Petrolia Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
My 100K bike ride also took me through a small town called Petrolia. Petrolia is at the crossing of State highways 79 and 148, fourteen miles north of Henrietta and fifteen miles east of Wichita Falls in northern Clay County. The establishment of the community dates from 1904, when the Wichita Falls and Oklahoma Railway was built through the area. The site was named Petrolia after a town in Pennsylvania because of the nearby oilfields. The original community in the area was called Oil City.
The sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal in Clay County, but alcohol was freely sold on the streets of early Petrolia. Prostitution and gambling were rampant. The community continued to grow, especially with the discovery of natural gas in the field in 1907. By 1914 the community had churches of five communions, the Continental State Bank, a theater, a water works, telephone connections, and a newspaper, the Petrolia Enterprise. The population was 517. Petrolia reached its highest population, 914, in the mid-1920s and was incorporated by 1930. Afterward, the population dropped to its nadir, 597, in the 1940s, when it had twenty businesses. In 1943 the Wichita Falls and Oklahoma Railway tracks were abandoned, and Petrolia no longer had a railroad.
In 2000 the population was 782. Petrolia also just approved the sales of alcoholic beverages to again be sold in town.