Pottawatomie County Courthouse
Location of Shawnee, Oklahoma
|Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.|
|• Mayor||Wes Mainord|
|• Total||44.7 sq mi (115.7 km2)|
|• Land||42.3 sq mi (109.5 km2)|
|• Water||2.4 sq mi (6.2 km2)|
|Elevation||1,060 ft (323 m)|
|• Density||706/sq mi (272.7/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP codes||74801, 74802, 74804|
|FIPS code||40-66800 |
|GNIS feature ID||1097964 |
Shawnee is a city in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 29,857 at the 2010 census, a 4.0 percent increase from 28,692 at the 2000 census. The city is part of the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area; it is also the county seat of Pottawatomie County and the principal city of the Shawnee Micropolitan Statistical Area.
With access to Interstate 40, Shawnee is about 45 minutes east of the attractions in downtown Oklahoma City. To the east and northeast, the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System offers barges a water route to and from the Gulf of Mexico.
The area surrounding Shawnee was settled after the American Civil War by a number of tribes that the federal government had removed to Indian Territory. The Sac and Fox originally were deeded land in the immediate area but were soon followed by the Kickapoo, Shawnee, and Pottawatomi Indians. Descendants of these federally recognized tribes continue to reside today in and around Shawnee.
Over the course of the 1870s, Texas cattle drovers pushed their herds across Indian Territory; there were four major trails, with the West Shawnee trail crossing near present-day Kickapoo and Main streets. With the cattle drives, railroads were constructed through the territory, with the government forcing tribes to cede rights of way.
In addition, white settlers pressed for more land; they were encroaching on territories previously reserved by treaty to Native Americans. In 1871 a Quaker mission was established here. (The current Mission Hill Hospital is located near that site, now occupied by an historic building.) That first missionary, Joseph Newsom, opened a school in 1872. By 1876 a post office and trading post had been established a quarter mile west of the mission at what became known as Shawnee Town.
Beginning in April 1889, the United States government succumbed to the pressure that had built to open Native lands to white settlement. In addition, it was making policy intended to encourage Native Americans to assimilate to the culture of the mainstream society. By planning to allocate communal lands to individual households and extinguish tribal land claims, Congress also intended to prepare the territory for eventual statehood. The end of communal holdings was also intended to be the end of traditional tribal government, to be replaced by government with leaders appointed by the federal government.
Congress passed the Dawes Act to allocate the tribes' communal lands as 160-acre plots to individual households of members of the tribes. This was a standard plot, what the government believed would support a family subsistence farm. The acreage did not account for the specific conditions in Oklahoma, where considerable land was too dry to farm without irrigation. Tribal members were registered in a massive effort, with records known as the Dawes Rolls established for each tribe. The government declared that tribal land in excess of what was allocated to member households was "surplus" and available for settlement by non-Native Americans. It allocated that surplus land through land runs, essentially races by which people staked claims on land. In the process most tribes lost control of major parts of their communal lands, and were disrupted by the end of traditional governments and practices.
After the Land Run of 1891, four settlers (Etta B. Ray, Henry G. Beard, James T. Farrall, and Elijah A. Alley) each staked a quarter section in the proposed city of Brockway. Following an all-night discussion among early settlers who had their own ideas for the town's name, a compromise was reached. They named the town Shawnee after the tribe that had been living there.
Henry G. Beard claimed his quarter section of land in 1892. In the early spring of 1895, Mr. Beard entered into an agreement with the promoters of the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad Company, then extending its line from Memphis, Tennessee, to Amarillo, Texas, to build through his farm. In consideration he gave the railway company one-half his claim of one hundred and sixty acres. The road was built through his farm, and the City of Shawnee was founded on July 4, 1895.
