Marshall Oklahoma

Just a short hours drive north of Oklahoma City is the small town of Marshall, Oklahoma. Not quite a ghost town, it is a once thriving, but now mostly forgotten community in northern Logan County. Marshall began when the Unassigned Lands were opened for settlement in 1889. Sylvan Rice, from Marshalltown, Iowa, opened the first post office in 1890 and named the new town after his Hawkeye hometown. The town boomed with the opening of the nearby Cherokee Strip to settlement. Eventually the railroad came to town, spurring even more growth.

Kay and I found this small town on one of our wandering trips through Oklahoma. We normally start out early in the morning with just a general direction in mind, not a specific destination. Our travels, by Jeep or dual sport motorcycle, takes us along dirt roads, county paved roads, and sometimes even jeep trails to unknown and often unexpected places such as Marshall.

We discovered Marshall was the hometown of Angie Debo, a famed Oklahoma author and the namesake of a local Edmond grade school. In the 1940’s Marshall was known as “the school band capitol of the world”. In 1950 fifty-seven school bands converged on the town for the competition! Known for its very wide main street, Kay and I parked on this expansive chunk of concrete and marveled at how wide the street was. It is claimed that one of the town founders turned a team of mules around while laying out main street, thereby determining its width. There is little traffic up and down this street today as we watch three kids wander down the middle of main street with nary vehicle other than ours in site.

Like many western Oklahoma towns, the grain elevator dominates the landscape.

Like many western Oklahoma towns, the grain elevator dominates the landscape.

A well kept church still stands in Marshall.

A well kept church still stands in Marshall.

The volunteer fire department is housed on main street.

The volunteer fire department is housed on main street.

Local merchants still decorate their stores with paintings and signs.

Local merchants still decorate their stores with paintings and signs.

Not many businesses exist in downtown Marshall.

Not many businesses exist in downtown Marshall.

Marshall is said to have the "widest main street in the USA". Not sure if that is true, but it certainly is big enough for a high school band to parade down the middle of main street. Today all that we saw were a few kids wandering down the wide avenue,.

Marshall is said to have the “widest main street in the USA”. Not sure if that is true, but it certainly is big enough for a high school band to parade down the middle of main street. Today all that we saw were a few kids wandering down the wide avenue,.

An old tractor sits just of main street in Marshall, waiting on repairs or parts that may never arrive.

An old tractor sits just of main street in Marshall, waiting on repairs or parts that may never arrive.

At one time Marshall boasted two gas stations, a hotel, 5-dime store, drug store, cafe, bar, grocery store, laundromat, hardware store, lawyer office, bank, doctor office, blacksmith, barber shop, beauty shop, fire station, arcade, movie theatre, two car dealers and farmers' co-op.

At one time Marshall boasted two gas stations, a hotel, 5-dime store, drug store, cafe, bar, grocery store, laundromat, hardware store, lawyer office, bank, doctor office, blacksmith, barber shop, beauty shop, fire station, arcade, movie theatre, two car dealers and farmers’ co-op.

Not much is left of many downtown buildings.

Not much is left of many downtown buildings.

The local water tower still proudly pronounces the existence of this old Oklahoma town.

The local water tower still proudly pronounces the existence of this old Oklahoma town.

Click the download link below to retrieve the GPS waypoints for Marshall:

About James Pratt

I am an Oklahoma based writer, photographer, videographer and adventurer. I love telling stories about people. A motorcycle is my preferred means of travel, and I have over 5,000 hours piloting small airplanes.

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