Wright City was once home to a Weyerhaeuser plant; it closed permanently in mid March 2009 due to the slowed lumberindustry. Weyerhaeuser was Wright City's economic power engine, and its closing affected 165 employees.
|Wright City, Oklahoma|
Location of Wright City, Oklahoma
Wright City is located at (34.063789, -95.003551).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all of it land. Just east of Wright City is a small community referred to as Herndon.
Wright City, formerly known as Bismark and Wright, is located ten miles northeast of Valliant and two miles north of Little River on State Highway 98 in western McCurtain County. The Choctaw Lumber Company, a subsidiary of the Dierks Lumber and Coal Company, founded the town around 1909 as the site for a major processing plant that utilized abundant timber harvested from the region's virgin forests.
On March 24, 1910, a post office charter was issued for Bismark, a name chosen by the Dierks brothers, the company founders, for a Nebraska town where they formerly operated a lumber outlet. The name of the town and post office changed to Wright during World War I because of public association of the Bismark name with that of the former German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck.
The new name was chosen to honor William Wiley Wright, the county's first war casualty. On May 18, 1920, the name was altered to Wright City.
The "company town" included a sawmill, planer, railroad maintenance shops, housing, and stores, a bank, hotel, and ice factory, and provision for fire and police protection. The lumber conglomerate also provided land for construction of a school and churches. The company, then known as Dierks Forests, Inc., divested itself of residential and other properties unrelated to the primary mission on August 13, 1965. In 1966 the town achieved incorporation and elected its first officials. As Wright City was no longer just a "mill town," citizens took the initiative to create an independent, distinctive municipality. A business district was developed, utilities were upgraded and expanded, and new schools, a community building, and a medical center were built.
In 1969, the Weyerhaeuser Company of Tacoma, Washington, purchased the Dierks's holdings, including the Wright City production complex and continued the operations, which remained the primary economic base of the community until March 2009 when all operations of the mill ceased due to low demand for lumber and the worsening economy. The town population initially was included in a large census tract and not counted separately until 1950 when the residents numbered 1,121. In the 1920s the population was estimated to be less than five hundred. In 1980 the count stood at 1,168 but by 1990 had decreased to 836. At the turn of the twenty-first century the town had 848 residents.
In 1956, events in the city raised the eyebrows of newspaper readers around the country. A drought drove pig-herding squatters from nearby hills to release seven or eight hundred hogs - all of them "rail thin" and starving - to graze near the city. Razorbacks ate flower gardens and had to be kicked out of the drugstore. In the Methodist Church, a sermon was stopped by the noise of nine pigs fighting in the basement.
Wright City hosts one of the oldest continuous rodeos in Oklahoma, known as Little Cheyenne, held each July 1 through 4. In 1933 a few local cowboys started it as a rodeo, barbecue, and dance. Since 1935, the American Legion, William Wright Post Number 74, has sponsored the event.