Owl Grocery in Lehigh, 2012
Location of Lehigh, Oklahoma
Lehigh began as the first mining camp in Coal County, Oklahoma. It was originally named Boone, but the name was changed to Lehigh. The new name was taken from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, a coal mining region. A post office opened in Lehigh on April 4, 1882, and several railroads built lines to Lehigh, including the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway, and the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. During the late-19th and early-20th centuries, Lehigh was a growing settlement which greatly profited from the coal mines surrounding it. During the 1910s and 1920s, the demand for coal lessened as railroads switched to oil-powered trains. The mines eventually closed, and in the early 1920s, boll weevils destroyed the cotton crops in the area.Many businesses closed, and people left the town.The Merchants National Bank Building in Lehigh is the only structure that remains from the once prosperous downtown area.
Lehigh is located in southeastern Coal County at U.S. Route 75 passes through the city, leading north 5 miles (8 km) toCoalgate, the county seat, and southeast 9 miles (14 km) to Atoka. (34.470084, -96.218578).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), of which 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (2.47%) is water.