Wakita, Oklahoma

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Wakita is a town in Grant County, Oklahoma, United States, founded in 1898. The population was 420 at the 2000 census. It was featured in the 1996 blockbuster film Twister starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in which Wakita was destroyed by an F4 tornado that was part of a storm system later spawning an F5 tornado. False fronts were built onto the existing store fronts for some shots and then were removed and replaced with rubble in the streets after the tornado hit and the rest of the building was removed using CGI. Some buildings were demolished, but nothing was put in to replace them.

Contents

Geography

Wakita is located at 36°52′54″N 97°55′26″W / 36.88167°N 97.92389°W / 36.88167; -97.92389 (36.881781, -97.923757)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²), all of it land.

History

Before the town's founding in 1898, there was a dispute over the right to name the town. The owner of the First General Store, owned by the "White" family, pushed for the town to be named Whiteville. Shortly after his proposal, Deputy U.S. Marshall Arthur Green motioned the town be named after a Cherokee Chief named Wakita (pronounced Wok-ih-taw). Some believe that Green wanted to name the town in the Chief's honor because of a protective spell supposedly cast to protect the area around the town from tornadoes for a time span of 100 years. This is why Wakita was used in the Hollywood blockbuster Twister, because of the paradox created between the spell and the movie setting.

-Other Notables-

  • First road in town, 1958
  • First traffic light, 1962 (Which was run over by the nightwatchman only 1 week later and was never reinstalled)

Demographics

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 420 people, 165 households, and 102 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,275.4 people per square mile (491.4/km²). There were 205 housing units at an average density of 622.5/sq mi (239.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.67% White, 0.24% African American, 2.38% Native American, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.24% of the population.

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