Latitude / Longitude:
35°27′12″N 99°10′15″W / 35.45333°N 99.17083°W / 35.45333
1,640 ft (500 m)
Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Foss is a town in Washita County, Oklahoma, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 151, an 18.9 percent increase from 127 at the 2000 census.
The history of Foss began when settlers from the area of the Wilson post office moved four miles north to the valley of Turkey Creek in the late 1890s. They initially wanted their new post office to be called Graham, but since that name was already taken it was named Maharg (an anagram of Graham). A flash flood on May 2, 1902 wiped out the town on Turkey Creek, destroying businesses and drowning several people. The town rebuilt on higher ground and was named Foss. The post office began operation on September 15, 1900.
Though in the 1950s and 1960s there was an economic revival due to the nearby Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base at Burns Flat. When the base closed and Interstate 40 bypassed Foss the town declined further. The last bank left in September 1977. Foss had two newspapers, the Foss Enterprise and the Foss Banner. It was served by the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad (Rock Island) railroad. The Enterprise went out of business in the 1930s. Foss was an important agricultural center in the early part of the 20th century. It has declined in importance, but is still a small agricultural center.
The town expanded rapidly. By 1905 the town had a population between 900 and 1000 residents. It had two banks, three cotton gins, and by 1912 had an electric plant, two hotels and an opera house. It also had plants to manufacture hay balers, baby carriages, and brooms. The population stabilized near 500. In the 1920s the town began to have economic problems as the nearby cities of Clinton and Elk City absorbed more and more trade. During the Great Depression more people moved away. During World War II, the town boasted a population of over 300 residents, relying primarily on Route 66 travellers (which passed half a mile south of the city) and a U.S. naval base south of the town that operated during wartime. A gas station and a café also operated in the town around that time.