Man's enduring search for quick riches and hidden wealth led directly to the rush for black gold in the Indian Territory at the turn of the twentieth century. By 1907, when the Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory joined to become the state of Oklahoma, the era of the big-money oil industry had been launched. During the first four decades of the twentieth century, Oklahoma produced four-billion barrels of crude valued at over $5 billion-more value than all minerals extracted from California or Colorado.
This massive rush also created a new generation of boom towns, attracting a myriad of honest merchants, gamblers, workers, thieves, millionaires and prostitutes who competed side-by-side for their share of the riches. From this turmoil came both thriving communities and ghost towns. Ponca City and Kay County Boom Towns captures that exciting era in vintage photographs and anecdotes of the brothels and burning oil fields, the lawmen and outlaws, and the businesses and workers who made up these boom towns.