Moving to Ponca City (Oklahoma City, Tulsa: crime, daycare, lawyers)
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Hi everyone we are looking at moving to Ponca City anytime after the 20th. We're currently in Tennessee. I am very nervous about the move. But excited for the change. I have 2 children and I homeschool. We're house hunting in Ponca City mainly. Sometimes in Arkansas City, or surrounding small towns. Can anyone tell me anything about Ponca City that you love? All your favorits of your town? Thanks, Danyelle in Tn
I found it odd that nobody had chimed in here when much smaller towns are getting lots of responses. I wonder if, like me, many former residents don't have a lot of great things to say, but also don't want to bad mouth the place.
There are a lot of interesting old buildings (including mansions) and an old downtown area there because from the 1920's through the 1970's Ponca City was one of the richest places in the state (probably THE richest outside of OKC and Tulsa). This was due to Conoco having its headquarters there and a lot of other related companies having a presence there.
Even in the 80's, when I was growing up there, most of my friends' parents were scientists, engineers, etc. who came from all over the country (and even the world) to work there. It was very cosmopolitan for a small town in Oklahoma. I didn't even really know what "Okie accents" were until I went to college!
I'm afraid this isn't the case anymore. Conoco merged with Phillips a few years ago. It was billed as "a merger of equals", but Conoco and Ponca City got the short end of the stick in just about every way. Most of the remaining high-paying jobs that hadn't already gone to Houston went to Bartlesville (former Phillips HQ). Bartlesville and Ponca CIty used to be very similar towns, but are now noticeably different as a result.
There' are still some nice things in the town (no Edmond or Broken Arrow is ever going to have that many cool old houses), due to the money that used to be there and the money that is still there in the hands of Conoco retirees who have stayed in the area, but most young people there are working very low-paying blue collar jobs. I'd say maybe 5% or less of the people I knew in childhood who went to college ended up moving back (most as teachers, a couple as doctors and lawyers, a couple whose parents own small businesses they can take over) because the jobs just aren't there like they are in OKC, Tulsa, and Dallas.
Even if I could get a good job there, I could never move back. My parents, on the other hand (getting near retirement age) are very happy there and will likely never leave, and they're definitely not alone, so mine is just one person's viewpoint.
Maybe no one chimed in because no one on here knows much about Ponca.
Obviously that's possible, but it wouldn't be very statistically likely for nobody on here to know much about a town of 30,000 that so many people from all over have lived and worked in over the years, when just about every isolated Oklahoma town of 5,000 or less gets dozens of comments about it.
In my experience staying in touch with childhood friends, PC is the kind of place former residents are nostalgic enough about that they won't bad mouth it much, but at the same time none of them are rushing to move back there. That's all I was trying to say. I realize that's true of many people with their hometowns, though.
I'm interested to hear the original poster's experiences there so far, and would be happy to answer questions here or through private messages.
It sounds as if Valpo is saying that Ponca is morphing into the type of town that most other small towns in Oklahoma are like.
That's a good way of putting it. I'm obviously biased by comparing it to the past, and also by comparing it to more recent experience living in Stillwater, which has been getting the kind of growth that Ponca hasn't in recent years. (People from Stillwater used to drive to PC to eat, shop, etc. Now it's the other way around.)
If the OP is moving from a similar sized area in TN, they might actually feel right at home, other than there being way less hills and trees. (Definitely more of those in PC than in Western OK, though, that's for sure.)
Well here in TN, I am just outside of Memphis. I am in a large city. There is NOTHING you can't find here, and lots of it. There are so many choices. I've been here for 11 yrs, and have made several friends, but its so big, you never run into them when your out and about. I am originally from Louisiana in a very small town. Ponca City seems to be exactly what we are looking. Not to big, and not to small. Wish they did have a mall and a Sams Club though lol I will miss them when I leave Tn. We have so much crime here. I am hoping to escape that. I have small children, and I would like to see them in a nice community with lots of children, and lots of elderly. I don't want to have to watch and worry when they are in the yard playing. I know I always will, but you all know what I mean. We just want to feel safe, and feel welcomed. Can't find many people in Ponca to talk to yet. lol Maybe I have to meet them in person. But I'm really excited about the move. I should be packing in about a week. Thanks for the info, and I look forward to hearing anymore you may have. Like good places to eat, grocery stores, things people do for fun? That kind of stuff.
Hello. I lived in Ponca City for the last 7 years and I grew up in Oklahoma. When my husband and I first moved to Ponca City we were graduating college, so it seemed that the town went to sleep at about 8 pm. However, the town quickly grew on us.
As far as elementary schools go, I loved Washington Elementary for my kids. The teachers and staff have moved to Garfield Academy after the school was rebuilt. in the past 2 years. I have also heard from others who liked Union. The Child Development Center (CDC) is a wonderful daycare option for younger children.
There are many places to eat. If you like authentic Mexican food, eat at Enrique's at the Ponca City airport. I also like Las Americas on Hwy 60 in Osage county (just across the Arkansas river). 4th Street Burger is a really good local burger place. Dixie Dog makes burgers better than Sonic (and they have been there for over 20 years). J.W. Cobb's serves food like my grandma makes (love it).
As for things to do in Ponca City:
-2 cinemas (and the Poncan Theatre often runs shows in their historical theater, along with plays and music concerts)
-Standing Bear park has a nice walking trail with native american facts
-Walmart is the "mall" and should be avoided in the evenings and especially weekends
-Stillwater is only 40 miles away!
Also Ponca City is about 1 1/2 hour drive from Tulsa or Oklahoma City, or even Wichita, KS if you need to get to an actual mall or Sam's club.
Definitely take time to visit Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge near Jet (about 50 miles away) and Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Pawhuska. Of course, I am a nature lover, so I enjoy that sort of thing.
Ponca City always had an inferiority complex compared to Bartlesville, even before the Phillips/Conoco merger. I never cared for the awful smell of the large refinery on the south side of town in Ponca, something you didn't have to experience in B'ville. You will find one of the best BBQ joints in the world at Head Country in Ponca though, numerous world championship trophies. Pick up their dry rub and sauce at any of the local grocery stores too!
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