Italian Culture, History, Statistics,
People & Events in Oklahoma
When Joe Prichard took his family back to the Italian town his grandfather emigrated from, he was surprised by how familiar it felt.
“The little village my grandfather left was almost a clone of the village he came to in Oklahoma,” he said.
Joe discovered that San Gregorio Magno, in the Campagnia region, was not only the same size as Krebs, but community life there also centered around the Catholic Church.. Even the town’s differences created parallels.
Krebs, Oklahoma is considered the center of Italian culture in Oklahoma. Italian groceries and restaurants are dominant in Krebs. Festivals and the Italian language are further examples of the focus on the Italian culture is this region of the state.
Overpopulation and poverty in Italy caused more than 4 million Italians to immigrate to America between 1870 and 1914. Most of those who found their way to Oklahoma settled in the coal-producing communities in Pittsburg County and in the Choctaw Nation. With the decline of coal and the rise of oil, the Italian mining population diminished as many migrated to other parts of the country. In 1926, some 200 Italian families left the small town of Krebs, known statewide for its Italian heritage.