For the first few years of the new century, Shawnee was undergoing a boom that came close to keeping pace with that of Oklahoma City. Located in the heart of cotton, potato, and peach country, Shawnee quickly became an agricultural center. By 1902, there were seven cotton gins in the immediate area and two cotton compresses. Between March 1901 and March 1902, 375 railroad cars of cotton product were shipped out of Shawnee, along with 150,000 bales of cotton. Feed stores, wagon yards, an overall factory, and an assortment of other businesses designed to serve the farmers as they brought their crops to market arose in Shawnee.
The population grew from 250 to 2,500 from 1892 to 1896. In 1903-1904 the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway extended service to town, after being given land inducements from Henry Beard and James Farrall.
Oklahoma Baptist University opened in 1910. Its first building, Shawnee Hall, was a gift from the citizens. St. Gregory's College (now St. Gregory's University) relocated to Shawnee from Sacred Heart in 1915, where it had been associated with a Catholic mission and school.
The buildup of industry and the armed forces for the Second World War, and in particular the construction of Tinker Air Force Base east of Oklahoma City, benefited Shawnee's economy. At various times, Tinker has employed as many as 3,000 Shawnee residents. After the war, three major manufacturing concerns were important to Shawnee's economy. Jonco, Inc., manufactured aviation products and employed nearly 1,000 in 1958. The Sylvania Corporation produced vacuum tubes and electrical parts in its Shawnee plant and employed another 1,000. The Shawnee Milling Company, which had rebuilt after a fire in the 1930s, employed nearly 300 workers.
Sonic, a well-known drive-in fast food chain, originally began in Shawnee in 1953 as the Top Hat. It was renamed to Sonic in 1959 after the owner, Troy N. Smith Sr., learned that the name Top Hat was already trademarked. The franchise expanded as a major drive-in food chain.
Beginning in the 1970s, Shawnee's economy improved with the addition of a number of industrial plants north of the city; they added approximately 1,000 jobs to the community base.
Downtown Shawnee is an excellent example of many Main Street communities that emerged in the late 19th century as part of the westward movement. Choosing not to organize its activity around a central square, as did many towns in New England, the South, and upper-Midwest, Shawnee represents a distinctly western model of urban development. Depending on railroad lines for its economic health, Shawnee's Main Street became the focal point for commercial, manufacturing, and entertainment activity beginning in 1895, four years after the region was opened for European-American settlement when authorities staged a land run.
Competing with Oklahoma City as the hub of central Oklahoma, Shawnee developed a broad base of economic activity. As late as 1910, city leaders hoped that one more rail line, a meat packing plant, and the state capital might be just enough to surge ahead of its rival 30 miles to the west. However, Shawnee came in a distant third in the statewide election to determine the capital. It lost both the railway and the meatpacking plant to Oklahoma City. The setbacks resulted in Shawnee being a small city built with services and retail developed around the activity of Main Street.
The railroad industry led the early strength of the economy. The Santa Fe Train Depot (still extant), with its unique architecture, serves as a visible reminder of the city's dependence on the train. During the early 20th century, the Rock Island Railroad and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad both had depots in the city. Shawnee's major employer was the Rock Island Railroad, which had located its main southwestern repair shops in the city in 1896. After nearly 40 years, the railroad moved its shops to El Reno in 1937, but two major buildings remain. The Santa Fe Railroad also had repair shops just south of the city. By 2000 only a large concrete tower remained, and it was demolished that year.
Serving as the region's agricultural hub during much of the first quarter of the 20th century, Shawnee provided the markets for significant numbers of farmers to sell their crops. Cotton was a major crop and Main Street was often lined with bales; mule sellers, peanut vendors, and peach growers all came to Shawnee. The building reputed to be the largest cottonseed oil mill in the Southwest is still extant; this same building later was adapted as a peanut factory to process another commodity crop. Seven cotton gins could be found in the city, including the first electric gin in the state, which is still extant. The Shawnee Flouring Mill, long integral to the city, still dominates the skyline of the downtown core. The existing building was rebuilt after a fire in 1934. Near Main Street are a coal gasification plant that dates to 1907 and a grain elevator that dates to the 1920s.
