ABOUT THE REGION
Today, Oklahoma continues to benefit not only from its cultural diversity, but also from its wealth of natural resources. Oklahoma has a land area of 69,919 square miles and ranks 18th in the nation in size. It is the third largest natural gas-producing state in the nation and it enjoys the status of ranking fourth in the nation in the production of wheat as well as cattle and calf production. It can also boast in its pecan, peanut, and peach productions. Oklahoma has more man-made lakes than any other state, with over one million surface areas of water and 2,000 more miles of shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined. Twenty-four percent of the state is covered by forests and it has four mountain ranges including the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas, and the Kiamichis.
The town of Lawton was founded August 6, 1901, when the last of the Indian lands in the Oklahoma Territory, the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache reservation, was opened by the federal government for settlement. The Lawton town site was located on a section of prairie south of Fort Sill, a military post which had been set up as a cavalry fort in 1869. Lots within the 320-acre town site itself were sold at public auction. In 1972, voters adopted a charter and the council-manager system, which is still in place today. By 1950, population had increased to almost 35,000 and mushroomed to over 80,000 by 1990. Much of its growth came with the establishment of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill. Throughout the years Lawton and Fort Sill have worked in cooperation to become one of the finest military communities in the country.
The greater Lawton region includes numerous smaller towns and communities that all support the emerging employment base and the growing retail sector of Lawton. In recent years, Lawton area has played a major role in Oklahoma’s economic growth. Located strategically between Dallas, Texas and Oklahoma City, Lawton continues to experience new investment and expansion in new jobs with industry and in new service/retail development. There are 3 major military installations within a one hour drive of Lawton and numerous industrial parks with available properties for development.
Lawton has become the regional employment and retail center for Southwest Oklahoma. Lawton supports a retail community of almost 350,000 people, all within a 45 minute drive. The greater Lawton region includes smaller towns of Cache, Duncan, Altus, Geronimo, Walters, Elgin, Chickasha, Marlow, Rush Springs and Wichita Falls, TX.