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Muskogee, Oklahoma

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Muskogee, Oklahoma
From top, left to right: Pre-Statehood Commercial District, Severs Hotel, Surety Building, Ed Edmondson United States Courthouse
Official seal of Muskogee, Oklahoma
The Great Seal of the City of Muskogee
Etymology: Creek language
The Skoge, Oklahoma's River City, Oklahoma's Music City
"A Place Where Even Squares Can Have A Ball"
Location of Muskogee in Oklahoma
Location of Muskogee in Oklahoma
Muskogee, Oklahoma is located in Oklahoma
Muskogee, Oklahoma
Muskogee, Oklahoma
Coordinates: 35°45′N 95°22′W / 35.75°N 95.37°W / 35.75; -95.37
CountryUnited States
CountyMuskogee County
FoundedMarch 16, 1898
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • MayorMarlon Coleman
 • Vice MayorDerrick A. Reed
 • City ManagerMike Miller
 • Total44.73 sq mi (115.85 km2)
 • Land43.16 sq mi (111.80 km2)
 • Water1.56 sq mi (4.05 km2)
604 ft (184 m)
 • Total39,223
 • Estimate 
 • Density859.81/sq mi (331.97/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s)918
FIPS code40-50050

Muskogee (/məˈskɡ/[3]) is the eleventh-largest city in Oklahoma and the county seat of Muskogee County.[4] Home to Bacone College, it lies approximately 48 miles (77 km) southeast of Tulsa. The population of the city was 39,223 as of the 2010 census, a 2.4 percent increase from 38,310 in 2000.[5]


French fur traders were believed to have established a temporary village near the future Muskogee in 1806, but the first permanent European-American settlement was established in 1817 on the south bank of the Verdigris River, north of present-day Muskogee.

After the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 under President Andrew Jackson, the Muscogee Creek Indians were one of the Five Civilized Tribes forced out of the American Southeast to Indian Territory. They were accompanied by their slaves to this area. The Indian Agency, a two-story stone building, was built here in Muskogee. It was a site for meetings among the leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes. Today it serves as a museum. At the top of what is known as Agency Hill, it is within Honor Heights Park on the west side of Muskogee.

In 1872, the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad was extended to the area. A federal court was established in Muskogee in 1889, around the same time that Congress opened portions of Indian Territory to non-Native settlers via land rushes. The city was incorporated on March 19, 1898.[6]

Business district c. 1910
Business district c. 1910

Ohio native Charles N. Haskell moved to the city inchildren March 1901.[7] He was instrumental in building on the land rush; he stimulated expansion of the city of more than 4,000 people to a center of business and industry by 1910, with a population of more than 25,000 inhabitants. Haskell built the first five-story business block in Oklahoma Territory; he built and owned fourteen brick buildings in the city. Most importantly, he organized and built most of the railroads running into the city, which connected it to other markets and centers of population, stimulating its business and retail, and attracting new residents.

As Muskogee's economic and business importance grew, so did its political power. In the years before the territory was admitted as a state, the Five Civilized Tribes continued to work on alternatives to keep some independence from European Americans. They met together August 21, 1905 to propose the State of Sequoyah, to be controlled by Native Americans. They met in Muskogee to draft its constitution, planning to have Muskogee serve as the State's capital. The proposal was vetoed by US President Theodore Roosevelt and mostly ignored by Congress; the proposed State of Sequoyah was never authorized. The US admitted the State of Oklahoma to the Union on November 16, 1907 as the 46th state.

Muskogee was the operational headquarters for what became known as the Muskogee Roads, being four regional rail carriers under common management.[8] The first was the Midland Valley Railroad, chartered in 1903.[9] The three carriers surviving until 1963 were sold to the Texas & Pacific, which was a subsidiary of the Missouri Pacific Railroad[10]

Muskogee was on the route of the Jefferson Highway established in 1915. That road ran more than 2,300 miles from Winnipeg, Manitoba, to New Orleans, Louisiana.[11]

Muskogee attracted national and international attention when, in May 2008, voters elected John Tyler Hammons as mayor. Nineteen years old at the time of his election, Hammons is among the youngest mayors in American history.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 38.8 square miles (100 km2), of which 37.3 square miles (97 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) (3.69%) is water. Muskogee is near the confluence of the Arkansas River, Verdigris River and Grand River. Historically, the area around this confluence has been called Three Rivers.

