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Israel Mercer Putnam

portrait of Israel Mercer Putnam

Israel Mercer Putnam, an early-day Oklahoma land developer and legislator, was a trailblazer. In the early 1900s, Putnam owned 2,000 acres of land west of Oklahoma City. He promoted the area as "Putnam City," close to the big city of Oklahoma City but still a quiet, suburban atmosphere.

Putnam planned for Putnam City to become the site of the the new state capitol. For a few months in 1910, his efforts succeeded. A state capitol commission accepted his proposal of land for the capitol. In December 1910, however, the Oklahoma legislature rejected that agreement and instead chose to have the state capitol constructed in northeast Oklahoma City.

When Putnam's plans fell through, the land and a building Putnam had constructed became available for other uses. That's when several one-room schools merged, and Independent School District No. 1 (later known as Putnam City Schools) was born.