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Official Website of the City of Wilburton, Oklahoma
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Mayor's Office

Mayor Stephen Brinlee


Stephen Brinlee


Wilburton is a vibrant community of just under 3000, with an opportunistic spirit like no other. From its people to its landscape, we truly reside in the most beautiful place in Oklahoma. We are a college town, with one of the most gorgeous state parks just five miles up the road. Many people from all walks of life come here to live, work and raise a family. On Friday nights in the fall, you can find many of us in our purple and white, seated about the fifty yard line, cheering our Diggers to victory, or watching Mountaineer hoops at EOSC. You are always greeted with a warm welcome, and a smile.  We truly strive to be that "shining city on a hill", or in our case "in the valley".  If you are looking for a great place to live, start a business, or vacation, Wilburton is a great choice for you and your family. Wilburton hosts a fine public school system, as well as one of the largest junior colleges in the state.  I hope that you come to visit us here at the gateway to southeast Oklahoma.

Mayor Stephen Brinlee


Stephen Brinlee

Mayor Stephen C. Brinlee was elected April 7th, 2007 at the age of 22 years making him the youngest Mayor in the State of Oklahoma at that time. Mayor Brinlee was born and raised in Wilburton graduating from Wilburton High School in 2003 and Eastern Oklahoma State College in 2005 and 2010 with degrees in Music Education and Criminal Justice.

Mayor Brinlee is a full-time Mayor who guides and directs all aspects of the municipal government on a daily basis. His duties include fiscal oversight and employee management, addressing public concerns, and chairing the Wilburton Public Works Authority Board where he oversees it's daily operations. Mayor Brinlee presents an annual budget for all city and public works departments to the governing body each fiscal year, and sees that the budget is carried out in accordance to the wishes of the City Council and the Oklahoma Municipal Budget Act. The Mayor works closely with all elected city officials and employees to insure that the city's operation run smoothly. The Mayor is also available as his schedule permits to visit or speak to your club or organization, just contact us!

Mayor Brinlee is active in the community, serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Kiamichi Economic Development District of Oklahoma;the Economic Development Board; Oklahoma Conference Of Mayor's; Kiamichi RC&D; Wilburton Chamber of Commerce; Eastern Oklahoma State College Alumni Association; Wilburton High School Alumni Association; and a past chairman of the Latimer County Democratic Party.

Wilburton Historical Facts

Wilburton was named after: EITHER  Will Burton, a surveyor who plotted land in this area in 1890 for the Choctaw Railroad OR   Elisha Wilbur, President of Lehigh Valley Railway and one of first men to buy stock in Choctaw Coal and Railroad Company.

1896:  Wilburton took off population wise – by 1900 census 19 languages were spoken in the Wilburton area.                  Sam Givens General Store was first rock building in Latimer County; 1st floor was store and                                  upstairs was lodging.    Currently is “The Picture Show”  movie theatre.

1898:    2 semiprofessional baseball located here:   1 white and 1 black, called “Blues” .

1900:     Miner’s & Merchant’s Bank opened by Mr. J. Poe – sold in 1903 and became the  First National                              Bank.   Later became Citizen’s Bank, then “Talbots” and later a hotel.

1903:     First Telephone System install, consisting of 40 phones.

1904:      Katy Railroad ran a line through Wilburton.                                                                                    May 10:   First Sale of Lots in City.

1905:    Great Western Coke & Coal Company building constructed by COL William Busby: Later became the                 “Old Courthouse”.

 1905 – 1930:     MINING ACCIDENTS kill 133 men while only 85 have died in foreign wars.                                                             1905:   13 fatalities    Degnan Mine #9                                                                                                                                 1910:     6   “               Busby Mine #2                                                                                                                                   1916:     3    “              Degnan Mine #5                                                                                                                                 1918:     2    “              Lutie Mine #4                                                                                                                                     1920:     3    “              Degnan Mine #5                                                                                                                                 1920:   91   “              Degnan Mine #19                                                                                                                               1930:   15     “             Lutie Mine #5                         

1906:     442,000 tons of coal excavated from Latimer County; more than any county in Coal Belt.

1907:     November 16: Latimer County named for Representative J.S. Latimer.

1908:     April 14:  “The Picture Show” building became the county jail for 22 months.

1910:     April 10:  WILBURTON INCORPORATED AS A CITY.                                                                     October 1:   First motor vehicle accident when J. Poe’s crank on his car kicked back and broke his                                              arm.