Muskogee lies in the Arkansas River Valley and has a low, sea-level elevation compared to much of the rest of the state.[12] The city is on the boundary of the oak and hickory forest region of eastern Oklahoma and the prairie, Great Plains region of northeastern Oklahoma. It is a suburban community of Tulsa.[12]

The city's climate is considerably warmer and more humid than other parts of the state.[12]


These data were accessed through the WRCC and were compiled over the years 1905 to 2016.[13] The record high occurred in August 1936, and the record low in 1905.

Climate data for Muskogee, OK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
Average high °F (°C) 48.8
Average low °F (°C) 28.0
Record low °F (°C) −11
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.22
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.2


Muskogee is a soft spot for floods. In May 2019, waters rose more than 42 feet on the Arkansas River. Those levels had not been reached since 1943 (although 1986 came close with water 39.6 feet high). The U.S.S. Batfish docked at the city's military harbor broke free on the river.[14] Two barges filled with tons of phosphate broke loose and threatened to break the dam they were heading towards. Webber Falls was ordered to evacuate immediately.[15]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)37,113[2]−5.4%

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 38,310 people, 15,523 households, and 9,950 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,026.0 people per square mile (396.1/km2). There were 17,517 housing units at an average density of 469.1 per square mile (181.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 61.12% White, 17.90% African American, 12.34% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.57% from other races, and 6.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.28% of the population.

There were 15,523 households, out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out, with 25.7% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,418, and the median income for a family was $33,358. Males had a median income of $28,153 versus $20,341 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,351. About 14.6% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 14.3% of those age 65 or over.


The town is served by U.S. Route 62, U.S. Route 64, U.S. Route 69, Oklahoma State Highway 16, Oklahoma State Highway 165, Oklahoma State Highway 351 and the Muskogee Turnpike.

Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines.[22]

Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport, five miles south of downtown, has a paved main runway measuring 7202’ by 150’, and can accommodate light planes through heavy transport-type jet aircraft.[23] The airport had commercial air service from Central Airlines in the 1960s.[24]

Commercial air transportation is available at Tulsa International Airport, about 49 miles to the northwest.[25]

Muskogee operates the Port of Muskogee on the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which grants water access to and from the Gulf of Mexico.


Muskogee is an economic center for eastern Oklahoma, and is home to several industrial activities. Georgia-Pacific has a tissue, paper towel and napkin manufacturing plant in Muskogee.[26] The 2.9 million square foot facility is Muskogee's largest employer with 800 workers.[27]

Arts and culture

Muskogee is home to Honor Heights Park, a World War I memorial park, notable for its azaleas and the annual Azalea Festival held each April. During the winter, people from across all 50 states travel to Muskogee to see Honor Heights transformed into the Garden of Lights, a 132-acre (0.53 km2) Christmas lights display.

Muskogee has six museums. The Five Civilized Tribes Museum preserves the art and culture of the Five Civilized Tribes. The U.S.S. Batfish and War Memorial Park's major attraction is the submarine USS Batfish. The Three Rivers Museum chronicles the history of the Three Rivers area and the railroads that helped create it. The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame has been honoring Oklahoma musicians since 1997. The Thomas-Foreman Historic Home, aka the Grant Foreman House is an 1898 farm house preserved with the furnishings of the Indian Territory Judge John R. Thomas and his daughter and son-in-law Grant and Carolyn Foreman, Oklahoma historians and authors. The Ataloa Lodge is on the campus of Bacone College.

Two feature films were recently shot in Muskogee through a tax incentive program offered by the state: Salvation (2007) and Denizen (2010). Writer and director J.A. Steel produced both films.[28]

Muskogee is home to The Castle of Muskogee. The Castle hosts Fourth of July Fireworks sales, a Halloween festival 'Haunted Castle', a drive-through Christmas Kingdom and indoor Castle Christmas experience, and the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, founded in 1995. The Renaissance festival draws in tens of thousands each year, hosting jousts, dancing, vendors and other events.

At the center of Muskogee's flourishing arts scene is Muskogee Little Theatre (MLT). MLT was established in 1972 from the unused Sequoyah Elementary School. The theatre puts on up to eight shows per year including youth theatre, senior theatre, holiday shows, and general community productions. The theatre is also committed to education and development arts programs including Youth Theatre camp, voice lessons, mentorships, weekend workshops and more.

