|The Santa Fe Depot in Marietta, now closed, still sees the Amtrak go by, though trains no longer stop at
this small town just north of the Red River.
Riding around Oklahoma recently, I swung by Marietta, a little town that hugs US 77 but also has
stretched a little to meet up with Interstate 35. When you enter Oklahama from Texas, Marietta
is the first county seat you meet, if you take the time to visit. And yes, it's worth a visit.
I've been to Marietta plenty of times before, but usually only to buy the cheap bags of broken
cookies sold at the local cookie factory. Sadly, the factory is now closed.
Name that Town!
Like many towns (such as Maypearl in Texas), Marietta was named after a lady near and dear to
a prominent man. In this instance, Marietta was the wife of Jerry Washington, a member of the
Chickasaw nation who owned the land that the railroad took for its tracks in 1887. Love County
got its name the old fashioned way, too: the county was named after the Love family, which
owned over 8,000 acres around the Red River. Nope, the town of Marietta being the seat of
Love County is not the result of a tragic yet romantic story.
In fact, there were many times Love County did not prove to be so loving. Being in close
proximity to Texas, many outlaws running from the law found refuge in the Post Oak and Cedar
breaks along the Red River. The WPA Guide for Oklahoma recalls a place in Love County called
Refuge Spring, which used to serve as a boundary between Indian Territory and Texas in the
1840s. The guide claims many outlaws died in the grove of cedar trees. Joe T. Roff, a son of
early pioneers to the area who witnessed Indian depredations in Texas and the murder of his
brothers by a gang of outlaws, described Love County and the Chickasaw Nation as being a
bloody, wild, and violent frontier.
On more judicious note, one of Marietta's most prominent citizens was Robert Alexander Keller,
who moved to the city from Montague County, Texas in 1905 and practiced law there until he
was elected Senator in 1914. Many Mariettans fled the drought of the 1930s to settle in
California, and Lee Russell, the famous Farm Security Administration photographer hired to
document the exodus, took picutres of the refugees in Marietta.
Don't Loose That Loving Feeling
Today's Marietta is still a farming center, and keeps itself rather busy. Its train depot, though, is
no longer the center of the town. Though the Amtrak Heartland Flyer passes through twice a
day, Marietta isn't one of its stops. The city does have a small military museum next to its
There are even some places to get merry in Marietta. Not only are there are some nice
restaurants along the Interstate, but the WinStar Chickasaw Casino is just a few miles south.
|The courthouse is very pretty, and has a
star on top, even though it isn't Christmas
|It took me a minute to realize that it wasn't
a real person staring at me from behind
the jail, but a police target practice dummy.
|Across from the train depot and behind
the police station is this long, large,
sturdy, yet very neglected brick building.
Was it a hotel? A school? Administrative
building? Winchester Mystery House?
|How to get there from where you are:
From Texas, take Interstate 35 north to
Oklahoma. Marietta is just past the
From Oklahoma, go south on Interstate
35 towards Texas. Marietta is about 10
miles north of Texas.
Unless you live in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Then you have to go north to get to
Marietta, because Thackerville's closer to
Texas than Marietta is.
Also, here's a map:
|Lee Russell of the FSA captured this
migrant family from Henrietta gassing up
in Marietta. Hey, that rhymes!
|Don't miss the lights of Marietta! Notice I didn't
|Merry Explorations in Marietta: You'll love it in Love County!
| Tony, a reader of this site, offered more information:
Marietta, actually got it's name from the town of Marietta, Ohio when the rail road was put in. The story just sounds much better, also another story is that
there were two daughters, Mary and Etta that were from the Love family which the county was named after. Also, several towns in southern Oklahoma
were named after cities in Penn and Ohio when the rail road companies were from there.
On another note, Great page. I have http://www.mariettaok.com with a lot of old pictures of Marietta and Southern Oklahoma.
On the building across from the train station:
That was the Vanzant hotel, once was an awesome place, if your ever back in Marietta, stop in at Norton Jewelry look in the center of the building at the
Log Book for the hotel, and ask Ronnie about town history, he has a ton of stuff in the place. It was recently leveled and making way for a metal building
that is going to be an emergency operation center. They also torn down Denims and now a McDonalds is in its place.
The Hotel and Depot and the old Military museum that was the jail was in the movie Fast Charlie The Moonbeam Rider, with David Carradine filmed in 79,
parts filmed here.