Latitude / Longitude:
36°37′31″N 94°54′49″W / 36.62528°N 94.91361°W / 36.62528
761 ft (232 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Bernice is a town in Delaware County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 562 at the 2010 census, an increase of 11.5 percent from 504 at the 2000 census. The town is now primarily a vacation and retirement area. It claims to be the “Crappie Fishing Capital of the World.”
Bernice was founded in 1912, after Rose Mode and his partner, Charles Lee, bought 60 acres (24 ha) of land in the Horse Creek Basin of northwestern Delaware County. The town was named for Mode’s daughter, Bernice. A post office was established on February 12, 1913, and the town soon become a local agricultural center. By 1918, Bernice had an estimated population on nearly 400 people. Businesses included a bank, a milliner, a grain elevator, a sawmill, a hotel, a flour mill and three general stores. The population declined after World War I and the Great Depression from 198 in 1920 to 162 in 1930, and 91 in 1940. After World War II, population growth rebounded to 318 in 1980.
At present, the town serves as a vacation spot for many residents of surrounding communities. Indian hills Resort, the oldest recreational business in the town, was established in 1940. Bernice State Park, about one half mile east of town, across the Neosho River, also attracts vacationers.
Construction of Pensacola Dam and Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees put the original town in a flood plain, so the residents moved to high ground outside the proposed l