The City of Muskogee Foundation provides grants to community organizations and non-profit groups throughout the Muskogee community.[29]

The local paper, the Muskogee Phoenix, was founded in February 1888 when Oklahoma was still a territory,[30] and continues to be published today.[31]


Muskogee is governed by a council–manager form of municipal government. The city manager is the administrative leader of the government and is appointed by the city council. The city's ceremonial head is the mayor, who is a voting, at-large member of the council with limited administrative power.

The city is divided into four wards, with two members of the city council elected from each. Each member of the council is elected by the city as a whole but must reside in the ward he or she represents. Elections are held on the first Tuesday in April in each even-numbered year. All elections are non-partisan; the mayor and the members of the city council receive no salary or compensation for their services.

State and federal representation

Muskogee is represented by two state representatives for House Districts 13 and 14. District 13 includes the west side of Muskogee while District 14 includes the east half of Muskogee. The city is represented in the state senate in Senate District 9, which includes all of Muskogee County, Oklahoma.

Both former Attorney General of Oklahoma Drew Edmondson and former Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Sandy Garrett are Muskogee natives.

The city is part of Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district. The city is also home to former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn.


Since 1995, crime rate has risen by 45 percent in Muskogee. According to records by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, in 2002, 2008 and 2009, no murders were committed for the entire year. However, on April 10, 2010, a deadly shooting broke out at the Arrowhead Mall, injuring at least five people and leaving one dead; witnesses say that the shooting was gang-related.[32][33]

On February 2, 2021, a mass murder occurred when a gunman opened fire at a home, killing six people, including five children, and one woman was seriously injured.[34]


There are two primary public school districts in the city of Muskogee: Muskogee Public Schools, which include the vast majority of the city limits and a large portion of Muskogee County, and Hilldale Public Schools, which covers a small southern portion of the city limits and some parts of the County south of Muskogee. Additional smaller school districts serve the smaller communities of Muskogee County.

Notably, Muskogee is the location of the Oklahoma School for the Blind, a special institution for meeting the educational needs of blind and visually impaired students residing in the state of Oklahoma.

Muskogee is home to four institutions of higher education: the public four-year Northeastern State University, the public two-year Connors State College, the public Indian Capital Technology Center and the private four-year Bacone College, which is the oldest college in the state of Oklahoma.

In 2004, civic rights lawyers took on the case of 11-year-old Nashala Hearn who sued the Muskogee, Oklahoma, Public School District for ordering her to remove her hijab because it was violative of the school's dress code. She refused to submit and was subsequently suspended twice.[35] The court-ordered agreement reached by the Justice Department with the school board permits Nashala, and any other child in Muskogee whose religious beliefs and practices conflict with the school dress code, to receive an accommodation.[36]

Points of interest

In popular culture


Muskogee was home to minor league baseball from 1905 to 1957. Changing monikers frequently, Muskogee hosted the Muskogee Reds (1905), Muskogee Indians (1906), Muskogee Redskins (1907-1908), Muskogee Navigators (1909-1910), Muskogee Redskins (1911), Muskogee Indians (1912), Muskogee Mets (1914-1916), Muskogee Reds (1917), Muskogee Mets (1921-1923), Muskogee Athletics (1924-1926), Muskogee Chiefs (1927-1932), Muskogee Oilers (1933), Muskogee Tigers (1934-1936), Muskogee Reds (1937-1942, 1946-1950) and Muskogee Giants (1951-1957).[39]

Muskogee teams played were members of the Missouri Valley League (1905), South Central League (1906), Oklahoma-Arkansas-Kansas League (1907-1908), Western Association (1909-1911), Oklahoma State League (1912), Western Association (1914-1916-1917), Southwestern League (1921-1923), Western Association (1924-1932), Western League (1933), Western Association (1934-1942, 1946-1954) and Sooner State League (1955-1957).[39]

Three Baseball Hall of Fame inductees played for Muskogee. Bill Dickey played for the 1926 Muskogee Athletics. Bobby Wallace was a player/manager for the 1921 Muskogee Mets. Rube Marquard was a player/manager for the 1933 Muskogee Oilers.

