On April 22, 1889, tens of thousands of excited Victorian-era land seekers lined the borders of the Unassigned Lands of central Oklahoma-hoping that they would be one of the fortunate few to acquire land in the first of five land runs in Oklahoma. The stakes were high as many of the aspirants had quit their jobs or sold everything they owned to get here. Cavalry troops patrolled the borders and interior with hopes of keeping out illegal early settlers-the Sooners.
At 12:00 noon, the roar of pistols along the borders signaled the start of the mad rush! People dashed from the starting lines from horses, wagons, carriages, trains, bicycles or by foot, striving to be part of the lucky one-third who would eventually receive land. By nightfall, Guthrie had grown from a sparsely inhabited patch of prairie and timber above Cottonwood Creek to a bustling tent city of over 10,000 land claimants and businessmen. Guthrie was one of two towns (the other being Kingfisher) that maintained a U.S. Government Land Office where claims could be confirmed, contested, or lost. Guthrie became the territorial capital until Oklahoma statehood in 1907, and the first state capital until 1910.
Every April, the Guthrie 89er Committee and the American Legion LeBron Post #58 sponsor an annual 89er Celebration that commemorates the spirit of the Land Run of 1889. Activities include a chuck wagon feed, a parade, and the annual carnival with rides and attractions. While in town, visitors can peruse numerous museums, shops or parks. Come to Guthrie and experience the spirit of the Run!
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