Oklahoma City is the capital and principal city of the state of Oklahoma, located in the Frontier Country region of the state. Oklahoma City is the primary city of the Oklahoma City-Shawnee-Stillwater Combined Statistical Area containing most of central Oklahoma.
Oklahoma City is the largest city in the state, as well as its political, cultural, and economic engine. The city is the nation's third largest city in land area (608 sq miles), just behind Jacksonville FL (759 sq miles) and way behind Anchorage AK (1698 sq miles). The city is the 29th largest city in population in the nation (506,132 in the 2000 census), and the largest city in the 5 "plains states" (Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota). After decades of suburban sprawl and an ill-fated downtown "urban renewal", a 'sudden' burst of investment in the 1990s has given the city additional big city attractions and a pleasant quality of life that often is the envy if not surprise of visitors from other cities, making Oklahoma City more of a tourist destination in itself. Oklahoma's state capitol building is the only capitol in the world with an oil well under it. Although its legal description is Capitol Site #1, it is referred to as Petunia #1 because it was drilled in the middle of a flower bed.
Oklahoma City is in the Frontier Country region of Central Oklahoma, in the Southern Plains of North America. Contrary to popular belief, the geography is not flat and treeless (like in the true high plains) but rather gently rolling hills covered in places by dense low trees, shrubs, and grasses. The city is roughly bisected by the North Canadian River (recently partially renamed the Oklahoma River in a flight of civic exuberance). The North Canadian is not very impressive as rivers go; it was once substantial enough to flood every year, wreaking destruction on surrounding homes, until the 1940s when the Civilian Conservation Corps dammed the river and turned it into essentially a wide ditch for the next 50 years. In the 1990s, as part of the citywide revitalization project known as MAPS, the city built a series of low water dams, returning water to the portion of the river flows near downtown. The city also has three large lakes, Lake Hefner and Lake Overholser, in the northwestern quarter of the city, and the largest - Lake Stanley Draper, in the sparsely populated far southeast of the city. Read more