Muskogee, Oklahoma

Muskogee, Oklahoma
City of Muskogee, Oklahoma
The Katy Hotel and Depot in Muskogee, 1907 at the time of Oklahoma statehood.
The Great Seal of the City of Muskogee
Name origin: Creek language
Motto: We're Proud to be Okies from Muskogee
Nickname: The Skoge, Oklahoma's River City, Oklahoma's Music City
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Muskogee County
Elevation 604 ft (184 m)
Coordinates 35°44′48″N 95°22′05″W / 35.7466°N 95.3680°W / 35.7466; -95.3680
Area 38.8 sq mi (100 km2)
 - land 37.3 sq mi (97 km2)
 - water 1.4 sq mi (4 km2)
Population 38,310 (2000)
Density 1,025.9 / sq mi (396 / km2)
Founded March 16, 1898
Mayor John Tyler Hammons (R)
Timezone CT (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CT (UTC-5)
Area code 918
Location of Muskogee in Oklahoma

Muskogee is a city in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, United States. It is the county seat of Muskogee County,[1] and home to Bacone College. The population was 38,310 at the 2000 census, making it the eleventh-largest city in Oklahoma.

The city's current mayor is John Tyler Hammons, first elected in 2008 at the age of 19.

The 1951 film Jim Thorpe, All American, starring Burt Lancaster, was filmed on the campus of Bacone Indian College at Muskogee.[2] Two feature films were recently shot in Muskogee: Salvation (2007) and Denizen (2010).[3]



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

The Creek Indians and their slaves relocated to the area after the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 under President Andrew Jackson. Muskogee became the site of the Indian Agency, a two-story stone building where the heads of the Five Civilized Tribes met. Today it serves as a museum at the top of Agency Hill, in 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 the city in 1889 around the same time that Indian Territory was opened to settlers via land rushes. The city was incorporated on March 19, 1898.[4]

Business section c. 1910

Ohio native Charles N. Haskell moved to the city in March 1901.[5] He took a quiet town of more than 4,000 people to a center of business and industry with a population of more than 20,000 inhabitants. Haskell built the first five-story business block in Oklahoma Territory; he organized and built most of the railroads running into the city. He built and owned fourteen brick buildings in the city.

As Muskogee’s economic and business importance grew, so did its political power. When the Civilized Tribes met together to propose an Indian State, the State of Sequoyah, they met on August 21, 1905 in Muskogee to draft its constitution. They planned to have Muskogee serve as the State's capital. Vetoed by US President Theodore Roosevelt, the proposed State of Sequoyah did not receive federal recognition. The US admitted the State of Oklahoma to the Union on November 16, 1907 as the 46th State.

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


Muskogee is an economic center for eastern Oklahoma and operates the Port of Muskogee, which is accessible from the Gulf of Mexico.

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.

It is crossed by U.S. Route 62, U.S. Route 64, Oklahoma State Highway 2, Oklahoma State Highway 16 and Oklahoma State Highway 165.

Muskogee lies in the Arkansas River Valley and has a low, sea-level elevation compared to much of the rest of the state.[6] The city is located on the boundary of the oak and hickory forest region of eastern Oklahoma and the prairie, Great Plains region of northeastern Oklahoma. It is considered a suburban community of Tulsa.[6]

The city's climate is considerably warmer and more humid than other parts of the state.[6]


The population is one of the most diverse in the state. The population of Muskogee has remained relatively unchanged since the first half of the twentieth century. Twenty-four different nationalities are represented within in the city’s limits as well as 17 non-English languages being spoken as first languages.

As of the census[7] 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.

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, a museum dedicated to preserving the art and culture of the Five Civilized Tribes; the U.S.S. Batfish and War Memorial Park, whose major attraction is the submarine USS Batfish; the Three Rivers Museum, dedicated to the history of the Three Rivers area and the railroads that helped create it; the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, honoring Oklahoma musicians since 1997; the Thomas-Foreman Historic Home, 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; and Ataloa Lodge, 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). Both were produced by writer/director J.A. Steel.[3]


Local government

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 current city manager, Greg Buckley, was appointed in February 2008. The current mayor is the Honorable John Tyler Hammons, who, at the time of his election, was a 19-year-old University of Oklahoma freshman. Hammons was elected with 70 percent of the vote on May 13, 2008, in an election against former Muskogee Mayor Hershel McBride.[8] Hammons was re-elected on April 6, 2010.

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 government

Muskogee is represented by two state representatives: State Representative Jerry McPeak representing House District 13 and State Representative George Faught representing House District 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 by State Senator Earl Garrison (D-Muskogee), 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, represented by U.S. Representative Dan Boren (D-Muskogee). The state's senior U.S. Senator is James Inhofe (R-Tulsa), and the state's junior U.S. Senator is Tom Coburn (R-Muskogee). Muskogee, along with Tulsa, Oklahoma, is the only other city in Oklahoma to be the home of both a sitting US Congressman and sitting US Senator.


Since 1995, crime rate has been reduced 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.[9]

On Tuesday, November 9, 2010, authorities arrested a teenager, 18-year-old Aaron Laconsello, in the fatal slaying of 4-year-old Dakota Lane, stabbed 36 times, in the 700 block of North N Street during an armed home invasion, robbery, and assault. The boy's mother, Stephanie Lane, was eight months pregnant at the time and Dakota's 6-year-old brother was sleeping in another room at the time. The suspect, who is being held without bail, is eligible to face the death penalty on capital felony first degree murder, first-degree burglary, and assault with a deadly weapon, according to Muskogee County, Oklahoma District Attorney Larry Moore.


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.

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.

Points of interest

Muskogee in popular culture

  • Muskogee was commemorated in the 1969 Merle Haggard song "Okie from Muskogee".
  • The Jerry Jeff Walker song "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" is a satire of small-town life playfully aimed at Muskogee, which is made evident in the last line of the song: "Muskogee, Oklahoma, U.S.A."
  • In the sitcom Friends, Chandler becomes excited when he hears a mention of Muskogee, saying that it's "only four hours from Tulsa," where he resides.[10]

Notable residents


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Tulsa World" - Jim Thorpe
  3. ^ a b Brandon Griggs, "Woman of Steel", The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 January 2008, pp. E1-E2
  4. ^ Waits Jr., Wallace F., "Muskogee," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (accessed April 30, 2010)
  5. ^ Compton, J.J., "Haskell, Charles Nathaniel (1860-1933)," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture (accessed April 30, 2010)
  6. ^ a b c "Reconnaissance Level Survey of Portions of the City of Muskogee," Oklahoma Historical Society Architectural Surveys (accessed May 14, 2010).
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^, U. of Okla. freshman, 19, elected mayor of Muskogee
  9. ^ Hales, Donna, "No murders here in 2008," Muskogee Phoenix December 31, 2008.
  10. ^ Friends - "The One With Rachel's Other Sister", Season 9, episode 8

External links

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