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Swiping the Seal—Guthrie vs. OKC for State Capital


Even in 1910, when this panoramic image was shot, Oklahoma City’s population was already nearly six times that of Guthrie’s—approximately 64,000 to approximately 11,000. As of 2017, OKC’s population is approaching 650,000, its metropolitan population around 1,400,000. Guthrie’s is smaller than it was in 1910, at 10,000. Courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society.

 

I was reminded a few years ago of how long historical grudges can linger. One of my Oklahoma History students at Southern Nazarene University was a delightful person and excellent student. When the topic of Oklahoma City and Guthrie’s battle for the state capital of early Oklahoma arose, however, her demeanor changed. For this longtime Guthrie resident and partisan, the wrong city won that battle.

In a June 11, 1910, statewide election, the people of Oklahoma determined their state’s permanent capital. They chose from among the current capital Guthrie; the state’s largest city, Oklahoma City; and Shawnee, a hub of political activity. The winner would gain enormous opportunity and influence.