Friday, July 19, 2019

The Phoenix of Museums: The State Capital Publishing Museum

The State Capital Publishing Museum, Guthrie, OKlahoma
Wikimedia Commons

By: Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez

Hello Friends!

Thank you for joining us once again as we delve into the history of this great state, we call home. Oklahoma.

Over the last couple of months, we have looked into much of the history of the land runs. This month, we look at a truly historic icon that is being reborn. The two of us met in a re-enactment group called the Guthrie Gunfighters, longer ago than I would like to admit. Most of our gunfights were either in the middle of the street or on the corner of 2nd and Harrison in Guthrie, Oklahoma. We did more shows there between the Capital Publishing Museum and the Blue Bell Saloon, than we can count, making beautiful backdrops to our trolley shootouts.

First founded in March of 1889, The “State Capital” was founded in Winfield Kansas by a Franklin Greer. Less than a month later, he moved his operations down to the newly formed town of Guthrie. On April 22nd 1889, the State Capital became the “first daily paper ever published in what is now Oklahoma”.

Originally, the paper was located in a different location, but moved to a rented space on the second floor at the current location in 1890. As the circulation of the paper grew, however, Greer rented more and more space, until finally in 1897, he purchased the entire building. Once the final top floor occupant moved out in 1900, Greer expanded his operations to the entire building, making 10,000 square feet available to the more than 100 employees the paper employed.

The Capital Publishing company remained in the building until the building burned down on an Easter Sunday in 1902. After the fire, however, Greer paid to have the building redesigned and rebuilt on the same site. With the help of subscriptions, the building was rebuilt in only 6 months, at a price tag of $50,000.

It house not only the print company, located in the basement, and was the official printing company for the territorial government, it also held a beautiful and ornate bank, and post office on the first floor. Greer branched out and sold a complete line of office, school and stationary supplies.

The designer of the new building was Belgian architect Joseph Pierre Foucart, whom had been instrumental in the design of numerous buildings in Guthrie to include, the Victor block, the Foucart building, the Gray Brothers Building, the Gaffney Building, the De Ford Building, and numerous others.

The State Capital, being the first publishing company in Oklahoma, quickly became the biggest publisher west of the Mississippi river.

In 1911, Greer sold the Oklahoma State Capital to the Guthrie Daily Leader, their primary competitor, and publishing under the name of the State Capital ceased. The building then started being used as a printing and book binding, under the name of the Co-Op Printing company. It remained for many years as the largest publisher in the State of Oklahoma for schools, churches and government.

Filing system on the first Floor, State Capital Museum
used with permission

In 1975, the Oklahoma State Historical Society purchased the building and opened the Capital Publishing Museum. They had courses where children could come in and print their own newspapers by traditional printing. The printing presses are still where they are and can be viewed by the large windows that went around the basement. The teller windows and bank vault is still there in pristine condition, and an entire wall is taken by an intricate boxed filing system. It even holds teacher's applications for teacher's jobs that the printing company printed. The museum remained in operation until it being closed in 2012 due to a failed boiler, the last straw in a long list.

Bank Teller stations on the first floor
used with permission

In 2017, a group by the name of the Guthrie Tomorrow Coalition purchased the building and are in the process of renovating it. They were open for Guthrie's Victorian Walk and welcomed hundreds of visitors for some Christmas cheer. They are gathering the funds to get the building back up to code, to reopen the museum, in all its former glory.

Part of Resume for Teacher, my own picture
Another part of resume for a Teacher,
my own picture

Did you know that resumes were
called warrants?
My own picture

If you would like to donate to their efforts, please feel free to contact them at: or

Thank you for joining us this month, as we explore parts of the rich history and culture of this great state. We hope you will join us next month as we look in to some of the other historic buildings in the culture and history rich city of Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Judge was born and raised in Little Axe, Oklahoma, the son of A.F. Veterans. Judge and Alanna love the history of the state and relish in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her second published story, part of a collaborative novella titled 18 Redbud Lane, is not available. Alanna and Judge live with her parents in the Edmond area. They are currently collaborating on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Oklahoma.


  1. How fun that you met doing something that you both loved! I'd say that pretty much ensures a lasting relationship, when you enjoy the same pastimes. I'm glad the town/city is taking steps to preserve this piece of history!

    1. Hi, Connie! I couldn't put it any better. Come back next time!

  2. I've been there and was very sad to see it had closed. Such a fascination place with so many interesting things to see. I hope it does reopen so others can enjoy it.

    1. It had closed after I had bowed out of the Gunfighters, so I'm kinda glad that I wasn't up there when it closed. It also broke my heart when I heard it had been closed and it was being looked at to renovate into senior living. You are right, Vickie, the history! Such wonderful history! Can't wait till they open it back up.

  3. My very first published series was set around Guthrie. The series began with a family settled in a small fictional town of Barton Creek in the 1890's and ended with Oklahoma's statehood celebration. I loved doing the research for it, and the bank I used in the town was based on this one you pictured. Our granddaughter and her family live in Norman, and our youngest son and his family live in Tulsa. On our trips there, we always stopped at the information center across the Texas border, and that's when I learned Oklahoma had a history as colorful as Texas. Hence, my series was born. I remember some of the things you posted from my research of the area. What you've included here makes it even more interesting.

    1. Hehe. I am so glad you learned about Oklahoma's rich history. In some aspects, the history of Oklahoma is very unique. I feel honored (like I had anything to do with it--hahaha) that you, a Texan, chose Oklahoma for the setting of your first published series. Love ya, Martha! And so proud to work with you!

  4. Alanna and Judge-

    Thank you for shining a spotlight on our museum. If you would ever like to volunteer at the State Capital Publishing Museum and get a walk through let me know! You can reach me via the our FB page or just shoot me an email.

    Clarissa-with the SCPM