Railroad Day at Three Rivers Museum
For ten years Three Rivers Museum has honored our railroad heritage on a Saturday in May with railroad enthusiasts from all over the country coming together for reunions, lectures, sharing, and just plain fun! Local model railroaders bring their beautiful layouts with their prized trains for enjoyment for young and old alike.
Railroads have been an important part of Muskogee since the MK&T put the first line through this area in 1872 establishing the City of Muskogee. Recognizing our great railroad heritage, Three Rivers Museum, 220 Elgin, will celebrate Railroad Day, Saturday May 11 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Young and old alike will enjoy model train layouts and railroad exhibits throughout the museum, and a guided tour of the 1940's era switch engine with a view from the engineer's perspective. A new model of the Midland Valley engines #152 and #153 created by Jim Lemley will be unveiled. These engines, one east bound, the other west bound were involved in a fatal accident near Bokoshe in 1958, the only known serious accident in the history of the Midland Valley system. The model will be on permanent exhibit in the musuem.
At 1:00 p.m., Mike Condren will present a program about the "Muskogee Roads", a system of railroads under common management headquartered in Muskogee and controlled by the Muskogee Company of Philadelphia. They were the only Class 1 railroads to be headquartered in Oklahoma and had a major impact on the development and livelihood of the region. The Muskogee Roads included of the lines of the Midland Valley, the Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf, and the Oklahoma City-Ada, & Atoka Railroads.
Admission is free from 10:30 - 3:00
For more information call 918-686-6624
Muskogee's First Railroad Day
The very first Railroad Day in Muskogee was held by the city in 1904. The following article was published in the Muskogee Phoenix, May 19, 1904:
Railroad Day has been celebrated in Muskogee, and the visitors who came will never meet with a warmer or heartier welcome in any city, on any occasion, than was extended to them in Muskogee.
Early and late the trains on the various roads were emptied of thousands of persons, of all them anxious to see Muskogee, some of them taking advantage of cheap rates to come here to see their friends, and some of them coming to celebrate. And all those who came were satisfied with the trip.
In the morning the fire boys gave an exhibition of rapid work in extinguishing a fire, and right well did they perform their part. Many enthusiastic and admiring expressions were heard concerning the Muskogee fire department.
Excellent music was furnished during the day by the Merchant’s Band.
The visitors were met and shown every courtesy by the citizens of Muskogee, and one of the novel features of the entertainment was the shooting of an oil well in the southeast part of the city. A gas well was also one of the attractions, and large numbers of people visited it during the day.
When the noon hour arrived, an excellent lunch was ready for all those who chose to partake, and there were many who so desired. The two lunch rooms were under control of Gus Lubbes, and right well did he perform his duties. He stated that during the day at least 4,000 persons had been fed, and each one of that number had received all that they wanted to eat.
In the afternoon, many took advantage of the free excursions to see the country traversed by the Muskogee Union and the Midland Valley railroads.
The ball game at Henry Kendall College was the chief attraction during the afternoon, and a large crowd was in attendance. The contest was between the Muskogee first nine and a team composed of the best players from Pryor Creek and Vinita. At the end of nine innings, the score stood 5 to 3 in favor of Muskogee, the latter team taking down the purse of $25 to the winner given by the Chamber of Commerce.
In the evening the visiting railroad men, together with the Chamber of Commerce, enjoyed a smoker at the Elks’ Club rooms. All the railroad officials in the city had been invited and many were present.
President Hopkins, of the Chamber of Commerce, addressed those present, stating that the object of the meeting was to round off the celebration of Railroad Day in Muskogee.
Mr. Hopkins said that many railroad officials in different cities had been invited to be present, and those who could not attend sent telegrams expressing their well wishes.
Mayor Rutherford was then presented and made a very neat speech in which he referred to Mr. C.N. Haskell as being the foremost figure in the building of Muskogee, owing to many railroads being projected and built into Muskogee by that gentleman. He also eulogized Mr. Haskell for the fair treatment of everyone with whom he had had any dealings or came in contact with.
At the conclusion of his speech, Mr. Rutherford uncovered an elaborate and beautiful solid silver tea set, and in a few choice words presented the same to Mr. Haskell on behalf the citizens of Muskogee as a token of the esteem in which he is held for what he has done for the town, and for his gentlemanly conduct and fair dealing on any and all occasions and with everyone, from highest to lowest.
This was a complete surprise to Mr. Haskell, who in reply stated that the rapid strides made and being made by Muskogee, were due to no one man, but to those citizens here who were always ready and willing to contribute to anything that might be of benefit to Muskogee.
Mr. Haskell feelingly thanked the donors for the beautiful and costly gift, saying that words failed him in the expression of his appreciation of the esteem in which he was held by the citizens of Muskogee.
In his remarks Mr. Haskell paid a very nice tribute to the management of the M.K.&T., in which he stated that in all his railroad building, that he had received the highest consideration at the hands of Mr. Allen, the vice president of general manager of that road, and that in scores of ways had the new railroads building into Muskogee been assisted by the M.K.&T., which was the pioneer road in this country. This is a courtesy highly appreciated by railroad men, and Mr. Haskell stated before the assembly that they must not consider that the new roads had opposition from those already in the field, but that on the other hand they had received great assistance and encouragement from them. They were all interested in building a greater Muskogee and the way to do that was to build more railroads.
Short talks were made by Messrs. Clifford L. Jackson, W.T. Hutchings, H.G. Baker, P.C. West, T.B. Needles, Tom Smith, Ben Martin, Bert Greer, W.E. Rowsey, W.C. Jackson, A.C. Trumbo and W.P. Dewar.
(c) 2012 Three Rivers Museum
Muskogee, OK 74401