Elks Lodge and Water Tower in Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Location of Okmulgee, Oklahoma
|• Total||12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)|
|• Land||12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||686 ft (209 m)|
|• Density||962.6/sq mi (371.1/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1096218|
Okmulgee is a city in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, United States. The name is from the Creek word oki mulgee which means "boiling waters" in English. Other translations put it as "babbling brook" or 'Effluvium'. The site was chosen because of the nearby rivers and springs. Okmulgee is 38 miles south of Tulsa and 13 miles north of Henryetta via US-75.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Economy
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Education
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Parks and recreation
- 8 Historic Buildings
- 9 Events
- 10 Government
- 11 Notable people
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Okmulgee has been the capital of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation since the United States Civil War. It was founded in 1868, when the Creek Nation began restoring order after the Civil War. In 1869, a post office (originally spelled Okmulkee) was established, with Captain Frederick B. Severs as the first postmaster. The name of the post office was officially changed to the present spelling on November 15, 1883. For seven years, beginning December 20, 1870, Okmulgee was the seat of government of all of what would become the State of Oklahoma except for the Panhandle.
The St. Louis, Oklahoma and Southern Railway (later absorbed by the Frisco railroad) arrived in 1900 and triggered a building boom. By the time of statehood in 1907, the town had 2,322 residents and was named the seat of Okmulgee County. Coal and agriculture fueled the early economy, but it was the discovery of oil nearby in 1907 which further expanded Okmulgee, and brought several new industries to town. These included three glass factories, a bottle factory, and foundry & machine shops. Five local refineries were operational by the early 1920s. While the population was only 4,176 in the 1910 census, the city boomed to approximately 35,000 people during the 1920s. A newspaper article from this era claimed Okmulgee had more millionaires per capita than anyplace else in Oklahoma. However, decreasing oil production and lower prices, the coming of the Great Depression, and other factors caused the population to shrink to 17,097 by the 1930 census. The population remained fairly steady from that point and even increased slightly to 18,317 by the 1950 census, only to begin a fairly steady decline to the present. The population at the 2010 census was 12,321, a loss of 5.4 percent since the 2000 census figure of 13,022.
Okmulgee is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 33.8 square miles (33.2 km²), all of its land. It is located in the heart of Oklahoma's "Green Country", in the North East Quadrant of Oklahoma. Okmulgee is 38 miles south of Tulsa and 13 miles north of Henryetta via US-75.(35.624558, -95.963254).
Discovery of the Morris and Lucky oil pools in 1907 brought prosperity to Okmulgee, and attracted manufacturing facilities to the city.
In the 21st Century, the most important business sectors in Okmulgee are: construction, retail trade, health care & social assistance, and accommodation & food services. Okmulgee's major employers include the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Anchor Glass, Paccar Winch-Okmulgee, C.P. Kelco US Inc., Callidus Technologies, Inc., East Central Electric Cooperative, Great Plains Coca-Cola, Covington Aircraft, G&H Decoy, and PolyVision.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,022 people, 5,135 households, and 3,291 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,015.7 people per square mile (392.2/km²). There were 5,948 housing units at an average density of 463.9 per square mile (179.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 58.85% White, 21.29% African American, 13.61% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 5.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.83% of the population.
There were 5,135 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.7% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 12.7% from 18 to 24, 24.3% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 16.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $24,344, and the median income for a family was $31,015. Males had a median income of $26,105 versus $19,722 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,633. About 19.6% of families and 54.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.0% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.
- Green Country Technology Center, part of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education system.
- College of the Muscogee Nation
- Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology ("OSUIT"), also known as Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee, or informally, as Okmulgee Tech.
Okmulgee is in the 10-county region served by the KI BOIS Area Transit System ("KATS"), a low-cost public bus/van service established in 1983 to help poorer communities, primarily in southeast Oklahoma, by providing access to Senior Citizen centers, groceries, medical services, and jobs.
The city is served by the Okmulgee Regional Airport (originally called the Okmulgee Municipal Airport), designated OKM by IATA Code and KOKM by ICAO Code. Construction of this airport was authorized in 1942 as a national defense project, and was completed on September 7, 1943. The main runway (18-36) is concrete-surfaced, 100' wide and 5,150' long. Effective July 1, 2015, the airport is managed by the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust.
Parks and recreation
Recreational opportunities include Okmulgee Park and Dripping Springs Park, which offer RV and camping facilities. The parks also offer swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities through the adjacent Dripping Springs Lake, which has 18 miles (29 km) of shoreline and 1,150 acres (4,700,000 m2) of water, and the separate Okmulgee Lake. The end of Okmulgee Lake features the Lake Okmulgee Dam Spillway Cascade, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, which on occasions of heavy rains and high lake levels creates an intense man-made waterfall. Near Okmulgee is the Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge. Established in 1993, this approximately 9,000 acres (36 km2) habitat for waterfowl along the Deep Fork River features opportunities for wildlife viewing such as along the Cussetah Bottoms Boardwalk, as well as fishing and certain archery, muzzle-loading, and small-game hunting opportunities.
In November 1992, the Okmulgee Downtown Historic District (NRIS number 92001693) was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The area is roughly bounded by Fourth Street, Eighth Street, Okmulgee Avenue and Frisco Avenue. In support of Okmulgee's downtown, an organization has been formed called Okmulgee Main Street, one of the various national Main Street programs that aim to reenergize their respective downtowns and commercial districts through preservation-based economic development and community revitalization. This group is helping to propel the “Okmulgee Rising” movement that started in the city in 2014.
The Creeks initially built a two-story log council house to serve as their capital. This building burned in 1878 and was replaced with the stone Creek Council House building that stands today. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as a history museum.
