To most, Greenfield, Oklahoma is a nothing town. It always has been, it always will be. But to some Greenfield was, and is, home. And up until I was was 15, it was my home as well.
What was once a vital, prospering town when it was founded in 1892 has now become a virtual ghost town with the latest census siting less than 90 people living in the .1 square mile area. (Yes, it’s really that small.) But it wasn’t always so desolate.
Established at noon on April 19, 1892, Greenfield, Oklahoma was founded when the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation was opened for non-Indian occupation.
Named in honor of the first postmaster, William Henry Greenfield, the town’s first post office was established on January 30, 1900.
The Enid and Anadarko Railway (later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway) built the first railroad line in 1901. Two freight and four passenger trains served the community on a daily basis.
Greenfield provided a trade center for the surrounding agricultural area. The town had two hardware stores, four general merchandise stores, garages, filling stations, cafés, a cotton gin, an elevator, and a bank.
The first bank, established in 1908, failed and closed in 1923. Another bank, founded in 1924, was later sold to Watonga State Bank.
Early-day newspapers included the Greenfield Hustler and the Greenfield Booster.
In 1908 in anticipation of an oil boom, several other businesses opened, including a hotel, a general store, a pool hall, and a butcher shop. Settlers organized Baptist, Nazarene, and Presbyterian congregations.
Twelve students attended classes during the winter months in the first schoolhouse. The teacher’s salary, usually fifty dollars, was paid on a voluntary basis. Eventually, a four-room building was constructed and enlarged as additional space was needed.
A high school was erected in 1921 and a grade school in 1930. At that time there were twelve teachers. The Greenfield schools held their last commencement in May 1991.
No census was made until 1940,when the residents numbered 303. In 1960 Greenfield had 128 residents. With a population of 123 at the turn of the twenty-first century, Greenfield served as a “bedroom” community.
As you can see, the population declined sharply. And when the school system shut down in 1991, the numbers fell even more drastically.
Going back to my hometown and seeing it as it is now was both shocking and heartbreaking because I remember what it used to be.
I was shy, quiet and my nose was always in a book. (Not much has changed there huh?)
But I remember riding my bike to school and all around town. I remember my friends. (My best friend was named Jessica a.k.a. Punky). I remember the basketball games, the track meets, the school plays, and softball games.
So much has changed over the last 20 years, the town is almost unrecongizable.
Here are a few pics of my hometown now:
My old house
The post office
The town park (this is a new addition by the way)
The only remaining store in the town. (Can you believe my friends and I used to climb to the very top of these towers?)
My grade school
My high school
It’s in a sad state now. Nothing like it used to be of course.
I hate to see how much my hometown has fallen. How lonely and forgotten it is. But I will always have the memories of how it used to be. I will always remember the good times. And I will never forget where I came from.