Location of Erick, Oklahoma
Erick is located at (35.213549, -99.869821),elevation 2,060 feet (628 m).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), all of it land.
On I-40, Erick is roughly midway from Asheville, North Carolina, to Barstow, California.
Erick is the second-closest Oklahoma settlement to the Texas border on US 66 or I-40 (tinyTexola, Oklahoma is at the border, seven miles to the west).
Erick was established in 1901 as an agricultural community on what would become the edge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was located on the National Old Trails Road, one of the predecessors to the 1926 numbered US Highway system. Large segments of that road became part of U.S. Route 66.
The city prospered briefly in the pre-war era when natural gas deposits were found in the area.On July 14, 1930 the Frederick (Maryland) Post published "Reports received here by Sheriff W.K McLemore, Wheeler County, said negroes were driven out of Erick Oklahoma last night and from Texola Oklahoma today by a mob seeking reprisal for the death of Mrs. Harry Vaughn, wife of a farmer in a nearby county in Texas, who was beaten to death Friday by a Negro."
Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939, was poorly received locally. According to Erick city clerk Nyla Tennery, "I can remember plainly when the book came out my parents and other people who stayed here were just real upset. That book gave all Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma people a shiftless, bad name, like that was the only kind of people who were here.