Step aside Hoot Owl.

Make room for Lotsee and Shady Grove.

The two latter towns have ascended to the top of the list of the least-populated communities in Oklahoma.

Lotsee, in western Tulsa County, and Shady Grove, near Keystone Lake in Pawnee County, both had populations of two in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The two newly designated smallest towns are separated by fewer than six miles.

Hoot Owl, near Lake Hudson in Mayes County, lost top tiny town status after going through a growth spurt of sorts.

With an official population of zero residents after the 2000 census, the Census Bureau estimated the Hoot Owl population climbed to one resident in 2001, a figure that held steady throughout the decade.

The latest official head count by the Census Bureau, conducted in April 2010, found four people living in Hoot Owl, which is comprised of a single parcel of land originally incorporated in 1977.

Lotsee and Shady Grove are seeing relatively big losses in population.

The population in Lotsee dropped from 11 in 2000 to two in 2010.

A family town

Lotsee resident Lotsee Spradling cites the latest reason for the population decline.

"One of the daughters bought a house on 10 acres that butts right up against the town," Spradling said with a laugh.

Now it's just Lotsee and her husband, Mike, living in the 2,000-acre town, which is comprised entirely of the family-owned Flying G Ranch, which was incorporated by Lotsee's father, George Campbell, in 1963.

The Census Bureau said the population of Lotsee peaked in 1970 with 16 residents. It then declined to seven residents in 1980 and 1990 before increasing to 11 people in 2000.

"That's when our girls were home and the gentleman who worked for us and his family lived on the ranch," Spradling said.

The family has no plans to dissolve the town, despite its declining numbers, Spradling said.

"We still allow church groups to come out and have picnics and bonfires," Spradling said. "We still let Scout groups come out and camp.

"We feel like we are lucky to have the lifestyle we have and we do try to share and we probably couldn't do that legally if we could not be our own township."

From 44 to 2

Meanwhile, Shady Grove, just off the Keystone Expressway near the Appalachia Bay recreation area, shrunk from 44 people in 2000 to two in 2010.

The seven-acre town was incorporated and owned by Lester Pendergraft, said his daughter, Betty King.

Shady Grove was one of 17 Pawnee County towns incorporated in 1977, said Pawnee County Clerk Marcelee Welch.

King said her father incorporated the land amid concerns that larger towns would annex his property.

The town was comprised of seven mobile home lots, which Pendergraft managed through the years.

"He was the one and only mayor," King said of her father.

Shady Grove resident Frank Lilly said he has lived in the town for about 13 years, even serving on the town council.

Lilly recalled busier times in the town.

"At one time, it was all filled up and stayed pretty much filled up for years," Lilly said of the mobile home park.

Pendergraft was a fixture in the community, Lilly said.

"He was out there every day, even Christmas, trying to keep that place up," he said.

As the years went by, Lilly began helping to take care of Pendergraft as he began to age.

"He just kind of took to me and my daughter like family," he said.

"We took care of him, and in return, he took care of us," said Lilly, who now owns a portion of Shady Grove.

Pendergraft notified officials in 2006 that the town had been dissolved, just before his death in 2009.

"When he died, I don't know really what happened," Lilly said. "All I know is just like overnight everybody moved out."

The Census Bureau said two residents were still living in Shady Grove in April 2010.

Now, the feline population outnumbers the human population in Shady Grove.

Then there was 1

"It's down to one now," Lilly said Thursday. "My daughter moved to town."

In addition to Lilly's home, the shells of five gutted and stripped mobile homes remain on the property.

King said the land was recently donated to a Broken Arrow Church in the hope that it will be cleaned up and reused.

Note: There are actually three Shady Groves in Oklahoma that are recognized by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In addition to the Shady Grove town in Pawnee County, there is a Shady Grove in McIntosh County, population 194.

A third Shady Grove, with a 2010 population of 556, is in Cherokee County.

The latter two Shady Groves are counted as "census designated places," or the statistical counterparts of incorporated places.


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Top 10 least populated towns, 2010

Shady Grove town,Pawnee County: 2

Lotsee, Tulsa County: 2

Cardin, Ottawa County: 3

Hoot Owl, Mayes County: 4

Lambert, Alfalfa County: 6

Knowles, Beaver County: 11

Jefferson, Grant County: 12

Renfrow, Grant County: 12

Tagg Flats CDP, Delaware County: 13

Loveland, Tillman County: 13

Top 10 most populated towns, 2010

Oklahoma City: 579,999

Tulsa: 391,906

Norman: 110,925

Broken Arrow: 98,850

Lawton: 96,867

Edmond: 81,405

Moore: 55,081

Midwest City: 54,371

Enid: 49,379

Stillwater: 45,688

- Source: U.S. Census


Curtis Killman 918-581-8471

curtis.killman@tulsaworld.com SUBHEAD: state's smallest: 'EVERYBODY MOVED OUT'

Original Print Headline: 2010 Census reveals Oklahoma's TINIEST TOWNS

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