Wagoner is along the path of the Texas Road cattle trail, and the later Jefferson Highway of the early National Trail System, both roughly along the route of U.S. Route 69 through Oklahoma today. The town began as a small community at the intersection of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railway and the Kansas and Arkansas Valley Railway (a branch of the Missouri Pacific Railway), when William McAnally, a foreman for the MKT built a small hotel at this isolated location in June 1887. By the next summer others had built two more hotels and two general stores. The town was named for railroad dispatcher Henry "Big Foot" Wagoner, who had reported the need for a railroad switch nearby to accommodate the shipment of logs and hay. The switch had been previously named "Wagoner's Switch." The switch soon relocated to the town and caused the development of a major cattle shipping business.
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