Pleasant Valley – Oklahoma Ghost Town

Pleasant Valley is an old Oklahoma ghost town located between Stillwater and Guthrie, just south of the Cimarron River along a dirt road. It once was called “Cowboy Flats” and was a place with plentiful grazing. Cowboys would stop and let their cattle graze here on the drive north. It was a bustling location in the early 1900’s but then faded from existence as improvements in transportation meant people could travel further and faster to get supplies. Now there are only a few homes in the area and the remains of some old buildings.

From the excellent book “Ghost Towns of Oklahoma” by John W. Morris:

Pleasant Valley

COUNTY! Logan
LOCATION: {a} Sec. 33, T 18 N, R I W
(I1) 7 miles north, 7 miles east of Guthrie
Post OFFICE: February 29, I 904-May 31, 1947
NEWSPAPERS: Banner Breezes
RAILROAD: Eastern Oklahoma Railway (Santa Fe), abandoned 1959

Pleasant Valley, first known as Campbell, had its start in 1899 in that part of northeastern Logan County known as Cowboy Flat. On January 29, 1900, a post office with the name of Anna was opened in Campbell, but the name was changed to Pleasant Valley on February 29, 1904. Prior to the opening of the Unassigned Lands in 1889, Cowboy Flat was used as grazing land for thousands of cattle. Many cowboys who worked with those herds “soonered” in the area before the run. They helped each other in holding claims, and in numerous cases they dumped cornerstones in the river.

Pleasant Valley, ca. 1910. elevators, switchyard, and the depot. (Courtesty M.C. Rouse)

Pleasant Valley, ca. 1910. elevators, switchyard, and the depot. (Courtesty M.C. Rouse)

In 1900 the Eastern Oklahoma Railroad built a line from Guthrie eastward to Cushing via Pleasant Valley. M. C. Rouse, an old-timer still living in the vicinity, states: “True to custom of frontier towns, one of the first buildings was a saloon. Chief clientele consisted of Irish workmen on the railroad. Business buildings of that time had the front end extended up as high as the gable. On the front of it was painted a man riding a two-hump camel, indicating the name of the town. The man wore a derby hat, and a deck of cards protruded from his pocket.” With the coming of the railroad Pleasant Valley became the important center of Cowboy Flat. Eventually there were two passenger trains each way each day plus a freight each way. Many of the first homes built were small one-room af- fairs, and some were half-dugouts.

Pleasant Valley, 1908. Street scene on Western Trail Avenue. (courtesy M. C. Rouse)

Pleasant Valley, 1908. Street scene on Western Trail Avenue. (courtesy M. C. Rouse)

Pleasant Valley had its greatest period of prosperity between 1910 and 1930. A bank existed from I909 to 1934. Agricultural land was productive enough to support two elevators, a gristmill, a cotton gin, and a feed mill. A small flour mill operated for five or six years about 1920. The two, and sometimes three, general stores bought eggs, butter, and cream in exchange for groceries, clothing, and farm equipment. A hardware store, blacksmith shops which changed to garages and filling stations, and a fifteen-room hotel also served the community.

Cultural life in Pleasant Valley function around its churches and school. In the 19208 annual township fair was held, during which there were horse races and other kinds of entertainment. For a few years there was a town band. A justice of the peace court was organized to settle local difficulties. One unique case was that in which a minister sued a bridegroom for nonpayment of a $2.50 marriage fee.

Pleasant Valley today is an isolated community served by neither railroad nor state highway. The foundation of an old elevator is clearly visible, the walls of an old business building still stand, and a few small houses continue to be lived in. Some of the former streets remain open. Cowboy Flat continues to be good agricultural
and grazing land. It is easy to understand why Pleasant Valley developed in such a location before modern transportation.

Pleasant Valley, 1889. Rendezvous of the Dalton gang before the Coffeyvill raid was located near the edge of town. (Courtesty M. C. Rouse)

Pleasant Valley, 1889. Rendezvous of the Dalton gang before the Coffeyvill raid was located near the edge of town. (Courtesty M. C. Rouse)

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.

Comments

  1. Mike Christensen says:

    Based on a conversation with my grandfather before he passed away, his father, James Shoemaker, paricipated in the Land Rush and staked a claim in the Pleasant Valley area. He served as a Justice of the Peace in Pleasant Valley. When I was very young, in a conversation with him, he said that he had kept Frank James locked up one night for drunkeness. I’ve been unable to verify any of these oral accounts passed on to me. Do you have any suggestions for research?

    Thanks,

    Mike Christensen

    • Cool! The only suggestion I might offer is to actually go to the research center at the Oklahoma History Museum near the capitol. They have a wealth of information and have some good librarians that might help you find more info. And it is free.

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