8:12 AM 8/8/2001 Elizabeth S. Miller adds:
"Macomb. In central Pottawatomie County. Post office was established May 29,1903, and name changed to Macomb, July 16, 1915. Named for J[ohn]. de N[avarre]. Macomb, Santa Fe Railway engineer (George H. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names, U. of OK Press: 1965)."

Oklahoma's Strangely
Named Towns

Gary Horcher

RealVideo version

Macomb, OK: Air date April 3, 1999

Tonight we take a trip down to Pottowatomie county, to a place where cotton used to be king.

There aren't too many boom towns in Oklahoma anymore, but folks looking for peace and quiet are moving back to a little town called Macomb.

But the town wasn't always so serene. In fact, in 1905 the word got out that cotton was making people rich. Folks flocked here and they built a railroad to ship the bails out. The first man newcomers met was a conductor named McComb [John de Navarre Macomb III (1843-1918), Santa Fe Railway engineer],John de Navarre Macomb III's family tree and the name stuck [when the town was renamed Macomb on July 16, 1915].

The railroad is what made the town. Macomb grew so quickly they had to get a US Marshal in town to keep a little law and order. Visitors to this cotton capital tended to get a little rowdy so they built one-room accommodations for one and a half to two men to sleep uncomfortably through the night. Legend has it that no one every broke out of the town's old steel cell. But from time-to-time folks who lived here would try to break in!

Almost as quickly as the little town boomed, the dust bowl killed it. Max Hunt, the town's postmaster, says that when the cotton went out, so did the people. "Everybody started moving out during the depression years."

The once majestic bank that held cash from cotton now stands in historic ruins. In the 20's robbers shot their way out with bags of money. Today, few would be caught dead in here. But even though the railroad's gone, the sidewalks reclaimed by the earth, and once proud buildings stand tattered with age, there's a renaissance in Macomb. Folks are moving back. It may never be what it once was, but this is sanctuary from city life, giving people a chance to get out to rural America and see what it's all about.

Tune in to News 9 next Saturday to see where Gary travels next!

Working in the Spirit of Oklahoma

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