In 1980 Main Street was dominated by small retail establishments of which approximately 80 percent are housed in buildings that were built prior to statehood in 1907. The large majority of these buildings have had their facades significantly altered in order to adjust to the changing tastes in the 20th century. But one block (between Philadelphia and Union streets) remains substantially unaltered from the turn of the century. This block serves as a reminder of how life on Main Street functioned prior to statehood. The buildings still house stores for hardware store, western wear, and furniture.
One block west at Broadway and Main stands The Mammoth, in virtually unaltered condition; this was the city's best-known department store. The building is now use for Neal's Home Furnishings. Before World War II, Main Street also had numerous drugstores and soda fountains that served as the social gathering places for young people. Today, Owl Drug, in a building that has been operated as a drugstore since 1895, retains many of the old fixtures and as of 2012[update], appears much as it did during the 19th century.
Because Shawnee was a market center, it attracted salesmen. Main Street had two hotels before 1930: the Norwood was built in 1903 and remained substantially unaltered until it was severely damaged in a 1999 tornado. (This required its demolition.) Through the 1930s, many people from the region traveled to Shawnee by train to shop in its stores on Main Street and stay in the Norwood. Its former site has been developed as a small green park on the northwest corner of Broadway and Main.
The second hotel, the Aldridge, was built in 1928 at the peak of the wealth and growth generated by the oil boom of the 1920s. It is located at This also stimulated development of the four-story Masonic Temple Office Building, which was constructed in 1929 directly to the south. The State National Bank on Main Street was also constructed during the 1920s oil boom. The bank suffered a loss of business during the Depression in the 1930s and closed. This building has been adapted for use by a number of retail businesses and is known as the Mini-Mall.
Main Street has had a number of entertainment facilities. A convention hall attracted well-known celebrities of the 1910s and 1920s, such as Sarah Bernhardt. An opera house on Market and Main was the site of many memorable events. The best example still extant is the Ritz Theater, which was the oldest continuously operating theater in Oklahoma until the theater's closure in 1989. Another building still extant was the Bison Theater on the southwest corner of Philadelphia and Main streets. Today, the Bison Theater functions as an antique shop and recording studio.
Downtown Shawnee has lost many buildings of historical value, but still retains a significant number of resources. These provide a living reminder of the retail and human scale of Main Street in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Santa Fe Depot
Located at 614 E. Main in Shawnee is a unique railroad depot made of limestone blocks two to three-feet deep. With a 60 ft. turret, it takes on the slight appearance of a castle, contrasting with the surrounding architecture. It was built in 1902 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
The Pottawatomie County Historical Society began restoration of this depot in 1979, after it had stood vacant for two decades. The building was remodeled into a railroad and countywide museum, which opened on May 30, 1982. It contains numerous historical artifacts from the settlement of Shawnee, and also contains railroad memorabilia, and a gift shop.
Located midway between Shawnee and Tecumseh, Benson Park served the recreational needs of Shawnee residents for most of 30 years. It had a stop on the interurban streetcar that ran between the two towns to the park. Opened in 1907, the park had a swimming pool, skating rink, roller coaster, and large picnic areas.
Pottawatomie County Seat dispute
The residents of the county have been involved in a series of controversial elections to determine which city: Shawnee or Tecumseh, located seven miles south of Shawnee, would be the county seat of Pottawatomie County.
In 1909 Oklahoma was admitted as a state. That year, 8,024 people wanted the county seat moved from Tecumseh to Shawnee; 5,027 wanted it to remain in Tecumseh. The case was appealed and the higher courts decided bribery had figured in the election. Shawnee had offered use of the property now known as Woodland Park as a county court house site. In 1911, the people of Pottawatomie County went to the polls again and voted to keep the county seat at Tecumseh, by a majority of 7,749 to 5,927.
