Weleetka is a town in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma, United States. It is about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Okemah, the county seat. The name is a Creek word meaning "running water." The population was 998 at the 2010 census, a decline of 1.6 percent from 1,014 at the 2000 census.
Location of Weleetka, Oklahoma
Weleetka was once a major railroad town, serving as the division point for the Fort Smith and Western Railway. All train crews changed out in Weleetka; the town also housed major shops and repair facilities for the steam locomotives. Headquartered in Fort Smith, Arkansas, the Fort Smith and Western was a railroad that operated in the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The railroad's main line extended 217 miles, from Ft. Smith through Weleetka to Guthrie, Oklahoma. The Fort Smith and Western owned a subsidiary, St. Louis, El Reno and Western, which began operating 42 miles between Guthrie and El Reno, Oklahoma in June 1904. The railroad also acquired 32.5 miles of trackage rights over the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad from Fallis, Oklahoma to Oklahoma City.
cThe railroad supported much of the business and hotels of the city in the first half of the 1900s. Trains entering town from the East were switched and broken down in Weleetka, and dispatched northwest for either Oklahoma City, Guthrie or El Reno. Due to the railroad yard in Weleetka, the single westbound train could thus become two westbound trains. The reverse was true for eastbound trains. Weleetka was vital to the life of the railroad. The railroad provided regular passenger service and at one time boasted through Pullman sleeping cars to and fromSt. Louis and Oklahoma City. The route of the FS&W served no major population centers, but did serve major coal mining operations in eastern Oklahoma at Coal Creek, Bokoshe, and McCurtain. Other towns served included Crowder, Okemah, Boley, Prague, Vernon, Indianolaand Meridian. A major portion of the road's freight traffic was metallurgical-grade coal from San Bois Coal Company mines near McCurtain. As coal traffic declined, an oil discovery near Okemah brought additional traffic, which postponed the abandonment of the railroad. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad withdrew trackage rights between Fallis and Oklahoma City in January 1939 after FS&W defaulted on rental fees, and when the Fort Smith and Western ceased operations on February 9, 1939, Weleetka lost its major employer.