Historic mansions remaining from the boom days include the Okmulgee Elks Lodge at 701 S. Mission, being a 7-acre site that was originally the Wilson Mansion from 1922; the Southern Mansion off Banyan Road, being the 1928 home for Creek orphan Katie Fixico; the Kennedy Mansion from 1904 at 502 S. Okmulgee Avenue, which is on the National Register of Historic Places in Okmulgee; and, 1700 E. 6th Street, being a 1921 Italian Renaissance manse built for oil producer Eugene R. Black.
The City of Okmulgee government has a City Council composed of five members: a council member "at-large" who serves as the Mayor, and one council member from each of the City's four wards. A City Manager is in charge of directing the day-to-day operations of the City in order to carry out the policies established by the City Council. City Hall is at 111 E 4th Street downtown.
Okmulgee County government has three commissioners, one for each of the three Districts. County services, including the District Court, Assessor, County Clerk, Jail, and Sheriff's office, are all located between 6th and 8th St, and Alabama and Seminole Avenues.
Native American government
While the historical capitol of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation ("MCN") is the Creek Council House in downtown Okmulgee, the MCN's modern headquarters is located at the Claude A. Cox Omniplex campus at U.S. Route 75 and Loop 56. Other MCN facilities in town include the College of the Muscogee Nation, a tribal college with degree programs to meet the needs of students seeking careers in the tribal sector, located at 2170 Raven Circle; and, the One Fire Casino at 1901 Wood Drive. In 2012 the MCN purchased the Okmulgee Golf Club, also known as the Okmulgee Country Club, at 1400 S. Mission Street, complete with the original 1920 golf course and clubhouse. The MCN intends to turn that facility into a cultural center where events can be held.
- Donald W. Burgess, meteorologist, tornado and weather radar expert
- Joyce Cobb, jazz and R&B singer
- Samuel Checote, (1819–1884), Creek chief
- Patrick Collins, NFL player
- Ron Gardenhire, manager of MLB's Detroit Tigers
- Jim House, Arkansas state legislator
- Wright King, actor, birthplace
- Dewey McClain, NFL player, labor leader, politician
- Mel McDaniel, country musician
- Edward H. Moore (1871–1950), United States Senator from Oklahoma (1943 - 1949), wealthy businessman
- Melvin Morris, United States Army Medal of Honor Recipient
- Gary P. Nunn, country music singer and songwriter
- David Obey, US Congressman, birthplace
- Oscar Pettiford, jazz bass player
- Will Sampson, artist and actor
- Bill Self, college basketball coach, birthplace
- Ted Taylor, singer
- David Thompson, Former NFL running back
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Bamburg, Maxine. "Okmulgee," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed June 16, 2015.
- Oklahoma Almanac. "Okmulgee."
- "Historical Okmulgee, Oklahoma – 1920-1929". Eric Standridge, Owlcation website, posted December 12, 2017; quoting an earlier article by one Judge A. L. Beckett, said to be a pioneer of Indian Territory days and an authority on Creek Indian affairs, published in the Okmulgee Times-Democrat on September 26, 1926. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- ""Okmulgee Rising: What is Community?"". Daniel Morris, Recovery in Oklahoma, LLC website, posted August 24, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Okmulgee Area Major Employers". Okmulgee Area Development Corporation. Okmulgee Area Development Corporation. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 7, 2019.
- "Number of Inhabitants: Oklahoma" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
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- "FAQ." College of the Muscogee Nation. (retrieved 27 Dec 2010)
- "U.S. Highway 75 Endpoints". Archived from the original on 2011-07-03. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "Oklahoma Department of Transportation Website-- KI BOIS Area Transit System". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- List of airports by IATA code: O
- "Okmulgee Airport website, History". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- Casey Smith, “Tulsa Airport board approves operation deal with Okmulgee Regional Airport,” Tulsa World, May 15, 2015.
- Larry Levy, “Contract awarded for airport control tower," Tulsa Business & Legal News, May 18, 2016.
- "TravelOK Website--Dripping Springs". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "TravelOK Website--Okmulgee State Park". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, Deep Fork". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- "TravelOK--Deep Fork". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
- National Register Properties in Oklahoma. Accessed August 18, 2017.
- "Okmulgee Rising". Okmulgee Main Street. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Okmulgee County". Oklahoma Supreme Court Network. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Images for Okmulgee County, Oklahoma". CourtHouseHistory.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Lodge 1822 Home, Facilities, Okmulgee Elks Lodge". Elks website. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- "Okmulgee historic Southern Mansion for sale". Ralph Marler, Tulsa World, September 29, 2002. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Kennedy Mansion," (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- "1921 Italian Renaissance,". Old House Dreams, posted April 29, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
- "TravelOK Website-- Okmulgee Invitational Rodeo and Festival". Retrieved 2015-06-09.
- "City Council". OkmulgeeOnline.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "City Administration". OkmulgeeOnline.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "City Hall". OkmulgeeOnline.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Okmulgee County, OK". Local Technical Assistance Program of Oklahoma State University. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Okmulgee County". OkmulgeeOnline.com. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Muscogee (Creek) Nation frustrated by new building's closure,". Susan Hylton, Tulsa World, May 11, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Academic Achievement. Native Values". College of the Muscogee Nation. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Where It's OK to Play with Fire!". One Fire Casino. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Creek Nation plans to buy Okmulgee Golf Club,". Susan Hylton, Tulsa World, January 20, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- "Muscogee (Creek) Nation plots headquarters expansion, other construction,". Molly M. Fleming, The Journal Record, February 5, 2019. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
- City of Okmulgee
- Memoirs of Jeremiah Curtin in the Indian Territory ethnographer's notes of 1883 visits to Muskogee and Okmulgee; electronic record maintained by Library of Congress, accessed January 15, 2007.
- . Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.