In which year was Duncan founded and by whom?
Originally a small trading post at the intersection of the Chisholm Trail and the military passage between Ft. Arbuckle and Ft. Sill, Duncan has played many a part in Oklahoma’s exciting history.
When William Duncan brought his family to the area, the Rock Island Railroad had just extended its lines from Kansas to Texas. Cowboy camps were plentiful, so, he built a trading post on the Chisholm Trail to serve train passengers, cowboys, and new settlers. By 1892, Duncan had become an exciting frontier town.
What is Duncan most famous for?
In its time, the Chisholm Trail was considered one of the wonders of the western world. Herds with as many as ten thousand cattle were driven from Texas over the trail to Kansas. From 1867 to 1889, the Chisholm Trail was the major north and south road in the plains. Over the course of twenty years, the trail saw millions of head of cattle. It is considered one of the major forces that reinvigorated Texas’ economy after the Civil War. With the Chisholm Trail running right through Duncan, we pride ourselves on our history and hospitality.
The oil industry brought even greater prosperity to Duncan when area oil discoveries soon became Oklahoma’s highest producing fields. One particular oilman, Erle P. Halliburton, left his legacy in Duncan by perfecting a way of making oil production easier. Established in 1919, Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. today, has 201 offices in 22 states and 20 foreign countries.
What is there to do in Duncan?
With so much to do and see, there’s an endless range of options in Duncan.
With a wide variety of boutique shops and unique stores, you’re certain to find just what you’re looking for in Historic Downtown Duncan. Be prepared to fall in love with quaint old buildings, 28,000 sq. feet of retail shopping including antiques, upscale tableware, fabulous fashion, western items and much more.
Duncan is also recognized as the Crapemyrtle Capital of Oklahoma, with a Crapemyrtle Trail showcasing many varieties of crape myrtles, as well as giving visitors the opportunity to experience what makes Duncan a place to discover!
Duncan also has a phenomenal arts scene, including Duncan Little Theatre and the Chisholm Trail Arts Council, as well as an exquisite theatre at the Jack A. Maurer Convention Center. Duncan Little Theatre provides a varied program of plays, musicals, dinner theaters, and melodramas over the course of each year. Chisholm Trail Arts Council offers year-round arts programming including the “CTAC Live” concert series, as well as showcasing pieces of art in many mediums.
If you are traveling with a bus group, we also have tours, including the Chisholm Trail, Historic Duncan, and the Historic Homes tours. The Chisholm Trail tour will make you feel like you’re on the trail when you visit the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, then mosey out to the Trail Ruts at Monument Hill, where you’ll see visible remains of the Trail etched by millions of cattle. The Historic Duncan tour will show you what made Duncan what it is today, from the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center to the Stephens County Historical Museum, and finished up at the original location of Halliburton. The Historic Homes tour will guide you through historic homes and churches in Duncan, including the Prairie House. The Prairie House, designed in the style that made Frank Lloyd Wright famous, was built for one of Duncan’s first citizens and has been renovated to its original condition.
What is there to do for kids in Duncan?
Year round, you may find a wide variety of programs and events meant just for children, however you can always rely on Centennial Park, Fuqua Park, and Exploration Station inside the Simmons Center to put a smile on your child’s face. Centennial Park is newly renovated with brand new, state-of-the-art equipment including towers, bridges, too many slides to count, and swings. With such a large variety of play options, your child is sure to find a way to highlight their day. Fuqua Park is also a staple in the community, with playground equipment for any age, whether they’re a toddler or older child. The Exploration Station inside the Simmons Center is available by day pass, and features an indoor playground with a ball pit, slides, and more for ages 3 to 10.
If visiting Duncan during the summer season, you’re in for a real treat with Kiddieland, our well-loved, child-sized amusement park, as well as the Duncan Swimming Pool in Fuqua Park. Kiddieland is open Friday-Sunday evenings all summer long and includes a small scale train, tilt-a-whirl, merry-go-round, airplanes, and a snow cone stand. The Duncan Swimming Pool is open to the public from May through September. Duncan also offers two splash pads, which make for an easy, convenient way to cool down on a hot day.
What is there to do for live entertainment in Duncan?
There’s always an abundance of live entertainment in Duncan, with many styles and locations to choose from. The Chisholm Trail Arts Council hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including their CTAC Live Concert series, which brings well known artists to Duncan. Duncan Little Theatre also provides live entertainment in the form of theatre productions throughout each year, with many being held at the Jack A Maurer Convention Center & Theatre. You can always catch live concerts at Wallstreet Pub in downtown Duncan, as well as Drillers Nightclub on Hwy 81, as well.
What do you not want to miss while in Duncan?
Make some wonderful memories, see smiles aplenty, as you experience Kiwanis Kiddieland and ride the train, carousel, airplanes and tilt-a-whirl.
Cozy up to the cook and have a hearty breakfast at Eastland Grill.
Celebrate your inner pirate and visit Plato Elementary School’s outside wall mural.
Witness a sunset at Monument Hill in Addington, a short road trip south on Hwy 81.
Take a leisurely lap around the Heritage Trails as you wind through parks, near attractions, and plazas.
“Cowboy up” at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center and live the adventure of the trail in the experience theatre.
Popcorn and a soda with a great flick at The Palace Theatre on historic Main Street Duncan.
Follow the Labyrinth Walk at the Episcopal Church.
Take in a Duncan Little Theatre production. www.duncanlittletheatre.com
Take a look at “the good old days” at the Stephens County Historical Museum.
Play in the Exploration Station at the Simmons Center.
Eat chicken tenders at Jonny’s at Oak Tree.
Locate the 5 physical markers of the Chisholm Trail in Duncan and take your photo beside one.
Enjoy a cantata at First United Methodist Church.
Listen to some big band sound in Fuqua Park as the Chisholm Trail Municipal Band plays. Check www.duncancalendar.com for performance dates!
See a sunrise over Duncan Lake.
Rediscover your inner child and play at Centennial Park.
Shop the antiques and trendy shops on historic Main Street.
Dig into a chile relleno at El Palacio.
Live Duncan’s history as you stroll Main Street Duncan’s Stepping Stone Trail.
Tour the historic homes in Duncan, many of which are on the National Historic Society Listing.
Wildlife watch at Lake Humphreys – you will be certain to see deer, wild turkey and more!
Go horseback riding at Duncan Lake – horses available for rent at Big Oak Stables, located across from the park entrance.
Challenge yourself at a round of golf at The Territory.
Skip stones on Clear Creek Lake.
Picnic in one of Duncan’s lovely parks!
Cruise Main Street Duncan.
Stop in for an old fashioned soda float at R&S Drug Store #1’s old style 50’s soda fountain counter on historic Main Street.
Make a culinary masterpiece at Distinctive Décor during one of the cooking classes offered.
Geocache the city and find the hidden treasures at select locations.
Try your hand at Lady Luck at the Chisholm Trail Casino.
Step back in time while touring the Prairie House.
Make a bead creation at the Strung Out Bead Shop
Plan a great golf getaway at The Territory’s “Play and Stay” vacation homes.
Take a photo in front of the Crapemyrtle Mural on the east side wall of The Palace Theatre.
Catch a one of a kind concert from CTAC’s LIVE concert series. www.chisholmtrailarts.com