People Are Leaving Seven Oklahoma Towns as Quickly as Possible

Oklahoma is a state with a rich and diverse history, culture, and landscape. However, not all of its towns and communities are thriving in the present day. In fact, some of them are facing a serious decline in population, economy, and quality of life. In this article, we will explore seven Oklahoma towns that are losing residents at an alarming rate, and the reasons behind their exodus.

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf is a small town in Kiowa County, named after a famous Kiowa chief. It was once a bustling community with over 1,000 residents, two grocery stores, a meat market, a hardware store, and a car wash. However, over the years, most of the businesses have closed down, and the population has dwindled to less than 400. The town is trying to preserve its history and revitalize its park, but it faces many challenges in attracting new people and opportunities.


Cardin is a ghost town in Ottawa County, located near the Kansas border. It was founded in 1913 as a mining town, and reached a peak population of over 2,500 in the 1920s. However, the town was severely affected by environmental pollution from the mines, which contaminated the soil, water, and air. The town was declared a Superfund site by the EPA, and most of the residents were relocated by the government. By 2020, the town had no population left, and only a few abandoned buildings remain.


Picher is another ghost town in Ottawa County, and a former neighbor of Cardin. It was also a mining town, and suffered from the same environmental problems as Cardin. The town was also hit by a tornado in 2008, which destroyed many homes and businesses. The town was evacuated by the government, and the remaining residents were offered buyouts to leave. By 2010, the town had only six residents left, and by 2020, none.


Corn is a town in Washita County, founded by German immigrants in 1892. It was originally named Korn, after the German word for grain, but was changed to Corn during World War I to avoid anti-German sentiment. The town is known for its Mennonite heritage, and its annual German Feast and Auction. However, the town has been losing population since the 1980s, and had only 495 residents in 2020. The town faces challenges in maintaining its infrastructure, services, and traditions.

Fort Towson

Fort Towson is a town in Choctaw County, named after a historic military fort that was established in 1824. The fort was a strategic outpost during the Indian Removal, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. The town was incorporated in 1900, and reached a peak population of over 1,000 in the 1940s. However, the town has been declining since then, and had only 477 residents in 2020. The town suffers from a lack of economic development, education, and health care.


Gotebo is a town in Kiowa County, named after a Kiowa chief. It was founded in 1901 as a railroad town, and became a center of trade and commerce for the surrounding farms and ranches. The town had a vibrant social and cultural life, with a theater, a newspaper, a library, and a museum. However, the town has been losing population and businesses since the 1950s, and had only 205 residents in 2020. The town struggles with poverty, crime, and isolation.


Kemp is a town in Bryan County, located near the Texas border. It was founded in 1890 as a farming community, and was named after a local merchant. The town had a steady population of around 300 for most of the 20th century, but experienced a sharp decline in the 2010s. The town had only 99 residents in 2020, making it the smallest incorporated town in Oklahoma. The town faces issues such as aging infrastructure, limited services, and low tax revenue.


These seven towns are examples of the rural depopulation that is affecting many parts of Oklahoma and the nation. There are various factors that contribute to this phenomenon, such as environmental degradation, economic stagnation, urbanization, and climate change. These towns are not only losing people, but also their history, culture, and identity. However, some of these towns are also trying to preserve their heritage, revitalize their communities, and attract new residents and visitors. These towns represent both the challenges and the opportunities that rural Oklahoma faces in the 21st century.

Leave a Comment