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Muskogee, Oklahoma
Pre-Statehood Commercial District.JPG
Severs Hotel.JPG
Surety Building.JPG
Exterior of the Ed Edmondson Courthouse, also known as the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, occupies an entire block between West Broadway, West Okmulgee Avenues and Fifth Street, Muskogee, Oklahoma LCCN2014630122.tif
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
Location in Oklahoma
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Muskogee County
Founded March 16, 1898
 • Type Council-manager
 • Total 44.73 sq mi (115.85 km2)
 • Land 43.16 sq mi (111.80 km2)
 • Water 1.56 sq mi (4.05 km2)
604 ft (184 m)
 • Total 39,223
 • Estimate 
 • Density 859.81/sq mi (331.97/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (CT)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 918
FIPS code 40-50050

Muskogee is the eleventh-largest city in Oklahoma and the county seat of Muskogee County. Home to Bacone College, it lies approximately 48 miles (77 km) southeast of Tulsa. The population of the city was 36,878 as of the 2020 census, a 6.0 percent decrease from 39,223 in 2010.


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 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.

Bird's-eye View of Business Section, Muskogee, OK
Business district c. 1910

Ohio native Charles N. Haskell moved to the city in March 1901. He was instrumental in building on the land rush; he stimulated expansion of the town 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 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.


Muskogee is an economic center for eastern Oklahoma and operates the Port of Muskogee on the Arkansas River, 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 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.

Muskogee lies in the Arkansas River Valley and has a low, sea-level elevation compared to much of the rest of the state. 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.

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


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 4,254
1910 25,278 494.2%
1920 30,277 19.8%
1930 32,026 5.8%
1940 32,332 1.0%
1950 37,289 15.3%
1960 38,059 2.1%
1970 37,331 −1.9%
1980 40,011 7.2%
1990 37,708 −5.8%
2000 38,310 1.6%
2010 39,223 2.4%
2020 36,878 −6.0%

As of the census 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 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 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.

Film Star & Producer Ford Austin premiered his cult smash feature film "Cerebral Print: the Secret Files at the Roxy Theatre in 2003. The theatre sold out. The following year, Mr. Austin went on to shoot his Award winning short film " The Lady Blades" on Main Street with his longtime friends And Muskogee natives Oscar Ray & Shiron Butterfly of the Bare Bones International Independent Film Festival.

Muskogee is home to the Castle of Muskogee. The Castle hosts Fourth of July Fireworks sales, a Halloween festival 'Haunted Castle', a drive-thru 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.

Points of interest

In popular culture

  • Muskogee was commemorated in the 1969 Merle Haggard song "Okie from Muskogee".
  • The song "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" written by Oklahoma native Ray Wylie Hubbard and famously recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker 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. In reality, Muskogee is only 40 minutes from Tulsa.
  • In the film Twister (1996 film), the team headed by Helen Hunt's character Jo Harding was based out of the fictional Muskogee State College


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. The 2.9 million square foot facility is Muskogee's largest employer with 800 workers.


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).

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).

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).

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.

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


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 also home to 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. Previous Institutions that where located in the city where Harrell International Institute, Spaulding Institute, and Nazareth Institute.

Muskogee has 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. 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.


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.

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. The airport had commercial air service from Central Airlines in the 1960s.

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

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.

