Waurika, the seat of Jefferson County, is on the 98th Meridian, immediately northwest of the intersection of US Hwy 81 and US Hwy 70. Waurika is the only county seat on the 98th Meridian in Oklahoma. Waurika became the seat after a county election in 1912. Prior to the town's founding, the 98th Meridian separated the Chickasaw Nation from the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache Reservation. Waurika was established when the reservation was opened for settlement on August 6, 1901. Waurika was incorporated in May 1903, meaning "clear (or pure) water,". The first elected city officials were sworn into office on May 8, 1903, with C. A. McBrian as mayor. Approximately three thousand people attended the initial town lot sale on June 18, 1902. As Waurika grew, so did the number of its schools. In 1902 the first school was built on Beaver Creek in west Waurika. Neoma Helm of Walters was the teacher. Irving Elementary later served the west side of town, and those on the east side attended Hillcrest Elementary. Waurika's junior and senior high schools were located on D Avenue. Dunbar School, a separate school for African Americans, was built in northwest Waurika. Presently Waurika Elementary, Waurika Junior High, and Waurika Senior High are located in the northeast section of town. The First Presbyterian Church, presently owned by the City of Waurika, was built in 1905, and is a landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The first train stopped in Waurika in January 1902 and was designated as a flag station. For many years the railroad was important to the community, transporting cattle, hay, and cotton to market. The old Rock Island Passenger Station was discontinued for this purpose in the 1950's.
In 1987 the City of Waurika began a rehabilitation project to turn the depot into a public library. In 2002 the Rock Island Passenger Depot was put on the National Registry of Historical Places and currently the South end serves as the Waurika Public Libary while the North end serves as a rental space for small gatherings, weddings and events. In July of 2017 Waurika was lucky enough to have been chosen as an exhibit location by the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Exhibit was held during the Chisholm Trail 150th anniversary.
The US Army Corp of Engineers began construction of Waurika Dam in 1971 at Beaver Creek, with completion of the project occurring in 1980. The lake is 11 miles long and contains 192,000 acre feet of water at its normal elevation, 951 feet. The surface covers about 10,000 acres and has 80 miles of shoreline. Today Waurika Lake is a hot spot for camping, fishing, hiking, hunting and family gatherings.