Location of Erick, Oklahoma
|Total||1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)|
|Land||1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)|
|Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||2,064 ft (629 m)|
|Density||1,100/sq mi (420/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1092634|
Erick is located at  elevation 2,060 feet (628 m).(35.213549, -99.869821),
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), all of it land.
On I-40, Erick is roughly midway from Asheville, North Carolina, to Barstow, California.
Erick is the second-closest Oklahoma settlement to the Texas border on US 66 or I-40 (tiny Texola, Oklahoma is at the border, seven miles to the west).
|Climate data for Erick, Oklahoma|
|Average high °F (°C)||50.7 |
|Average low °F (°C)||22.5 |
|Precipitation inches (mm)||0.5 |
|Source #1: weather.com|
|Source #2: Weatherbase |
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,023 people, 429 households, and 272 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,040.3 people per square mile (403.0/km ). There were 556 housing units at an average density of 565.4 per square mile (219.1/km ). The racial makeup of the city was 93.45% White, 0.10% African American, 0.88% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 2.05% from other races, and 3.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.69% of the population.
There were 429 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 22.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 83.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,346, and the median income for a family was $28,977. Males had a median income of $23,482 versus $16,375 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,855. About 22.5% of families and 25.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.4% of those under age 18 and 15.8% of those age 65 or over.
Erick was established in 1901 as an agricultural community on what would become the edge of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was located on the National Old Trails Road, one of the predecessors to the 1926 numbered US Highway system. Large segments of that road became part of U.S. Route 66.
The city prospered briefly in the pre-war era when natural gas deposits were found in the area. On July 14, 1930 the Frederick (Maryland) Post published "Reports received here by Sheriff W.K McLemore, Wheeler County, said negroes were driven out of Erick Oklahoma last night and from Texola Oklahoma today by a mob seeking reprisal for the death of Mrs. Harry Vaughn, wife of a farmer in a nearby county in Texas, who was beaten to death Friday by a Negro."
Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939, was poorly received locally. According to Erick city clerk Nyla Tennery, "I can remember plainly when the book came out my parents and other people who stayed here were just real upset. That book gave all Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma people a shiftless, bad name, like that was the only kind of people who were here."
Early motor courts began to appear by 1940, with the DeLuxe Courts being the first local Route 66 lodging to appear in the AAA Directory of Motor Courts and Cottages. While civilian motorcar travel was greatly curtailed due to wartime rationing, by 1946 guidebooks listed the Erick Court and trailer park, the Elms Garage, caf s and filling stations.
Erick prospered in the post-war heyday of Route 66, with various roadside businesses catering to motorists. Guidebooks promoted the tiny city as "the first town you encounter, going west, which has a true 'western' look with its wide, sun-baked streets, frequent horsemen, occasional sidewalk awnings and similar touches."
Many of the original Route 66 business are now gone or have been converted to other uses.
World War II navy veteran Cal Rogers opened Cal's Country Cooking on US 66 in May 1946, relocating to a new log cabin restaurant on an Interstate 40 exit in October 1979 after the Interstate bypassed traffic away from the old road. The family sold the business and antiques in a 1999 auction; the building is now a steak house.
The West Winds Motel, originally built with individual carport garages and promoted in its heyday with neon signage of bucking broncos, still stands but is no longer open to visitors despite attempts to restore the property.
Efforts to put "Historic Route 66" back onto maps as a tourist attraction date to the late 1980s, with the first Route 66 Association established three years after the last section of original highway (in Williams, Arizona) was bypassed by Interstate highway in 1984. Various local businesses and attractions cater to seasonal tourists attempting to find what remains of the old road.
The 3000 square foot Roger Miller Museum opened at the corner of US 66 (Roger Miller Boulevard) and Oklahoma 30 (Sheb Wooley Avenue) in 2004 in a former 1929 caf  and drugstore building.
The former City Meat Market building is now the Sandhills Curiosity Shop, one of the many Route 66 stops on Pixar's research trips for 2006 animated film Cars. Its owners Harley and Annabelle Russell, who bill themselves as the "Mediocre Music Makers", served as model for the country hillbilly accent used by Larry the Cable Guy's character Mater in the film.
Erick is also home to the 100th Meridian Museum.
Erick was home to two of Country music's more idiosyncratic performers. Sheb Wooley, the actor, songwriter, and singer who recorded the saga of the "one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater" was born there in 1921. Roger Miller, country superstar and author of "King of the Road," "Dang Me," "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd," and many others, was born in Fort Worth, Texas, but grew up in Erick from the age of three (when asked by an interviewer where Erick was near, Miller wryly replied, "It's close to extinction.") Herbert Mayfield, one of the Mayfield Brothers of West Texas, was born in Erick but moved to Dimmitt, Texas, when he was ten years of age.