First Coal and The KATY Railroad at McAlester
The coal and railroad industries grew together in Oklahoma – the railroads bought coal to use as fuel and coal companies used the railroad to move coal to market.
J.J. McAlester (1841-1920) came to Bucklucksy in Indian Territory with a map of possible coal deposits. Once found and mined, he needed a way to move the coal to market. McAlester knew that the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad (the “MK&T” or “KATY”) railroad was looking for a new route from Texas to Kansas. He loaded a wagon with coal and hauled it to Kansas to persuade railroad officials to build tracks into Indian Territory. Once the route was set and the tracks reached Bucklucksy, the name of the town was changed to McAlester.
In September 1907, J.G. Puterbaugh (1876-1965) established the McAlester Fuel Co. to market and transport coal.
Images are copyright of The Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund, Inc. and the artist. Please contact Matt Duehning at 405-524-0126 or Matt.Duehning@oksenate.gov for further copyright information.