In October 1930 some 6,700 signatures were collected on a petition to ask Governor William J. Holloway for a referendum on the site of the county seat. A special election was held December 18, and 12,800 voters, a record number, went to the polls. Shawnee won the necessary two-thirds majority by a 90-vote margin. A recount cut this to 11. Tecumseh filed suit, alleging election fraud related to a $35,000 slush fund, Shawnee supporters providing liquor at the polls, college boys being allowed to vote, etc.
The Supreme Court this time favored Shawnee. For several years county officers transacted business in downtown Shawnee buildings. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal helped fund construction of a new county courthouse in Shawnee; it was built in Woodland Veteran's Memorial Park. July 6, 1935, Governor E.W. Marland dedicated the new building.
When Tecumseh was operating as the county seat, a brick courthouse was built in 1897. In 1930, Tecumseh lost the county seat status to Shawnee. The Tecumseh City Hall eventually was constructed, replacing the former courthouse at that site.
Shawnee is located at Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found. (35.342474, -96.933775). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.7 square miles (116 km2).About 42.3 square miles (110 km2) of it is land and 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) of it (5.37%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 28,692 people, 11,311 households, and 7,306 families residing in the city. The population density was 678.9 people per square mile (262.1/km²). There were 12,651 housing units at an average density of 299.3 per square mile (115.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.03% White, 4.06% African American, 12.82% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.72% from other races, and 4.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.72% of the population.
There were 11,311 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. About 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 15.2% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,659, and the median income for a family was $35,690. Males had a median income of $29,792 versus $20,768 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,676. About 13.8% of families and 17.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.
Shawnee is the home of St. Gregory's University, a Benedictine Catholic institution founded in 1875. Oklahoma Baptist University was founded in 1910. The city was chosen by the founders of OBU in part because two Baptist Conventions (one in Indian Territory and one in Oklahoma Territory) had merged in the period of Oklahoma being admitted as a state to the Union. The city of Shawnee was considered neutral territory (Shawnee had been neither in Indian Territory nor Oklahoma Territory, but was within the boundaries of the Potawatomi Nation).
Shawnee Public Schools Shawnee Public Schools operates preschool through twelfth grades.
- Shawnee High School-1001 N. Kennedy
- Shawnee Middle School-4300 N. Union
- Jim Thorpe Academy-1111 N. Kennedy
- Horace Mann Elementary-412 N. Draper
- Sequoyah Elementary-1401 E. Independence
- Jefferson Elementary-800 N. Louisa
- Will Rogers Elementary-2600 N. Union
- Shawnee Early Childhood Center-1831 N. Airport
Dependent School Districts Shawnee also has four dependent school districts
- North Rock Creek-42400 Garrett's Lake Road (K-8 only)
- South Rock Creek-17800 South Rock Creek Road (K-8 only)
- Pleasant Grove-1927 E. Walnut (K-8 only)
- Grove-2800 N. Bryan (K-8 only)
- Liberty Academy, located at 711 E. Federal, operates as a Christian private school and services Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grades. Established in 1978 as a ministry of Liberty Baptist Church, Liberty Academy seeks to provide a biblically-based education with college-oriented content in core courses.
The Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center, opened in 1981, now boasts 152,400 square feet (14,160 m2) of exhibit space, a 19,200-square-foot (1,780 m2) indoor arena that seats 1,000, an outdoor arena seating 7,500, and an RV park, all on 72 acres (290,000 m2). Since 1993, the O.E. Center has been the host of the International Finals Youth Rodeo (IFYR), the "richest youth rodeo in the world," with a total prize payout of over $250,000; over 1,100 young riders register for the event each year.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the ninth largest Native American tribe in the United States with 26,000 members, is headquartered between Shawnee and Tecumseh. Their Firelake Casino features over 125,000 square feet (11,600 m2) of gaming space and employs 1,800 people.
