For 18 months beginning in 1929, Waynoka was the center of one of the most ambitious transportation endeavors the nation had ever witnessed. America's fair-haired boy, Charles Lindbergh, had been the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo, on a nonstop flight, only two years earlier.
Now his goal was to send passengers across the continent from coast to coast in record-breaking time.
Lindbergh had spent a year looking for an initial 10 cities for his relay run, and from the 10 narrowed the number down to four main transfer points and two minor points. The difficulty was determining the main transfer point in the middle of the nation. Dodge City, Kan., wanted it even though residents knew Lindbergh also was considering Waynoka. Finally, the former Kansas cow town conceded to Waynoka in February 1929.
What Waynoka had going for it was its railroad yards. From 1910 to 1937, Waynoka " not Oklahoma City or Tulsa " had the largest railroad yards in the state. All that steel rail glistening in the sun attracted Lindbergh.
Lindbergh quickly set about building a huge 30,000-square-foot hangar at the Waynoka airport. The third largest in the states, the hangar later was moved to Little Rock, Ark., as a WPA project in 1939.
Lindbergh had a profound impact on both the town and Oklahoma in general, according to Sandra Olson, president of the Waynoka Historical Society.
"In the preservation of aviation history and Oklahoma's aviation history, it certainly had an impact," she said. "Mike Coppock