About This Place
Elk City is a city in Beckham County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 11,693 at the 2010 census. Elk City is located on Interstate 40 and Historic U.S. Route 66 in Western Oklahoma, approximately 110 miles (180 km) west of Oklahoma City and 150 miles (240 km) east of Amarillo.
In 1541, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado became the first known European to pass through the area. The Spanish conquistador was traveling northeast across the prairie in search of a place called Quivira, a city said to be fabulously wealthy with gold. Because Coronado's route across the plains is speculative, it is quite possible that the expedition passed through present-day Elk City or the nearby area.
Elk City's history dates back to the days immediately following the opening of the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation in western Oklahoma Territory on April 19, 1892, when the first white settlers made their appearance. Prior to this time, many early ranchers had driven cattle over the Great Western Cattle Trail from Texas to Dodge City, Kansas, the present townsite of Elk City being in the direct path of that famous trail.