Residents of new town want to keep legacy alive

Tuesday, September 7th 2004, 5:37 am
By: News On 6

KATIE, Okla. (AP) _ Residents of the tiny community of Katie say preservation of their way of life was behind their vote to become a town.

In July, residents voted 93 to 51 to incorporate the community and 21 square miles around it. The town's 144 registered voters are awaiting a scheduled date to elect town officials.

``I guess you could say we wanted to preserve what we had,'' said Katie resident Skip Wise. ``It's peaceful. That's the way we like it here.''

``We didn't want tome bigger town to take us over, and tell us when we can or can't use our community center,'' said Charlene Christian, who was born in Katie in 1930 and still lives there with her husband, Edgar.

Last year, officials in neighboring Elmore City discussed incorporating land within one mile of Katie. Although the idea never took root, Katie residents became concerned and circulated a petition to incorporate.

``I think that's when a lot of eyes were opened,'' Wise said. ``I guess we never thought that would really happen. Then again, who would have thought we'd have a casino down the road, either?''

Katie was once a thriving place of commerce with a service station, cafe, grocery store, post office and school, which closed in 1968 after 60 years. The post office operated from 1895 to 1929.

Local legend indicates that the town was named after a little girl named Catherine, and their relatives petitioned the government to name the new town Katie.

Today, Katie residents tend to their cemetery and community center, which the Works Progress Administration built with chiseled stones in the 1930s. The building was Katie's school until it closed.