Travel – first by horse and buggy, then rail and automobile – has been important to Weatherford since its late 1800s birth on the western Oklahoma plains. Its importance continues today as Weatherford draws visitors who come for a variety of reasons. There, they find a bustling college community that boasts a thriving economy with a prosperous outlook.

A major draw, visible from I-44, is the Stafford Air and Space Museum, dedicated to the career of Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, one of America’s most renowned astronauts.

Weatherford also remains popular for people making a commemorative journey along Route 66. Mayor Mike Brown says “Mother Road” nostalgia continues to draw travelers – especially those looking ahead to the highway’s 2026 centennial.

A recent draw to the city is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, located in the Weatherford Wind Energy Park. Brown says the wall has increased visitation manyfold.

“We’re just one spot in a long journey,” Brown says of his city, “but we want to make sure they see things while they’re here.”

In the meantime, there’s plenty of activity in this Custer County city of about 12,000, whose population swells by another 4,000 or so when classes at Southwestern Oklahoma State University are in session.

Weatherford was an agricultural community in its early days, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society. After the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad arrived in 1898, shipping pens, depot, hotel and public water works followed. Its early “wild and woolly” days yielded soon enough to a tamer life for families, with schools, churches and organizations following.

Then came “America’s Highway,” Route 66. Elizabeth Amen, Chamber of Commerce director, says Weatherford is one of the few communities where the original highway runs right through the middle of town.

Integral to life in Weatherford is SOSU. Brown says the university is the city’s largest employer with an estimated 800 working there. SOSU offers 14 academic degree programs and more than 100 study fields, with branches in Yukon and Sayre and a host of online offerings.

The Stafford Air and Space Museum, meanwhile, features test-fired, flight-ready engines from both the U.S. Saturn V and the Soviet N-1 moon rockets. Considered one of the most comprehensive air and space museums in the central U.S., the museum encompasses 63,000 square feet and has the distinction of being a Smithsonian affiliate museum. A major expansion is under way, Brown says.

Another must-visit is the Heartland of America Museum, patronized by an estimated 1,900 annually, and where a Vietnam War-era Huey helicopter is on display. Museum Director Linda White says guests heap praise on the museum after they see it.

“We have visitors from all across the country, and many have told us that we are the best museum they have ever visited,” White says. 

Especially interesting, White says, is a diner, relocated from downtown, that was frequented by singer Elvis Presley as he traveled the U.S. at the height of his popularity.

The Huey helicopter’s cement pad is unique, having been poured in the shape of the state of Oklahoma. 

“The Red River was a challenge, but our contractor did a great job,” she says.


City of Weatherford

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Weatherford Chamberof Commerce

Stafford Air and Space Museum

Heartland of America Museum

Photo credit: Photo courtesy the City of Weatherford

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