Sod Town in the Oklahoma Panhandle
Sod Town is a ghost town in the eastern portion of the Oklahoma Panhandle. There is nothing there now except the remains of an old roadbed and I had to drive well over a mile into an open field just to find those remains. A bit about Sod Town from John Morris’ excellent “Ghost Towns of Oklahoma” book:
Sod Town was unique among the early settlements of the Panhandle. It was the first town to be built in the eastern part of No Man’s Land, and all the buildings were constructed of blue creek sod. The village has been described as “standing irregularly and nakedly on the prairie.” It had one store, a blacksmith shop, two saloons with pool halls, a restaurant, and a shack that served as a school. Doors and windowsills were unpainted and often broken, refuse littered the space between the buildings, and building interiors were little more than dark, bad-smelling rooms.
The town was noted for the characters – horse thieves and badmen – who loafed around the saloons. Most of the Chitwood gang, notorious horse thieves who lived nearby and frequented the saloons, were eventually hanged by vigilantes. In general, however, thieves would not steal from neighbors who treated them in a friendly manner. Harry Parker, who as a pioneer youngster attended school in Sod Town, stated: “I do not recall the name of my first teacher in No Man’s Land, but I do remember that two or three of the older students carried six-shooters to school. They would remove them and hang them on the wall by their hats.”
Sod Town, spawned in poverty and crime, has passed into oblivion. the land where the town stood has been cultivated for a number of years, but the ruins of old sod buildings have left ridges that can still be seen from the road east of it.
Below are pictures from Ghost Towns of Oklahoma.
On a return trip from Guymon in January 2015, I decided to try and find Sod Town. It was difficult to find since it ended up being right in the middle of a rancher’s field. After attempting to approach it from the north and west with no luck, I finally came in from the east side and had some luck. In the end I drove down an old oil field access road, then down a two track trail that eventually turned into a barely discernible trail through the grass. I never saw the mounds left by the sod buildings, but I did follow and old wagon trail leading to Sod Town.
Below are three videos I took with my iPhone while trying to locate Sod Town.
I finally found signs of Sod Town.
Here is a map showing the location of Sod Town in the Oklahoma Panhandle. You can download the GPS coordinates or type them in: N36° 32.198′ W100° 14.116′. (Zoom out to see more details of the roads leading to Sod Town.)
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I love old ghost towns. My favorite is Rhyolite, Nevada, just outside Beatty, Nevada.
Lots of wild desert “art” to view besides the crumbling old silver mining town. There is a website for it.
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