Notable people

  • Reubin Askew, Governor of Florida 1971 to 1979
  • Randy Ball, college football head coach, Western Illinois, Missouri State
  • Louis W. Ballard, Cherokee and Osage composer and inductee, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame
  • R. Perry Beaver, Principal Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation
  • Maurice R. Bebb, etcher and printmaker
  • Aaron Bell, jazz double-bassist
  • Keith Birdsong, illustrator known for his Star Trek novel covers
  • Tams Bixby, newspaper owner and publisher of Muskogee Phoenix; chairman of Dawes Commission, which he relocated to Muskogee; lived in Muskogee from 1905 to 1922.
  • Archie Bradley, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Don Byas, jazz musician
  • Kristin Cast, writer
  • PC Cast, writer
  • Eddie Chuculate, author, graduate of Muskogee High School
  • Tom Coburn, former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
  • Isaac N. Coggs, Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Fletcher Daniels, Missouri state representative
  • Nelson Dean, Negro league baseball player
  • Drew Edmondson, former Attorney General of Oklahoma, 2018 gubernatorial candidate
  • Ed Edmondson, U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma
  • James E. Edmondson, current Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
  • Ernest E. Evans, posthumous Medal of Honor recipient for actions as U.S. destroyer captain in WWII
  • George Faught, Former Representative from Oklahoma State House District 14; first Republican in state history to represent Muskogee-based district
  • Carolyn T. Foreman (1872-1967), historian, wife of Grant Foreman and daughter of John R. Thomas; lived in Muskogee (1887-1967)
  • Sandy Garrett, former Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction and Hilldale Public School teacher
  • Susan Golding, former mayor of San Diego, California
  • Gloria Greer, actress
  • Clu Gulager, actor
  • Charles V. Hamilton, political scientist
  • John Tyler Hammons, former mayor of Muskogee and one of youngest mayors in United States history
  • Justin Harris, Republican member of Arkansas House of Representatives from Washington County, Arkansas; born in Muskogee in 1975
  • Charles N. Haskell, noted lawyer, oilman, statesman, and first Governor of Oklahoma
  • Darnell Hinson, former professional basketball player
  • David R. Hinson, pilot and former head of Midway Airlines
  • Lance Hinson, college football coach
  • Harold L. Holliday, Missouri state representative
  • Olivia Hooker, psychologist and educator
  • James Jabara, first American jet ace
  • Dennis Jernigan, contemporary Christian music singer/songwriter
  • James R. Jones, U.S. Congressman for Oklahoma's 1st District (1973–1987), Chairman of the American Stock Exchange (1989 to 1993), U.S. Ambassador to Mexico (1993 to 1997)
  • L. R. Kershaw, lawyer, banker, cattle breeder, real estate developer and candidate for governor
  • Barney Kessel, jazz guitarist
  • Leo Kottke, acoustic guitarist
  • Robert E. Lavender, former Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
  • Seth Littrell, football head coach, North Texas
  • Barbara McAlister (opera singer), opera singer
  • Roberta McCain, mother of Senator John McCain
  • Calvin McCarty, professional Canadian football running back for CFL's Edmonton Eskimos
  • Jay McShann, jazz musician
  • Bill Mercer, sportscaster, educator and author
  • Smokie Norful, Gospel recording artist
  • Kevin Peterson, American football player
  • Pleasant Porter, principal chief of Creek Nation (1899 – 1907) and president of Sequoyah Constitutional Convention
  • Alexander Posey, writer, newspaper editor, secretary of the Sequoyah Constitutional Convention
  • Joe A. Rector, American/Cherokee artist
  • Robert Reed, actor who played Mike Brady, father on The Brady Bunch
  • Bass Reeves, one of the first African-American Deputy U.S. Marshals, who served at the Muskogee Federal Court in Indian Territory, and later became an officer of the Muskogee Police Department
  • Alice Mary Robertson, educator, social worker, government official, second woman to serve in the United States Congress
  • Muskogee Yargee Ross, pioneer resident
  • Pee Wee Russell, jazz musician
  • Thomas Ryan, politician, lawyer, lived in Muskogee as representative from Secretary of the Interior
  • A. G. W. Sango, lawyer, newspaper editor, school founder
  • James M. Shackelford, first United States judge in Indian Territory (1889-1907)
  • Jackie Shipp, former NFL player
  • The Swon Brothers, duo that gained fame on NBC's The Voice (season 4) , made up of brothers Zach and Colton they finished in third place
  • Mike Synar, former U.S. Representative from Oklahoma
  • John R. Thomas, attorney, Federal judge before Oklahoma statehood, father of historian Carolyn T. Foreman, who married historian Grant Foreman
  • Carrie Underwood, country music singer
  • Sarah Vowell, author
  • Les Walrond, Major League Baseball player
  • W. Richard West Jr., director of National Museum of the American Indian
  • Claude "Fiddler" Williams, jazz musician
  • Larry Winget, speaker and author
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