Daggs Prairie, fittingly. Then in April of 1889, there was a new visitor named Jeff Reed who was also from Texas and also happened to be a relative of the Daggs, and he was appointed to carry mail from Stonewall to two smaller towns in the Indian Territory. It is interesting to hear towns’ origin stories because sometimes parts of their history don’t exist anymore. The Stonewall Jeff Reed went to is now combined with Pickett, thus not quite the same. Anyways he had his whole family with him so he decided to set up shop on the land in between his two post stops. Thus, he started Reed’s Store, a log house that would soon attract more people to come live nearby. And soon enough in 1891 they were able to get a post office. It was established and named after, drumroll please….. His eldest daughter, ADA! For those that knew it was a name you are correct the town is indeed a name as well.

In 1901 it officially was incorporated as a city and with the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway line it grew at a quick pace. Railways really helped grow the town, especially with the Santa Fe and Oklahoma Central Railways also joining up in Ada within the decade.

The town continued to grow with the edition of the first school in 1909 set up by the women of Ada, East Central College. This might sound familiar because it is now East Central University, still standing proud. The school currently houses about 4,500 students and is one of the few schools with a cartography program (which it is internationally known for, I might add) and as well as an Environmental Health Science Program, one of the few accredited ones in the nation. The town might be small but their programs are big, and nothing to cut down in size.

In 1975 the Chickasaw Nation established their headquarrters in Ada. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 residents speak the Chickasaw language. Below you can see a stop sign that has both the Chickasaw language and English on it.

Courtesy of Ada’s Wiki Page:,_Oklahoma

Fun facts: they have 7 nationally registered Historic Places, Leon Polk Smith was an abstract artist who graduated from East Central University, Blake Shelton was born in Ada, and many more.


Want to find out more? I’ve linked below some books that I found to be helpful and they have plenty of deeper information into all you would like to know about dear Ada, Oklahoma!