Drawn by the fertile bluegrass prairie and the huge coal beds beneath, settlers from all over began to gather to form a community. The year was 1897, and this was the beginning of what is now Collinsville.
The new, settlement (located about one mile east of the present town site on the R. E Graham allotment) was without a name for a short time. However, the citizens persuaded Dr. A. H. Collins, a surveyor and engineer, to move his post office (located on his allotment about two miles north of Owasso), to the new town site. To get Collins to move it, it was promised that the new town would be named after him. On May 26, 1897, the Collins post office was established, then on June 16, 1898, the name was changed to Collinsville.
"In accordance with the court proceedings held at Muscogee, Indian Territory Northern District, on April 1, 1899, in which the Petition for Incorporation of the Town of Collinsville, Indian Territory, was granted, the same bearing the Honorable Judge William Springer's signature." (Taken from the Collinsville News, Volume 1, Number 1, May 11, 1899.)
For almost two years, the community of Collinsville (Old Town) flourished. Charley "Jack" Taylor was the first mayor. EB. Dunaway and A. J. Clawson established the first store in town. Clawson was also postmaster.
In the summer of 1899, the Sante Fe Railroad was built through the present site of Collinsville. Shortly after the railroad was built most of the residents of Old Town moved to the present location. Present day Collinsville is located from 97th East Avenue on the west to 145th East Avenue on the east, and 126th Street North on the South to 166th Street North on the north. U.S. Highway 75 is located four miles west of downtown and surrounding residential areas.
Town Site Planned
The Collinsville town site was laid out on the Thad Morris allotment (south of 146th Street North) and the John French allotment (north of 146th Street North). "Uncle Rod" Perry and John Detwiler built the first business building in the new town. This was a general merchandise store and restaurant and was erected at the northwest corner of 9th and Main.
In the early 1900s, natural gas was discovered near Collinsville. At full capacity the plant employed 40 to 50 men and was one of the largest brick plants in the state. Bricks from this plant were shipped all over the United States. In 1913, these bricks were used to pave the main streets of Collinsville (some 50 blocks), as well as many of the brick buildings erected, plus several brick homes in Collinsville.
An early boom for Collinsville came with the smelter industry in 1911. The Chamber of Commerce induced the Prime Western and Bartlesville Zink smelters to locate there. Large numbers of people moved to Collinsville at the time to live and work. The town was one of the firsts in Indian Territory to have a municipally owned light and power plant. Many buildings were built in the early boom days (population 8,000) including a three-story high school in 1909, city hall in 1913, and the Carnegie Library in 1917.
Residents Move In
Many of the residences built in the early 1900s remain in Collinsville today. Collinsville's earliest residences were built in an area bounded by Walnut, Spring, 5th, and 16th Streets. Eleven new subdivisions totaling 796 lots were added to the town during the early stages of development.
- Collinsville Historical Society (1998)
Photo courtesy of Ivan Hersh Family