Ardmore, county seat of Carter County, is 100 miles from Oklahoma City in southern Oklahoma. Ardmore is a center for both the surrounding agricultural area and for the oil companies that operate in the region.
Before becoming a town, the future site of Ardmore was the headquarters of the 700 Ranch. When the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in 1887, Ardmore was settled and named for a city in Pennsylvania, which in turn had been named for Ardmore-by-the-Sea in Ireland. Being part of the Indian Territory, Ardmore had no city government at first, but was incorporated as a charter city in 1898.
In the early part of the 20th century, Ardmore had the largest population of any municipality in the Indian Territory. Statehood came to Oklahoma in 1907. During the Depression, the CCC built a dam close to Ardmore, behind which Lake Murray came into being. Recreation on Lake Murray is one of the principal attractions of Ardmore. Lake Murray State Park is the largest state park in Oklahoma.
Local history is on display at the Greater Southwest Historical Museum. Fans of western movies will enjoy the Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum, about 12 miles northeast of Ardmore. The Military Museum contains items from the Civil War through Desert Storm. The Eliza Hall Cruce Doll Museum has a number of rare examples of dolls from around the world.
Cultural events are held at the Goddard Center for the Visual & Performing Arts. Ardmore has a campus of East Central University at the Ardmore Higher Education Center. Formerly known as Memorial Hospital of Southern Oklahoma, Mercy Memorial Health Center became part of the Sisters of Mercy Health System in August, 1996.
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