The Shawnee Regional Airport has a 6,000-foot (1,800 m) asphalt lighted runway with self-services available seven days a week. The airport is bordered by Independence St. to the south, Airport Road to the east, MacArthur St. to the north (with MacArthur St. leading under the runway in a tunnel constructed there), Leo St. in the northwest, and The Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center to the southwest.
There is an asphalt running track which encircles the airport along with a parking area on the west side of N. Airport Drive (N. Pottenger St.).
Shawnee has had an airport, private pilot training and air service since the 1920s. An air field was developed in the far northwest side of town on what had been the city farm where the fire department's horses were kept. May 7, 1919 the city commission discussed constructing an air field, with several locations offered but settled on the old city farm. Business and civic leaders cooperated with aviation companies in the construction of a modern airport. Graham Flying service operated the facility in the beginning then sold it to Curtiss Flying Service. An Aviation Committee of the Chamber of Commerce brought in several air shows including parachute jumps. In 1930 L.E. Regan purchased the Shawnee Municipal Airport and provided flying lessons, passenger trips and an aviation club. Shawnee was one of the hot spots in the state for aviation and was host to a visit from Amelia Earhart in 1931. The city was part of the Oklahoma Short Line Airways Company with air passenger service in and out daily. Then the war changed everything. Civilian fliers were automatically ground in December 1941 until they took an oath of allegiance, were fingerprinted and presented a birth certificate. City fathers went to Washington to offer Shawnee as a site for one of the many military training basis which would be needed as the country headed into World War II. Meanwhile the citizens of Shawnee overwhelmingly passed a bond issue for $200,000 to match the $285,000 allocated by the federal government to build a local base. Meanwhile, the Shawnee Municipal Airport was moved to a site north of town. April 1943 the erection of the Shawnee Navy base was begun and by August the first sailors began arriving. The base was first planned to be an auxiliary extension for the base at Norman but later was named as Shawnee Naval Air Station, a school for navigators. Then abruptly in March 1945 all Navy personnel and equipment was moved to the Clinton OK base. Shawnee's NAS was put in caretaker status and much of the equipment was sold off as surplus, much of it going to the City of Shawnee and it's citizens. The Shawnee Municipal Airport was returned to its original site in 1946 where it remains today.
On August 29, 2011, the City of Shawnee opened a new airport terminal building in front of about 75 guests, including several city leaders, state legislators and other government officials. The terminal, which replaced the much smaller terminal that was built in the 1950s, sports a more modern, two-story design, encompassing approximately 4,000 square feet of space. Governor of Oklahoma Mary Fallin was one of the featured speakers during the official opening. She praised Shawnee officials for their determination in getting the project started, funded and then finally completed, while also noting the efforts of several individuals such as former Shawnee Mayor Chuck Mills. Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission Director Victor Bird also addressed the crowd, stating that the Shawnee Regional Airport should now be able to attract even more business to the area. "This new facility is a far cry from what was here just one year ago. Now you have a terminal to be very proud of, one that can be a shining example to other airports throughout our state system," Bird said. The new terminal has a large lobby, pilot's lounge, a vending machine area, office space, a large conference room space upstairs that doubles as an observation deck to watch aircraft fly in and out of the airport, and other amenities. A $325,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Authority paid for a large sum of the more than $965,000 it took to build the new terminal building. The Aeronautics Commission also provided a $275,000 state grant to help in the construction costs, while the City of Shawnee paid for the remaining amount. From 2008 to 2011, the Shawnee Regional Airport received nearly $8 million in state and federal grants for various runway and taxiway improvements.
