Significant Dates in El Reno’s History

1862 – General Jesse L. Reno (For whom El Reno, Fort Reno and Reno City were named) Killed in Battle of South Mountain, Md., in the Civil War.
1867 – First Cattle herds came up Chisholm Trail.
1869 – Cheyenne & Arapaho Agency at Darlington opened by Quaker Agent Brinton Darlington.
1875 – Last great Indian battle in Oklahoma fought around Sand Hill near Darlington.
1876 – Fort Reno opened across river from Darlington to protect that Indian agency.
1878 – Dull Knife heads attempt of Northern Cheyenne’s held at Darlington in attempt to escape and return to their old homes in the north.
1879 – Cheyenne Transporter started at Darlington – first newspaper in western Oklahoma.
1879 – Telegraph line built from Fort Sill to Fort Reno and later converted to phone line. This was first telephone in Oklahoma (1884).
1884 – 1889 – Opening of Old Oklahoma (east half of Canadian County included, el Reno townsite opened in May.
1890 – Rock Island railway built in from north, first train arriving in December.
1892 – Choctaw railway (later rock Island railway) opened to Oklahoma City from here.
1892 – Opening of Cheyenne & Arapaho lands in western Oklahoma (including west half of Canadian County).
1898 – Fort Reno becomes regimental headquarters in Spanish-American War.
1900 – Joseph G. McCoy, daddy of the Chisholm Trail, ran for Congress from here but was defeated.
1901 – World’s greatest lottery: Drawing for Kiowa-Comanche lands held at Irving School grounds with 100,000 people present. Included East and West Walnut townships in Canadian County.
1905 – Elk’s Lodge (Oklahoma Territorial building at St. Louis World’s Fair) moved here and rebuilt on South Rock Island.
1906 – Rock Island headquarters and shops located here. Passenger station built.
1907 – North half of Southern Hotel built. High-wheeler auto plant (Pioneer Auto) built here. George Bellamy elected as first Lieutenant Governor.
1908 – Fort Reno changed from an Infantry Post to Remount Station.
1909 – Cheyenne & Arapaho Agency moved to Concho.
1910 – Masonic Home established at Darlington.
1917 – First Red Cross Canteen in US established at Rock Island Station to service troop trains. Canteen later moved to Legion Park and then in 1975 moved back to the Station.
1917 – 1919 – WWI rages and Fort Reno trains thousands of horses for cavalry mounts, artillery and for transfport of supplies.
1922 – Masonic Home moves to Guthrie from Darlington.
1923 – Masonic Home sold to State of Oklahoma and converted to a Drug Addicts Rehabilitation Farm. It closed down as a failure 18 months later.
1927 – El Reno changes from councilmanic to city manager form of government.
1927 – County votes million-dollar highway bond issue and thus retained routing of U.S. 66, and later I-40, through the county.
1932 – U.S. Reformatory started here. Opened in 1933.
1941 – WWII opens and Fort Reno becomes big horse and mule purchasing depot.
1943 – Mechanization forces abandonment of use of horses and concentration of buying and training mules for use in swaps of southeast Asia. Three thousand horses sold in three days in big auction sale.
1944 – Charles Kefelman, aviation hero, killed in action in South Pacific.
1945 – El Reno celebrates victory over Germans and Japanese.
1948 – Fort Reno discontinued and reservation transferred to Department of Agriculture to become livestock experiment station.
1956 – Construction of I-40 launched in county/country.
1968 – Bond Issue approved for opening of Canadian Valley Vo-Tech here.
1969 – El Reno Junior College bond issue approved.
1969 – Interstate 40 highway opens to Oklahoma City.
1969 – El Reno opens new city hall complex.
1973 – El Reno Junior College becomes a state institution.
1974 – Canadian Square shopping center started.
1978 – First store opens in Country Club Shopping Center.