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Living In McAlester

Location/ Transportation

McAlester and the surrounding area have become the regional center for commerce, retail trade, culture, recreation and heritage in Southeast Oklahoma. McAlester is located at the crossroads of US Highway 69 north and south and US Highway 270 east and west. The Indian Nation Turnpike also serves the area and Interstate 40 is only 40 miles to the north.

Located 90 miles south of Tulsa and 120 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, McAlester is within easy driving distance to major metropolitan areas.

Pittsburg County has average accessibility to state and national highway systems. The county is located in the southeastern part of the state. A network of State and Federal highways and railroads serves Pittsburg County. US Highway 69 and 271 and State Highway 71 cross the county in a north-south direction. US Highway 270 and State Highway 1, 31, and 9 cross the county in a east-west direction. The nearest interstate, Interstate Highway 40 is approximately 40 miles north from McAlester.


As a Class II shortline railroad that is uniquely suited to a business's needs. The Arkansas Oklahoma Railroad (A-OK) is a locally owned railroad and provides daily rail service. The railroad services the industrial park.

Air Service

McAlester Airport - Local

Tulsa International – 98 miles

Will Rogers World Airport, OKC – 131 miles

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) – 176 miles

Distance To Cities

Atlanta, Georgia


Chicago, Illinois 648
Cincinnati, Ohio 688
Dallas, Texas 160
Denver, Colorado 604
Detroit, Michigan 854
Houston, Texas 269
Kansas City, Missouri 294
Little Rock, Arkansas 198
Los Angeles, California  1,277
New Orleans, Louisiana 478
New York, New York 1,248
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 104
San Francisco, California 1,490
Tulsa, Oklahoma 85


Average January Temperature  39
Average July Temperature 82
Average Annual Temperature 62
Average Precipitation (in inches) 46”
Average Annual Snowfall  6”



Population:  McAlester - 18,383

                 Pittsburg County – 45,837

Under 5yrs:  7.1%

Under 18 yrs:  22.1%

Age 18 – 64 yrs: 44.9%

Over 65 yrs:  15.7%


Housing Units:  7,685

Home Ownership:  61.1%

Median Home Value:  $89,700

Median Household Income:  $40,363


Property Tax:  McAlester District - $74.38 per $1,000.00 assessed

Sales Tax:  9%

            City:  4.5%

            County:  1.0%

            State: 4.5%


Cost of Living

100% Average

McAlester                          80.0%

Tulsa, OK                          91.8%

McKinney, TX                    104.7%

Denver, CO                      110.9%

Dallas, TX                        105.9%

Paris, TX                          89.9%

Ft. Smith, AR                    94.5%


A Historical Snapshot

1869 – James Jackson McAlester set up a trading firm near coal outcrops at the intersection of the California and Texas roads. Within 24 hours McAlester sold goods worth more than $19 before the lumber to build the store had even been taken out of the wagon. Quickly McAlester realized that business would be good in
this new area.

1872 – Coal discovered in the area was tested and found to be the best grade of steam coal west of Pennsylvania. Plans were quickly made to begin harvesting the coal. The MK&T Railroad was built through this area and the station was named after J.J. McAlester.

1876 – Coal mining began to boom. A large group of Italians immigrated to this area to find honest work and a better life.

1904 – Realizing the importance of a strong business community, several prominent businessmen began a chamber of commerce to promote the growth of South McAlester.

1906 – McAlester and South McAlester united and become one booming city – known as McAlester.

1908 – William H. Busby finished the construction of the Busby Theatre. This theater was the biggest entertainment center in Indian Territory. One of the first performances at the theater was Ben Hur, which included a chariot race performed by two chariots being pulled by four white horses across the stage. This was one of many first-class productions that fueled enthusiasm for the theater in the southwest.

2010 – McAlester continues to thrive and grow with tremendous opportunities for businesses and family. With a 22 percent lower cost of living than the national average, it is easy to see why McAlester continues to be a great place to live, work and play!

Quality Public Service

McAlester Police Department is well prepared to protect and serve the McAlester community. The department has a Detective Division and a Narcotics Task Force and readily assists other local and state agencies when needed.

Chief of Police Gary Wansick
1st & Washington
423-1212 non-emergency

McAlester Fire Department protects life and property in and around the McAlester area. All fire-fighters are cross-trained in Life Support. The department also provides the community with several emergency Medical Services. McAlester Fire Department current ISO rating is 4.

Fire Chief Brett Brewer
1st & Washington
423-6709 non emergency

Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for 1,306 square miles of people and personal property and has 35 employees comprised of deputies and staff members. The office is a partner of the local Narcotics Task Force. A special reserve unit assists the city of McAlester and other law enforcement agencies wherever and whenever needed.

Sheriff Joel Kern
Under Sheriff J. W. Young
1210 N. West Street
423-5858 non emergency

Oklahoma Highway Patrol - Troop D is located at the apex of Business 69 and Bypass 69. As the principal statewide law enforcement agency in Oklahoma, the State Patrol is dedicated to providing quality policing directed at achieving safer roadways and reducing crime through pro-active investigations, education and patrol services and by providing leadership and resources during natural disasters, civil disorders and critical incidents.
423-3636 emergency
423-3621 non emergency

Cost of Living

ACCRA Cost of Living Index

McAlester has been ranked at the cheapest place to live in the country based on the ACCRA Cost of Living index!

Among the 298 urban areas participating in the fourth quarter 2005 ACCRA Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan) NY to more than 20 percent below the national average in McAlester OK. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is compiled and published quarterly by ACCRA – The Council for Community and Economic Research.

The Ten Most and Least Expensive Urban Areas
in the ACCRA Cost of Living Index (COLI)

Fourth Quarter 2005
National Average for 298 Urban Areas = 100

Most Expensive   Least Expensive
    COL       COL
Rank Urban Areas Index   Rank Urban Areas Index
1 New York (Manhattan) NY 204.3    1 McAlester OK 78.8
2 San Francisco CA 171.4   2 Joplin MO 82.4
3 Honolulu HI 163.2   3 Pryor Creek OK 82.5
4 Los Angeles-Long Beach CA 159.0   4 Jonesboro AR 83.5
5 San Jose CA 158.1   5 Nevada MO 84.1
6 Orange County CA 156.1   6 McAllen TX 84.8
7 Stamford CT 150.6   7 Lubbock TX 84.8
8 San Diego CA 150.3   8 Douglas GA 84.9

Oakland CA




County TX

10 Nassau County NY 146.9   10 Fort Smith AR 85.3

The ACCRA Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 50,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area. Small differences should not be interpreted as showing a measurable difference.

The composite index is based on six components – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

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