Thousands of people rushed into barren hill country and founded a dozen oil field towns. Drumright, Oklahoma was the heart of this new field and has survived for more than 96 years.
The town sprang up nearly overnight in 1912 after wildcatter Tom Slick struck oil on the farm of Frank Wheeler, causing a rush of speculators, oilfield workers, and merchants into the area.
The town was named for Aaron Drumright, a farmer and later local businessman whose farm was part of the town site. Drumright and nearby Cushing were at the center of a large, productive oilfield in the 1910s and 1920s.In 1919, a riot broke out in Drumright during a strike by telephone workers. The town’s mayor and chief of police were locked in the town jail by rioters. The Governor of Oklahoma sent six militia units to town to restore order.
Beginning with the Depression of the 1930s, the town declined as oil production waned, and a large refinery at the edge of town closed in the 1950s.
Today, oil and agriculture are the largest local industries. Drumright is also home to an area vocational and technical school that is a large employer. Most recently, a winery has opened in a historic building that once served as a school for refinery workers.
Tornadoes have caused loss of life and property damage in Drumright on at least two occasions: on April 2, 1956, when five people were killed and several homes, a school, and the public library were damaged; and on June 8, 1974, when 12 people were killed, a nursing home was destroyed, and about 100 homes were damaged or destroyed. This is all part of the history of Drumright, Ok. Today Drumright survives with some of the friendliest people in this part of the country, a home to many who love living, working and playing in the City of Drumright!