Muskogee was an affiliate of the St. Louis Browns (1932, 1947-1949), Cincinnati Reds (1937-1939), Chicago Cubs (1941), Detroit Tigers (1946) and New York Giants (1936, 1951-1957).[39]

Muskogee teams played at Traction Park from 1905 to 1911. Muskogee then played at Owen Field, which was later renamed to League Park and finally Athletic Park. In April 1923, Babe Ruth with the New York Yankees played an exhibition game at Owen Field against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Later, Mickey Mantle played at Athletic Park in 1950 for the Joplin Miners in games against Muskogee. Traction Park was located in Hyde Park. Today, the Owen Field/League Park/Athletic Park site is occupied by the Muskogee Civic Center.[40][41][42][43] [44][45][46][47]

Muskogee Country Club (Muskogee Golf Club) played host to the 1970 U.S. Women's Open golf tournament won by Donna Caponi.

Notable people


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "Definition of MUSKOGEE". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  5. ^ "Muskogee, OK Population - Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts - CensusViewer". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  6. ^ Wallace F. Waits Jr.,  ""Muskogee,"  'Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture'. Accessed April 30, 2010
  7. ^ J. J. Compton, "Haskell, Charles Nathaniel (1860-1933)," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed April 30, 2010
  8. ^ "Moody's Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities, Issue of 1918, Railroad Section, page 718". 1918. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  9. ^ "Midland Valley Railroad". Augustus J. Veenendaal, Jr., Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  10. ^ "Muskogee Company records, Part 1". The University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas Libraries. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Jefferson Highway Route in Oklahoma". Oklahoma Members of the Jefferson Highway Association. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c "Reconnaissance Level Survey of Portions of the City of Muskogee Archived 2010-07-03 at the Wayback Machine," Oklahoma Historical Society Architectural Surveys (accessed May 14, 2010).
  13. ^ "MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA - Climate Summary". Retrieved 2018-07-19.
  14. ^ Eric Zerkel (25 May 2019). "Muskogee, Oklahoma, Rallies to Save WWII Submarine USS Batfish From Breaking Free, Causing Disaster". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Runaway Barges Threaten Dam in Another Day of Midwest Storms". US News. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Population-Oklahoma" (PDF). U.S. Census 1910. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Population-Oklahoma" (PDF). 15th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Oklahoma" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Oklahoma: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  20. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 17 June 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  22. ^ "Greyhound Bus Stations in Oklahoma". Greyhound. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  23. ^ "Muskogee-Davis Regional Airport". Muskogee, Oklahoma. Retrieved October 2, 2020.
  24. ^ "Central Airlines, Effective July 1, 1967". Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  25. ^ "Tulsa International Airport to Muskogee, Oklahoma". Google Maps. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
  26. ^ Jessica Saunders (15 May 2019). "Update: Georgia-Pacific: Oklahoma plant damaged in fire back in operation". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Toilet paper production 'records being broken,' one area maker says". Rhett Morgan, Tulsa World, March 27, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
  28. ^ a b Brandon Griggs, "Woman of Steel", The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 January 2008, pp. E1-E2
  29. ^ "City of Muskogee Foundation :: Grants". Retrieved 2013-05-13.
  30. ^ Muskogee Phoenix: About Us, accessed February 18, 2007.
  31. ^ "Homepage". Muskogee Phoenix. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  32. ^ Hales, Donna, "No murders here in 2008 Archived 2013-01-29 at," Muskogee Phoenix December 31, 2008.
  33. ^ "One dead, five hurt after mall shootout". Muskogee Phoenix. April 11, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
  34. ^ Dier, Arden (2021-02-02). "5 Kids Are Dead After a Mass Shooting". Newser. Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  35. ^ Terry Frieden (31 March 2004). "U.S. to defend Muslim girl wearing scarf in school". CNN. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  36. ^ "Nashala's Story". Jesse Lee, The White House (President Obama Archives), June 4, 2009. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  37. ^ "Thunderbird Speedway |". Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  38. ^ Obituaries, Tulsa World. "Tulsa World". Retrieved 27 November 2016.
  39. ^ a b c "Muskogee, Oklahoma Encyclopedia".
  40. ^ "Traction Park in Muskogee, OK history and teams on".
  41. ^
  42. ^ McMahan, Liz. "Park kept town entertained". Muskogee Phoenix.
  43. ^ "Hyde Park – Another One Lost to Progress".
  44. ^ "W.A. Owen Field in Muskogee, OK history and teams on".
  45. ^ History, Jonita Mullins Three Rivers. "Athletic Park a community gathering place". Muskogee Phoenix.
  46. ^ "Athletic Park in Muskogee, OK history and teams on".
  47. ^ "League Park in Muskogee, OK history and teams on".
  48. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 28 February 2021, at 02:49
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