A Brief Bit of History

Muskogee Co OK

2000 Muskogee Telephone Book

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The Indian Territory of Eastern Oklahoma, known today as the greater Muskogee area, prospered because of the fertile prairie and the abundance of water. When the Louisiana Purchase opened the territory in 1803, trading posts flourished. Pioneers traded goods with the Indians in exchange for furs, skins, bear oil, and beeswax.

The Verdigris, Grand, and Arkansas River, nicknamed the Three Forks, were the major means of transporting goods. In 1828 steamboats, replaced barges, and the trade business boomed. In 1872 the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad was extended to this area. Settlers, who founded Muskogee, followed the railroad's expansion.

Muskogee, which serves as a hub community for northeastern Oklahoma, is located in the middle of the world's largest concentration of man-made lakes. The area claims to have more shoreline than any other inland state. The name Muskogee evolved from the Creek Indian Tribe, who called it Muscogee. Muskogee was incorporated in 1898 under provisions of the Dawes Commission, which allowed settlement within the Indian Territory.

Today's downtown Muskogee retains its brick sidewalks and period lighting reminiscent of its early days.

The city serves as the county seat of Muskogee county and remains a major port center. It is home to two junior colleges, a four-year college, and a vocational-technical state college. Muskogee has been dubbed the "Festival City" because it hosts the annual Azalea Festival and the Indian Summer Festival.

East of Muskogee is Fort Gibson, a rural town surrounded by historic structures. The military post after which it was named was active from 1824 to 1890. Republic of Texas President Sam Houston, US President Zachary Taylor, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis were fort visitors.

Other historical communities include nearby Porum, home of Belle Starr, known as the "Queen of the Bandits." History is also relived in Checotah, which annually presents a reenactment of the Battle of Honey Springs.

Tahlequah, northeast of Muskogee, is flanked by the Illinois River, Lake Tenkiller, and Lake Ft. Gibson. It is the capital of the Cherokee Nation tribal government. Many historic sites, dating back to the town's founding in 1839, are here. The Cherokee National Holiday, celebrated on Labor Day, includes powwows, games and sports. Tahlequah is home to the main campus of Northeastern State University.

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"This Page Was Last Updated Tuesday, 14-Jul-2009 00:32:51 EDT"

© Sue Tolbert