The Port of Muskogee is located on the Arkansas River in eastern Oklahoma where the Verdigris, Grand, and Arkansas Rivers meet. Part of the Arkansas-Mississippi River Waterway, the Port of Muskogee is about 63 kilometers (39 miles) southeast of the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. The Port of Muskogee is also over 305 kilometers (190 miles) northwest of the Port of Little Rock. The 2010 US Census reported a population of more than 39.2 thousand people.
The Port of Muskogee is the seat of Muskogee County. Called "the Gee" by residents, the Port of Muskogee became the State's first river port with access to the Gulf of Mexico in 1970 when navigation on the Arkansas River was opened. The Port of Muskogee supports a diverse industrial sector that includes food processing, steel fabrication, and the production of glass and optical machinery. In 1876, the Five Civilized Tribes Museum was opened in the Port of Muskogee. Since 1880, the Port of Muskogee has been the home of Bacone College, and it is also the location of the Oklahoma School for the Blind.
Before Columbus came to the Americas, the Creek Nation did not exist, making them a relatively new tribe. In the early 1700s, English settlers began to call the indigenous people of the south "Creeks," shorthand for "Indians living on Ochese Creek." Traders applied the name Creek to most of the tribes in the Deep South.
When the United States were still British colonies, the Creek Confederacy lived in Georgia and Alabama, and they controlled the Southeast US. They lived in politically autonomous tribal towns, and they farmed and raised livestock. After trade in deer skins collapsed, the Creek lost much of their lands to the State of Georgia. By the signing of the 1805 Treaty of Washington, all Creek lands had been ceded to Georgia. A brief conflict between the United States and the Creek ended with their being removed to Indian Territory, some of them in chains, in 1836.
The first permanent settlement near the future Port of Muskogee location was born on the Verdigris River's south bank in 1817. After the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed, Creek Indians brought their slaves and settled in what would become the Port of Muskogee. A two-story stone building that was the meeting place of the leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes became the site of the Indian Agency in the Port of Muskogee. The tribes making up the confederacy included the Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Creek.
The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad came the Indian Territory to the future Port of Muskogee area in 1872. In 1889, a federal court was located there, and the Indian Territory was opened to settlement. Land rushes brought many white settlers into the area. The Port of Muskogee was incorporated in 1898.
In 1901, Charles N. Haskell, Oklahoma's first governor, moved from Ohio to the Port of Muskogee. He subsequently transformed the sleep town to a business and industrial center that was home to over 20 thousand people. In 1905, the leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes met in the Port of Muskogee to propose the creation of the State of Sequoyah, an Indian State, with the Port of Muskogee as its capital. President Theodore Roosevelt rejected the proposal, and Oklahoma was admitted to the United States in 1907.
In 2008, Port of Muskogee voters elected one of the youngest mayors in United States' history, 19-year-old John Tyler Hammons.
Today, the Port of Muskogee is a regional center for manufacturing, trade, and service. It is also important to trade, transportation, and industry in the agricultural Arkansas River valley. The Port of Muskogee is located in river country, giving it an advantage over other Oklahoma cities as a river port. There are also two airports within the city limits, and the Tulsa International Airport is less than an hour from the Port of Muskogee. The Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads also provide valuable transportation service to the Port of Muskogee.