El Reno, Oklahoma

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El Reno is a city in Canadian County, Oklahoma, United States, in the central part of the state. A part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area, El Reno is 25 miles (40 km) west of downtown Oklahoma City. The population was 16,212 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

El Reno is a historic community with many historic buildings, is the county seat of Canadian County[3], and 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, or "Rock Island") railroad, which employed a large number of people. The CRI&P went bankrupt in 1975.

El Reno is located at the interchange of I-40 and U.S. Route 81; Redlands Community College is located in El Reno as is Canadian Valley Technology Center, which opened in 1970 and is directly on famed Route 66 (about three miles (5 km) east of the city). El Reno is also home to a Federal Prison.

It 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 was flooded, it was moved to its present location and changed its name to El Reno.

Historic Fort Reno was built in 1874, and first commanded by General Phillip Sheridan. He named it in honor of his friend, Gen. Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in the Civil War. Today, the grounds of the old fort are home to a research laboratory for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The laboratory studies environmentally sustainable forage and livestock production, contributing to preservation of the great plains of North America.

During WWII, Fort Reno, about one mile (1.6 km) 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.

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.

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