Sunset at Sweetwater, Oklahoma


An article "Schools to fight consolidation" by Michael Bratcher was published on Monday, April 28, 2003 in the Daily Oklahoman. The article stated, "Sweetwater, though, is almost desolate. A gas station sits at the town's main intersection. A block to the north sits the post office, closed most afternoons. To the south is the school, now needing repairs after a recent storm."

Some features of the town, which has now been incorporated as an official town, were not mentioned. The gas station is a grocery store, parts store, restaurant, and meeting place. There is a mechanic's garage across from that store. (There is also another store five miles to the west.) The post office is open all afternoons except Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Bonnie Rice is our dedicated and efficient postmaster. I am the pastor of the Baptist church located about two blocks south of the store. We have recently added a wing onto the church along with other renovation totaling more than $200,000. Three miles to the north is the Assembly of God church and four miles to the east is the Buffalo Baptist Church. The school is located one mile to the south in Beckham County (The town straddles the Beckham County and Roger Mills County lines.). Just to the west of the school is the Sweetwater Volunteer Fire Department Building. The Fire Department is very active, and vital part of the community with about 18 firefighters. The firefighters risk life and limb to provide safety to our community and often respond to fires and emergencies outside of our community.

In response to Sweetwater being "almost desolate" I would remind you that beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. Why, the article seems to ask would anyone want to live here or send their children to school here? There are intangible qualities. Yes, there are sometimes problems such as disagreement over whether the school should close or consolidate. But there is something here that overrides those things. What we have in Sweetwater as a whole is a community that loves, that extends kindness, that is more than willing to help those in need, and that is accepting of those who may be different. We have a son who is handicapped and this community over the years has been overwhelming in their love and support extended toward our son and to others.

Sweetwater has a long history dating to prior to statehood. At one time in the early 1900s Sweetwater was a bustling town and community with a few hundred people. Sweetwater proper had two grocery stores, two barbershops, two doctors, and a newspaper. There was a freight line which made a daily trip to Sayre and back.

Sweetwater has a great heritage and its history is not over but is still being written as is evidenced by those still graduating from school, the boom in oil and gas drilling, and those choosing to move to and live in this great community.