Snyder was started just to show that "It could be done!"
Two construction companies, Blackwell, Enid and Southwestern Railroad, running
north and south, and the Oklahoma City and Western Railroad, running east and
west had laid out right of ways that crossed at the site of Mountain Park..
There were problems over the land, in Mountain Park and the costs to the people.
(See more under Mountain Park) Both companies eventually decided for one reason
or another, to not build through Mountain Park. Instead a new townsite was proved
up two miles south. After much rangling, including as far as going to court,
plans were completed for the opening of the new town.
As soon as it became definately known that Snyder was to be established, a large
number of businesses and residential houses were moved to Snyder, but not without
a hard fight and some bloodshed. The first business in town was a saloon built
by J. W. (Buttermilk John ) Davis.
In 1905, Snyder was hit by a gigantic tornado, doing enormous property damage
and killing 113 people. It hit in the evening when everyone was at home. This
accounts for the high death toll. Doctors and others rushed to help out at Snyder,
from all over the county and state. Snyder quickly rebuilt the destroyed area
and progress continued.
A great injustice was done to the town by the newspaper reporters at this time,
however, and the effects of the damage done were slow in wearing away. Unscrupulous
and wholly imaginative writers told stories how, when the town was built, an
old Indian had told the founders that tornados would blow away any town that
was built there. The story was obviously untrue, yet it was widely published
and had considerable influence.
Other stories were told of how tornadoes followed the mountains and diagrams
were used to show that the town was in a path of tornados. The scientific inacurracy
of allsuch stories were disregarded, the diagrams and fake explanations were
published and many people were led to believe Snyder was actually in a tornado
The town was first built with frame buildings typical of the country. In 1906
a fire destroyed nearly all of the frame buildings on the east side of Main
Street. Reconstruction was started at once and in their places were built permanent
fire-proof buildings. In 1909 another fire took out the buildings on the west
side. These, too, were quickly rebuilt.
Growth of Snyder has been constant, though slow, through the years. Old buildings
have gradually been replaced by modern brick structures and the general appearance
of the town has been improved.
In May, 1905 a tornado struck Snyder OK leaving a trail of death and destruction.
The superintendent of Snyder Schools, Professor Charles Landon Hibbard and
family was killed except for two sons, Lloyd and Edward. Edward's son, Charles
(Chuck/Dick) Landon also has passed March, 2003, losing his battle with cancer.
This Memorial page is dedicated to him and to cancer patients everywhere. "Chuck's
Hats For Chemo" is a project started by Chuck's wife Ginny Hibbard. Please
visit the memorial and read how you can help. This is a worthwhile project,
not only for Kiowa County, but any county, anywhere. Help spread the word about
"Chuck's Hats For Chemo" and help show chemo patients, "someone
cares!" This article about the tornado was in the Snyder
Signal-Star on May 12, 1905. This
page has links to other newspaper accounts.
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