1911:    New School House completed on top of North Hill; built at a cost of $40,000.

1912:    October 24:  The deposits at First National Bank were short by $65,000.  Cashier by name of Lust stole                 it and reportedly built his home, now the “Windsong Inn”.   Latimer County National Bank bailed                         them out.   Mr. Lusk had to sell his home and got $5,000 for it.

1914:     Fire destroyed Givens Hotel and Wilburton News, current site of Bumper-to-Bumper to empty lot next                  to Latimer County Home Health, block of 200 East Main Street

1915:     First City Park established across from “Old Courthouse”;  City Bank played at event, 20th Century                      Club was responsible.                                                                                                                                                            July 25:  Great Western Coke & Oil company building was purchased by Latimer County for $10,000.                                 The brick building behind the new Courthouse became & remains the jail.

1916:       The 1st Ballpark, Degnan Park, donated by James McConnell, located SW of railroad depot.  City                          raised $600 to fix it.

1918:       Patterson Powder Mill exploded, located 7 miles west of town.

1919-1929:    No picture shows allowed on Sundays.

 1927:        November:   Fire destroyed or damaged several buildings on north side of East 100 Block of Main                           Street.   Dr Coleman, a dentist had an office whose equipment was saved when his friends moved it                         out.  The operators for the phone system were also in the building and the switchboard destroyed.                           The firemen saved the building.    Currently is home of Cole's General Store.

 1928:       January 23:   fire started at Chilli Inn restaurant and spread both east and west on the South side of                      East 100 block of Main Street.  The café was destroyed but Cooks Barber Shop was saved.

 1931:       Wilburton was known as the “LITTLE CAPITAL OF OKLAHOMA”:  Chief Justice of Supreme                            Court Eugene Lester, Speaker of the House Carlton Weaver, President of the Senate, Chad Briggs                          and  Industrial Commission Member Matt McElroy all hailed from Wilburton.

 1935:       Robber’s Cave State Park was established.

 1938:       Red Oak wanted to be the County Seat, so the Governor called for a special election.                                                Wilburton remained the County Seat.

 1939:      The new Courthouse was finished and the Old Courthouse was sold at auction for $1285.

 1940:       Business and Professional Women paid for concrete street markers throughout town.

 1953:       Wilburton installed dial phones:   700 phones.

 1953:        Mayor Donathan promised during his campaign he would get paved streets in Wilburton.  The                                Lions Club, in conjunction with OK Highway Department who were in the area paving from                                  Wilburton to Robbers Cave State Park, Wilburton citizens could get a 18 foot wide street in front of                      their house for 50 cents a foot.

1958:      The Metropolitan Phone Systems was installed with the prefix “Howard 5”,still in use:"465".                                   November:   Highway 2 North was dedicated. 

1960:     Wilburton State Bank moved to their present location at 123 East Main Street.                                                           May 5:  A tornado ripped through Wilburton killing 11 and injuring over 10.  Damaged 5 blocks of                                      residential area with 82 homes demolished and 34 heavily damaged and 122 homes suffering                                    slight damage.  22 businesses were destroyed on 2 blocks of Main Street, 12 heavily damaged                                    and 41 sustained minor damage.  It rained 9 inches during the storm.           

1983:     October 10:   Fire damaged or destroyed 8 businesses on north side of west 100 block of Main Street.

1990:    Fire destroyed building which had been home of Roy’s Cardinal Grocery which moved to its current                      location on Hwy 2 North.

2002:     Karin Q. Woodruff elected Mayor:   First woman Mayor in Wilburton’s first 100 years.

2006:      Wilburton completed construction of new Wastewater Treatment Plant at cost of $6.5 Million.                                  Wilburton completes new downtown sidewalk project at a cost of $550,000.                                                               Wilburton completes renovations at Municipal Airport at a cost of $675,000.

2007:     Stephen Brinlee elected as Wilburton and Oklahoma’s YOUNGEST Mayor at age 23.   Two years later                  Muskogee’s new Mayor elected at age 22.   Mayor Brinlee was re-elected in both 2011 and 2015. 

2011:     First City Seal designed by Jean Lively adopted after contest with entries from local artists.                                     February:  Wilburton Recycling Program initiated; residents respond enthusiastically.                                           October:    Oklahoma Recycling Award received for “Best Rookie Effort”

2015:      Wilburton  named “Safest City in Oklahoma” based on ratio of crime to population.

Mayor's Weekly Column

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