Okmulgee, Oklahoma

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Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Elks Lodge and Water Tower in Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Elks Lodge and Water Tower in Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Location of Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Location of Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Okmulgee, Oklahoma is located in the United States
Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Okmulgee, Oklahoma
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 35°37′28″N 95°57′48″W / 35.62444°N 95.96333°W / 35.62444; -95.96333Coordinates: 35°37′28″N 95°57′48″W / 35.62444°N 95.96333°W / 35.62444; -95.96333
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCouncil-Manager
 • Total12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)
 • Land12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
686 ft (209 m)
 • Total12,321
 • Density962.6/sq mi (371.1/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)539/918
FIPS code40-55150[1]
GNIS feature ID1096218[2]

Okmulgee is a city in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, United States. The population at the 2010 census was 12,321, a loss of 5.4 percent since the 2000 census figure of 13,022.[3] It has been the capital of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation since the United States Civil War. The name is from the Creek word oki mulgee which means "boiling waters" in English.[4] Other translations put it as "babbling brook" or 'Effluvium'.[citation needed] 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.[5]


Okmulgee 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. The Creeks initially built a two-story log council house to serve as their capital. This building burned in 1878 and was replaced with a stone building that stands today. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and now serves as a local history museum.[4]

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 had been named the seat of Okmulgee County. The present county court house was built in 1916. The discovery of oil nearby in 1907 further expanded Okmulgee, and brought several new industries to town. These included three glass factories, a bottle factory, foundry and machine shops. The population was 4,176 in the 1910 census.[4]

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.[6]


Okmulgee is located at 35°37′28″N 95°57′48″W / 35.62444°N 95.96333°W / 35.62444; -95.96333 (35.624558, -95.963254).[7] 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.[5]


Agriculture and coal mining originally supported the local economy. Cotton, corn, feed grains, and forage were the main crops. Truck farming, dairying, and poultry raising were also important.[4]

Discovery of the Morris and Lucky oil pools in 1907 brought prosperity to Okmulgee, and attracted manufacturing facilities like foundries, machine shops, glass factories and a bottling plant.[4]

In the 21st Century, the most important business sectors in Okmulgee are: construction, retail trade, health care & social assistance, and accommodation & food services.[4]

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.[8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201612,239[9]−0.7%

As of the census[1] 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.

College of the Muscogee Nation



Post Secondary[edit]


Okmulgee is served by U.S. Route 75, a major national north/south artery for much of its length, currently running from the Canada–US border at Noyes, Minn. to Dallas, Tex.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[17] Effective July 1, 2015, the airport is managed by the Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust.[18][19]

Parks and recreation[edit]

Recreational opportunities include Okmulgee Park and Dripping Springs Park, which offer RV and camping facilities.[20][21] 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.[22] 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.[23]


Okmulgee is known for its annual Okmulgee Invitational Rodeo and Festival, which is the nation's oldest African-American rodeo and one of the state's longest running rodeos.[24]


City government[edit]

The city has a council-manager form of government.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Council House. Former capitol of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. March 9, 2017.

Native American government[edit]

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation, one of the historical Five Civilized Tribes, is headquartered in Okmulgee.[25] Okmulgee is also the site of the original Creek Council House. Built by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as a capitol building in 1878, the Council House was eventually sold to the City of Okmulgee where it served various purposes over the years, including a Sheriff's office, a YMCA, and more recently, a Creek Council House Museum. The City agreed in August 2010 to resell the building to the Creek Nation, and the ceremony commemorating the repossession of the building was held in November 2010.[26]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bamburg, Maxine. "Okmulgee," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed June 16, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Oklahoma Almanac. "Okmulgee."
  6. ^ National Register Properties in Oklahoma. Accessed August 18, 2017.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "Okmulgee Area Major Employers". Okmulgee Area Development Corporation. Okmulgee Area Development Corporation. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  9. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau Population estimate: July 1, 2016". Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Oklahoma" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Oklahoma: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  12. ^ "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 June 11, 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  13. ^ "FAQ." College of the Muscogee Nation. (retrieved 27 Dec 2010)
  14. ^ "U.S. Highway 75 Endpoints". Archived from the original on 2011-07-03. Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  15. ^ "Oklahoma Department of Transportation Website-- KI BOIS Area Transit System". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  16. ^ List of airports by IATA code: O
  17. ^ "Okmulgee Airport website, History". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  18. ^ Casey Smith, “Tulsa Airport board approves operation deal with Okmulgee Regional Airport,” Tulsa World, May 15, 2015.
  19. ^ Larry Levy, “Contract awarded for airport control tower," Tulsa Business & Legal News, May 18, 2016.
  20. ^ "TravelOK Website--Dripping Springs". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  21. ^ "TravelOK Website--Okmulgee State Park". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  22. ^ "U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website, Deep Fork". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  23. ^ "TravelOK--Deep Fork". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  24. ^ "TravelOK Website-- Okmulgee Invitational Rodeo and Festival". Retrieved 2015-06-09.
  25. ^ "Muscogee (Creek) Nation Website". Retrieved 2011-06-15.
  26. ^ "Tribe regains historic Council House". Sara Plummer, Tulsa World, November 15, 2010. Retrieved January 30, 2019.

External links[edit]