If you travel north from the Texas border to Oklahoma City, you’ll be surprised to find yourself passing through towns familiar to any Philadelphian: Overbrook, Ardmore, Wynnewood, Paoli and Wayne. There was even a Berwyn, but it was renamed “Gene Autry” in 1941 in honor of the cowboy singer and film star who had bought a ranch near there.
How did Philadelphia suburbs end up where the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye?
When the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad was expanding through Oklahoma Territory in the 1880s, the civil engineer who was laying out the track had previously worked on the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1887, he decided to name or re-name the stops and towns along the line after the ones he had known outside of Philadelphia.
Although most Oklahomans in the region know about the tie to Philadelphia’s suburban Main Line towns, very few Philadelphians know about their Oklahoma namesakes.
Take a look at the following historical photos from the towns that share our Main Line namesakes.
Special thanks for Bob Skiba for sharing these photos and information.
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