In a way, we have the Land Ordinance of 1787 to thank for the name of Draper Park and a few others in Oklahoma City. There was no Oklahoma City in 1787, of course, but the Land Ordinance required that part of the land in every township be set aside to provide funding for public schools, which usually came in the form of leasing the land to farmers or ranchers. However, in 1909, the Oklahoma legislature made it possible to sell school land into private ownership and place the funds of the sales into a trust for schools. And that’s exactly how this land became Draper Park.
Around 1890, Grafton M. Draper brought his family from Kansas to live on a 160-acre farm lease on school land just south of the Capitol Hill community. Draper grew up on a farm in Maryland and served as a corporal in the Union army during the Civil War, even serving some time as a prisoner of war after the Battle of Harper’s Ferry. After the war he farmed in Kansas before moving here after the Land Run of 1889 and leasing the school land that includes this park. The Draper family remained on the farm until 1911 when the state canceled the farm lease and sold the land for the Draper Park Addition which included provisions for this park.