About This Place
Idabel is a city in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 7,658 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of McCurtain County. The town is located in the tourist area Kiamichi Country.
Idabel was established in 1902. The city was first named Purnell, after Isaac Purnell, a railroad official. When postal officials rejected that designation, the name was changed to Mitchell, honoring another railroad company officer. That name was also rejected because another town of that name existed elsewhere in the territory. Railroad officials then chose the name Idabel, a compound of the names of Isaac Purnell's two daughters, Ida and Bell. In 1980, Idabel was the subject of a race riot when a large group of blacks became upset at the handling of the murder of Henry Lee Johnson, a 15 year old black male.
Idabel is located at 33°53′47″N 94°49′45″W / 33.89639°N 94.82917°W / 33.89639; -94.82917 (33.896299, -94.829238).