Newkirk, Oklahoma

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Newkirk is a city in Kay County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,243 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Kay County[3].

Contents

Setting

Newkirk is located at 36°52′59″N 97°3′21″W / 36.88306°N 97.05583°W / 36.88306; -97.05583 (36.883083, -97.055750)[4]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km²), all of it land.

Newkirk's elevation is 1,152 feet. The town is on mostly flat terrain with no large watercourses nearby. Newkirk is situated at the boundary between two eco-regions: the Central Great Plains and the Flint Hills. West of the town in the Great Plains the countryside is rich agricultural land, especially for wheat, soybeans, and cattle. East of town the terrain in the Flint Hills is more rugged and rocky and is primarily utilized for cattle ranching. Natural vegetation is mostly prairie, but stream valleys often have fine forests of cottonwood, oak, elm, ash, pecan,sycamore, and other species. Scrub oak and Red Cedar dot many hillsides. Wildlife is abundant, including whitetail deer, turkey, bobwhite quail, coyote, bobcat, and waterfowl. A mountain lion attack on a person seven miles east of Newkirk was reported in 2002[5]

One mile east of Newkirk is a casino and other facilities owned by the Kaw Indian tribe. Six miles east of town is the Arkansas River. The bridge across the river crosses the upper end of Kaw Lake. Near the river are the Deer Creek/Bryson Paddock Sites where archaeologists have excavated the ruins of two prominent 18th century Wichita Indian villages. Beyond the river, continuing east, is the picturesque, lightly-populated, Tallgrass prairie region with many large ranches. Locals call this region “The Osage” after Osage County, Oklahoma and the Osage Indians. Two miles north of Newkirk is the Washunga cemetery of the Kaw Indians which was moved here to avoid having it covered by water when a dam created Kaw Lake. Seven miles north is the Chilocco Indian Agricultural School, now closed.

The climate of Newkirk can be described as extreme Continental with an average low temperature in January of 20 degrees F (-7 C) and an average high temperature in July of 92 F (33 C). Winter temperatures sometimes fall below zero (-18 C) and 100 degree (38 C) days are common in summer. Average precipitation is 37 inches (96 mm) per year, but highly variable. May and June are the wettest month on average and the winter months of December, January, and February are the driest[6] Tornados are common in the region although Newkirk has never suffered major damage.

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