Canadian County Historical Society Museum Information

Chartered in 1968

Grand Opening Fall 1970

History taken from Jan. 1970 Bulletin

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Canadian County’s Name

How did Canadian County receive her name?  That question has often been asked, and the general attitude was that she was named for the two Canadian Rivers which pass through her borders – North and South Canadian.  However, that leads to the question of how the rivers received the Canadian name.  Two theories have been advanced.  One is that the rivers received their names from the early Canadian or French explorers who floated their canoes down the Mississippi river and then moved up the Arkansas river to explore the Canadians.  This would seem quite a logical explanation.  However, other scholars point out that Canadian could well be a derivation of the Mexican word “Canadensis” meaning canyon.  In the upper reaches of the river many canyons are to be found.  The two rivers originate in Northeast New Mexico, traverse central Oklahoma and merge in the eastern part of the state before emptying into the Arkansas.  The east half of the county was opened in the original opening of 1889 as part of the unassigned Indian lands.  The west half was opened in the Cheyenne-Arapaho opening of 1892.  The county ranks as the top agricultural county in Oklahoma.