Miami (Oklahoma)

"Sidewalk highway" section of Route 66

Miami is a city of 13570 people in the Green Country region of Oklahoma on old US Route 66.


The town is named for the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma (the traditional name Myaamia, plural Myaamiaki, comes from an older native term meaning 'downstream people'). In a typical Oklahoman fashion, "Miami" is pronounced mia-muh by the locals. Miami is the capital of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, Peoria Tribe of Indians, Seneca-Cayuga Tribe, and Shawnee Tribe; there are various native-owned businesses, including casinos, in the area.

Get in

By car, Miami may be reached by old US 66, US Route 69 or Interstate 44.

Get around


Coleman Theatre









Mickey Mantle Field


Abandoned Picher Mining Museum

An environmental disaster ghost town eight miles (13km) north of Miami, on US 69 at Treece, Kansas border. Founded 1913 after lead and zinc deposits were discovered on leased Quapaw land, Pitcher was once a city of 15,000 which produced lead for bullets for two world wars. Mining ended in 1957; population declined 80-90% in the following decade. 14,000 abandoned mine shafts, 70 million tons of mine tailings, and 36 million tons of mill sand and sludge were left behind, undermining 85% of the city's buildings and contaminating potable water supplies with lead. A 2006 state-sponsored buyout and permanent evacuation were already well underway when, on May 10, 2008, an EF4 tornado killed eight people and cut a mile-wide swath through town. The tornado-damaged structures were never rebuilt.

The 1,000 maps, 500 photos and various artefacts from the Picher Mining Field Museum (N Connell Ave, in the 1926 Tri-State Zinc and Lead Ore Producers Association office) were moved to the Baxter Springs Historical Society Museum in 2008. The city hall was closed and its archives turned over to the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami in 2010 as part of a long process of municipal government shutdown. The buildings were mostly torn down in 2011; the town was disincorporated and disappeared from maps in 2013. In 2014, six residents remained. Gary Linderman's Old Miner's Pharmacy was the last operating business. Stubborn to the end, Linderman gave up the ghost June 6, 2015 at age 60 as a result of a sudden illness; his obituary appeared nationally on AP's news wire.

While most buildings were demolished, a few still stand - mostly as ruins. An abandoned Catholic church, a ruined pool hall, the empty miners museum, an auction house, a building where mining equipment was sold and a small collection of homes are all slowly deteriorating.

Go next

Routes through Miami

Tulsa Vinita  W  E  Joplin Springfield
Tulsa Vinita  W  E  Baxter Springs Joplin
Kansas City Overland Park  N  S  Vinita Muskogee
Jct N S Jct N S ← Jct N S  W  S  Wyandotte Muskogee

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.