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Mountain Park, Oklahoma... Coulda Been


Jail
Mountain Park's calaboose was built between 1910 and 1911, as this was the time when the town was the seat of Swanson County.

Today, people driving through Mountain Park in Kiowa County, Oklahoma could be accused of ignoring it... it looks like a town past its prime. But it could have been a contender! Well, maybe.


In the summer of 1910, a petition circulated and a vote was made to carve a new county out of Kiowa and Comanche counties. This new Oklahoma county would be named Swanson after a friend of the governor's, and Mountain Park would act as the temporary county seat.


But nearby Snyder believed itself to be more suitable for county governance, and some enterprising Snyderians stole the county records from Mountain Park in September of 1910, and were promptly arrested by Mountain Park-ians.


The state courts of Oklahoma did not "cotton to the idea" of Swanson County (there's a pun-in-the-waiting here, just a warning). By the summer of 1911, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled that Swanson County had been formed illegally, as many voters were unregistered and Comanche County had tried to veto the measure. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case completely, and Swanson County was dissolved. Then, in 1912, the county of Cotton was formed (see what I did there?) from the [illegitimate!] sale of the Big Pasture lands in southern Comanche County, some of which included former Swanson County.


The land lotteries of this portion of the former Chickasaw Nation and Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Reservation had a lot to do with these entangled legal messes that reached the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times. That's a whole 'nother story, though.


House
According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, this was the former Swanson County courthouse, although it looks like a gas station when this photo was taken (OHS, Alvin Rucker Collection)

Article
List of perps who would have stayed inside the two-story calaboose in Mountain Park, which had three cells, from the Kiowa County Democrat, October 1911.

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