It is home to The Pork Group, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods; the Holdenville State Fish Hatchery, one of four operated by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation; theDavis Correctional Facility, a 1,600 bed medium security prison operated by the Corrections Corporation of America; and the Creek Nation Casino, one of many operated by theMuscogee (Creek) Nation.
|Motto: (I or We) Believe in Holdenville - unofficial|
Location of Holdenville, Oklahoma
Holdenville traces its origin to a Creek settlement called echo, which means deer in English. George B. Fentress operated a general store there. A post office called "Fentress" opened there on May 24, 1895. During the same year, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (CO&G), later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, built a line from McAlester to Oklahoma City. On November 15, 1895, the Fentress post office was renamed Holdenville, in honor of J. F. Holden, an employee of the CO&G. The town of Holdenville was incorporated by order of the U.S. District Court at Muskogee. D. J. Red was elected mayor at the first municipal election, held December 27, 1898. The first city council meeting was held January 4, 1899.
The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad was constructed in the 1890s from Arkansas to Indian Territory. Between 1895 and 1897, the construction passed through the Creek Nation. During this period, a railroad camp was set up to service the railroad construction.The railroad workers called the camp "Holden" in honor of J.F. Holden, the Auditor and Traffic Manager of Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad. In 1895, a request was delivered to the U.S. Congress to establish a post office in Holden. The request was rejected because the name was too similar to another post office called "Holder."The proposed name was then altered to "Holdenville" and was accepted.In 1898, settlers petitioned Indian Territory to incorporate Holdenville as a town. A hearing was granted and on November 14, 1898, Holdenville was incorporated as part of Indian Territory.Upon ratification in 1907, Article 17 § 8 of the Oklahoma State Constitution designated Holdenville as the county seat of Hughes County.
The St. Louis, Oklahoma and Southern Railway (later the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) constructed a line between 1900 and 1901 from Sapulpa to the Red River that passed through Holdenville.
An election was held on June 27, 1908, to determine the permanent county seat. Contending communities were Holdenville, Wetumka, Calvin, and Lamar. None of the candidates won a majority, so a runoff election was held on September 10, 1908, between the two top vote-getters, Holdenville and Wetumka. This time, Holdenville won the election.
The First Annual Oklahoma State Association of Free Will Baptist's Meeting (1908) was held on the 800 block of South Creek Street in Holdenville, at what is now the First Free Will Baptist Church of Holdenville. It later grew into a state-wide organization serving thousands of Oklahomans and is headquartered in Moore, Oklahoma.
Since May 1934 nearby Lake Holdenville has offered outdoor recreational activities.
Holdenville celebrates the annual Fall Festival on the first Saturday in October. The Festival includes a parade, classic car show, and an open air market fair with dozens of booths and vendors. The Fall Festival was originally called Hog Wild Day to celebrate Tyson's contribution to Holdenville's economy, and featured a hog-calling contest, a pigtail contest, a pig-out pie-eating contest, and a greased pig contest.
Stroup Park is the primary recreation area in Holdenville. It contains a playground, baseball diamond, public swimming pool, basketball court,tennis court, skate park, two pavilions, and numerous picnic tables. There is also a one-mile walking path, duck pond, and a smaller adjacent park called Rose Park which mainly consists of flower gardens.
Holdenville City Lake, in addition to providing 80% of the drinking water in Hughes County, is the area's main source of aquatic and woodland recreation. The lake is surrounded by campsites, some of which are equipped with RV hook-ups. There is also a public bathouse with restrooms and showers. The lake has two docks, one is covered and reserved for fishing, the other is open-air and used for boat docking. Boats and jet skis are allowed on the lake, but only in certain areas. Tubing, knee-boarding and water skiing are allowed depending on the water level. There are also numerous ATV trails in the vicinity.