Sister City - Nikaho, Japan
At the southeastern edge of the airport is a commemorative Japanese International Peace Garden A "Bridge of Understanding" and a gravel area with several Oriental-style stone ornamentation. A plaque at the bridge states: "Shawnee - Nikaho/Bridge of Understanding/is dedicated to the memory of Mayor Pierre Taron/a strong proponent of Sister Cities." There is also a gazebo which is approximately 15 ft. by 18 ft. with a gravel and stone floor. In the center is a wood picnic table with benches for seating on each side. The roof is wood shingled and colorful flowers are planted around the outside of the gazebo. The gazebo is dedicated to the Sister Cities International program between Shawnee, OK and Nikaho, Japan. In 1987, a Japanese manufacturing company, TDK, opened a factory in Shawnee which locally manufactures ferrite magnets for electronic motors. The mayor of Shawnee at that time, Pierre F. Taron, Jr., sought to establish a Sister City relationship between Shawnee, Oklahoma, U.S.A. and Nikaho, Japan.
Each year, citizens of each town visit the other town, to renew ties, exchange gifts, and spend time learning about the other's culture. The delegations stay with local host families.
Museums and Theatre
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation operates a Cultural Heritage Center which houses tribal rolls, archives, and gift shop. The institution also interprets and presents exhibits of Potawatomi culture.
The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, located on the campus of St. Gregory's University, is one of the oldest museums in Oklahoma. Its collections include Egyptian, Medieval, Renaissance, Contemporary, and Native American.
The Potawatomie County Historical Society run a historical museum in the Santa Fe Depot downtown.
There are three theatre programs in Shawnee, which each organize a season worth of performance.
- Shawnee Little Theatre
- St. Gregory's University Theatre Program
- Oklahoma Baptist University Theatre Program
Parks & Recreation
The City of Shawnee maintains Shawnee Twin Lakes, which are located the west of the city.
Shawnee has numerous small parks within the city.
Woodland Veteran's Memorial Park - located between Union street on the east, Highland street to the north, and Broadway to the west. The park is two blocks north of Main street. First built in 1905, the park originally featured fountains and sunken gardens. The park was also the site of frequent Chautauqua meetings led by such people as William Jennings Bryan. In 1905, the Carnegie library was built on the southwest corner of the park (currently the District Attorney's office of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma). There is also a Veteran's memorial in the southeast corner as well that features a helicopter once used during the Korean Conflict. The park also features a large public swimming pool, built in the 1930s, used during the spring and summer months. Currently, there are plans underway to renovate the existing pool, construct a splash pad, and make parking lot improvements to the nearly 75-year-old community pool facility. The park also features two tennis courts which are located on the east side of the pool. This park has many old trees, a playground area, and is home to many special events throughout the year. Although there is no pavilion, there is a stage with metal bleachers. There are numerous stone and concrete picnic tables, some of them dating from over eighty years ago, a small sculpture of a bald eagle atop a sphere in the northeast corner of the park facing the intersection of Highland and Union, along with a miniature version of The Statue of Liberty in the northwest corner of the park facing the intersection of Highland and Broadway streets.
Briscoe Boy Scout Park - located at the intersection of Main and Pesotum streets, the park features one basketball court, four tennis courts, and one volleyball court along with a large playground for children.
Red Bud Park - located at the intersection of Beard and Dill streets, this small park was constructed in the 1920s. It features a large drainage ditch, many large trees, some playground equipment, and a wrought-iron entrance sign.
Shawnee is home to four wellness facilities.
- Troy & Dollie Smith Family YMCA
- Mabee Aerobic Center, on the campus of St. Gregory's University
- Recreation and Wellness Center, on the Campus of Oklahoma Baptist University
- Firelake Fitness Center, operated by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Shawnee has a rich sports history that reaches back to before statehood. First reports of a town team was in 1902. Since then there have been organized teams from sandlot to minor league teams. In the early days many businesses such as the Rock Island shops and civic organizations promoted in the Twilight League. In 1929 and '30 Shawnee hosted a minor league farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Robins. They were part of the Western Association and several of the players eventually played in the major leagues.
