Back before Oklahoma became the 46th star on the United States flag, it was just a territory with dreams of gaining statehood. But even as a territory, it needed a capital city. The city of Guthrie (located just 35 minutes north of Oklahoma City) was chosen as the Territorial Capital in the months following the Land Run of 1889. And when Oklahoma gained statehood in 1907, Guthrie became the state capital.
But you say, “Wait a minute. Oklahoma City is the capital of Oklahoma.” Well, my friend, you are correct. The deal was that Guthrie would remain the capital until 1913 and then the people of Oklahoma would vote and choose a permanent location. It didn’t really go that way, though. Instead, Gov. Charles Haskell called for an early statewide election and on June 11, 1910, a majority vote chose Oklahoma City as the capital.
Legend has it that Gov. Haskell actually broke into the courthouse in Guthrie under the cover of night to steal the state seal and bring it to Oklahoma City. While we hate to ruin a great story, in all actuality, the Secretary of State brought the state seal by order of Gov. Haskell to the Huckins Hotel, making the Hotel the State Capitol of Oklahoma until the capitol building was completed in 1917. You can read a full account of the state capitol move here and here.
[Photo from Oklahoma Historical Society]