Bethany is a city in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, United States, and a part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The community was founded in 1909 by followers of the Church of the Nazarene from Oklahoma City.
Bethany was founded July 28, 1909 as a community where members of the Church of the Nazarene could express their religious beliefs without interference by non-members. The town was named after the biblical place of Bethany. The community quickly established the Oklahoma Holiness College (now Southern Nazarene University, SNU). Two other institutions were soon established, the Oklahoma Orphanage (now the Children's Center, a medical facility) operated by Mattie Mallory, and the Nazarene Rescue Home for unwed mothers.
Bethany incorporated on August 8, 1910 as a rural town whose economy depended on the surrounding farmlands. It gained a post office on March 11, 1913. The relatively large population of Nazarenes soon caused the town to enact strict blue laws that banned alcohol, tobacco, gambling, dancing, movies, swearing, and working on Sundays. The blue laws have been relaxed since Bethany reorganized as a first class city in 1931. An F4 tornado nearly wiped out Bethany on November 19, 1930, killing 23 people and destroying 652 buildings.