The Brooklyn Dodgers provided Shawnee with a Class D minor league in the Sooner State League from 1950 to 1957. The Hawks competed against McAlester, Ardmore, Pauls Valley, Lawton, Seminole as well as Sherman and Paris, Texas. The most well-known major leaguer to get his start with the Hawks was Don Demeter, a pitcher from Oklahoma City.
Shawnee also hosted some major leagues at Athletic Field (now called Memorial Park) in the 1930s. In 1937 the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians played a spring practice game. The event was brought on because one of the Giants leading pitchers, Carl Hubbell, was from the nearby community of Meeker. The following year the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago White Sox also played a game in Shawnee. Cy Blanton, who lived in Shawnee and had played for the Robins, and Paul and Loyd Waner from nearby McLoud, were also members of the Giants' squad.
At least 33 Major League Baseball players have connections to Shawnee, either by birth, or having played on a local team or lived in town at one time.
Shawnee High School has also had a colorful sports history. Records from as early as 1909 are found for football and baseball. Over the years the football team has won the state title three times, the most recent was in 2003. Several SHS grads have gone on to play NFL football over the years, most notedly Darrien Gordon, a 1989 grad, who played in three Super Bowls, one with the San Diego Chargers and two with the Denver Broncos. Just since the year 2000 SHS has won five state championships, one in girls' basketball, two in boys' cross country, one in boys' track and one in girls' track. The high school provides excellent facilities with Jim Thorpe Stadium, Memorial Park, softball field and the Shawnee Performing Arts Center combo which includes a state-of-the art gym.
Shawnee offers youth sports of any variety either through the YMCA or the Shawnee Sports Association. There are also three golf courses, several tennis courts, two bowling alleys, Lion's Club baseball park and a softball complex at Firelake. Shawnee has hosted the Shawnee Warriors, a semi-pro football team that competed in the Oklahoma Metro Football League. The first season, they competed as the Millers, affiliated with the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz, a minor league pro arena team that season.
Sister city relations
- Dan Boren, United States representative from Oklahoma
- Joe Frank Cobb, born in Shawnee, actor, original "fat boy" in the "Our Gang" series
- Patrick Cobbs, running back and special teams player for Miami Dolphins
- Doug Combs, Vice Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Oklahoma
- Leroy Gordon Cooper, astronaut
- Samantha Crain, songwriter, musician
- Melodie Crittenden, singer
- Jeremy Dawson, keyboardist for Shiny Toy Guns
- Bryn Edelston, American-Australian socialite, actress
- Robert Galbreath, Jr., drilled first oilwell in Glenn Pool Field.
- Gregory Gerrer, monk, artist, founder of Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art
- Darrien Gordon, pro football player with Chargers, Broncos and Raiders, played in three Super Bowls
- Prerna Gupta, entrepreneur
- Wade Hayes, country singer
- Brad Henry, Governor of Oklahoma 2003-11
- Robert H. Henry, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals judge
- Tim Holt, actor, died in Shawnee
- Robert L. Lynn, college president
- Vicky McGehee, songwriter
- Gregori Chad Petree, singer for Shiny Toy Guns
- Brad Pitt, actor, producer
- Ross Porter, longtime sportscaster for Los Angeles Dodgers
- Burton Rascoe, went to Shawnee High School, author, columnist, critic - biography "Before I Forget", details life growing up in Shawnee
- Robert Reed, attended grade school at Woodrow Wilson, actor, Mike Brady on "The Brady Bunch"
- Ron Sharp, member of the Oklahoma State Senate from the 17th district
- Troy Smith, restaurateur, developer of Sonic Drive-ins, opened first one in his hometown of Shawnee in 1959
- Kris Steele, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives
- Jim Thorpe Olympian, pro football, baseball, basketball player, named Athlete of Century, born eastern edge of Pottawatomie County, often referred to Shawnee as his hometown
- Krista Weedman Tippett, journalist, author, host of public radio's On Being
- William O. Wooldridge, first Sergeant Major of the Army
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- U.S. Department of the Navy, Shawnee News-Star
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