Located in Oklahoma County, Bethany is a city that is in the center of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. It runs approximately ten miles and is surrounded by Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, Lake Overholser and Warr Acres. This area is 100% land and was founded in 1909. Today, the city houses the main headquarters of the Pinto Horse Association of America where horses, ponies and miniature horses of different pedigrees are registered. Bethany is also known for being the home of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, which was founded in 1975. Our largest employers include the City of Bethany, Gilbert Medical Clinic, Bethany and Putnam City Public Schools, the Southern Nazarene University, the Children's Center and Southwestern Christian University.
The city of Bethany consists of 19,051 residents, including approximately 8,161 households with a population density of 3,897 residents per square mile. While there are a variety of employers that support the city, about 9% of the population is below the poverty line, according to the 2010 census.
Rev. C. B. Jernigan founded and established the city of Bethany in 1909. It became the new home for what is now Southern Nazarene University, formerly known as Oklahoma Holiness College. The early residents wanted a community where they could have freedom of religion without any disturbance. The city was named after the biblical community, Bethany, which was next to Jerusalem. After it was established, the members of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene flocked to Bethany from Beulah Heights, which was also located in Oklahoma City but more far west. Within time, they also established a medical facility, the Children's Center, and the Nazarene Rescue Home for women who had children out of wedlock. In 1913, Bethany received a postal designation and continued as a rural town which depended on its local farmlands for support. As a result of Bethany's religious foundation, the local government placed "blue laws" in effect, which banned what were perceived as vices, such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling, dancing, swearing, movies and working on the Sabbath. However, the laws were lifted in 1931 after Bethany became a city officially.
Impact of a Natural Disaster
In 1930, Bethany was almost destroyed as a tornado hit the area hard, killing twenty-three people and ruining over 650 buildings. As a result of the tornado, hundreds of residents of Bethany lost their homes, became homeless and lost their means of employment. Even though our recovery as a city was slow, Bethany turned into an Oklahoma City residential suburb following World War II. Even though the city has gone through a series of hard times, we have managed to grow our population over the years steadily. Bethany's population increased from 485 to 2,590 from 1920 to 1940. Then, it increased from 5,705 in 1950 to over 12,000 in 1960. Four decades later, there are 19,051 residents of the city of Bethany.
Bethany is full of great attractions and has a rich history. We are proud of the sense of community among our residents. Every year, we host a Balloon Fest and the Christmas Wonderland Festival of Lights. Also, you may be familiar with a couple of celebrities who hail from Bethany, such as baseball star Allie Reynolds and astronaut Shannon Lucid.
While some towns lose their heritage and culture as they further develop commercially, Bethany has managed to maintain our identity as we embrace the individuality of our residents and community.
If you took the time to browse our neighborhoods, you might have noticed the wonderfully trimmed gardens that our residents often hold birthdays, garage sales and picnics. If you ever decide to relocate to Bethany, do not hesitate to contact Lawn Love for exceptional lawn care.