VALLEY BROOK — Despite its reputation as a haven for strip clubs and debauchery, Valley Brook wasn't founded to give topless bars a place to do business.
What is now Valley Brook was populated first by workers in the 1930s after the discovery of oil in the area.
Many active oil pumps still dot the landscape, an area known historically as the Oklahoma City Field.
The population surged to nearly 1,400 in the 1960 census but it has been on a slow decline since then.
Today, about 760 people call Valley Brook home.
The town was founded on May 12, 1956, when residents voted 183 to 130 in favor of incorporation.
According to historical accounts and newspaper archives, residents gathered at the old Valley Brook School and voted under the watchful eye of opponents of the incorporation.
In a May 13, 1956, news article that appeared on the front page of The Daily Oklahoman, a reporter captured the controversy that existed in Valley Brook, a community that many living there at the time hoped would be annexed by Oklahoma City.
“There was no trouble at the election,” an unnamed reporter wrote, “although Wayne Campbell, an attorney for opponents of incorporation, said before the election there would be some.”
Yet since its founding at the height of the Baby Boom in the United States, the town continually has struggled to maintain its independence.
In the 1960s, residents tried to have Valley Brook annexed by Oklahoma City. Then again in the 1980s.
Historical accounts and residents said strip clubs began moving into the area in the early 1980s, possibly a little before that.
Jim Watts, a Valley Brook resident since the early 1970s, said he would prefer it if the town were no longer independent.
He said most of the homes in Valley Brook are in poor condition and that little is done by town officials to remedy the situation.
“I wish Oklahoma City would take this town over,” Watts said. “They would do something about all of this.”