Oklahoma City September 17, 1889
— The ‘89er Trail —
A visit by influential members of Congress
in September 1889 was the most important
event in Oklahoma since the Run itself.
On Tuesday, September 17, 1889, six congressmen arrived by rail from
Guthrie for a first-hand look at life in the Oklahoma country. Following
a tour of the city, they joined a large gathering for barbecue and
speeches. Mayor Couch and city councilman Sidney Clarke delivered
the welcome. Congressmen Charles Mansur of Missouri, and William
Springer of Illinois, author of the legislation that opened Oklahoma
country to non-Indian settlement, addressed the crowd.
That evening a gala dinner event at the Bone and McKinnon building
showed off the city and its citizens in all their finery. Before leaving the
following morning, the dignitaries promised to do what they could to
hasten federal legislation to establish territorial governance.
For a brief time the city's feuding factions came together to show their
most friendly face. Yet barely four days later, a city charter election
aimed at overthrowing the Seminole-controlled city government would
be stopped at bayonet-point by Captain Stiles and his soldiers from the
Military Reservation, acting at the direction of Mayor Couch and the
Top left: Citizens held a barbecue for the visiting
congressmen on September 17, 1889, near what is known today as Stiles Park, at 8th and Walnut. Attendees bowed their heads in prayer before an afternoon of speeches and paeans to hardy pioneers.
Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society
Top right: The Bone and McKinnon Building at California and Robinson was the venue for an evening gala to welcome the Congressional delegation to Oklahoma City. Today this is the location of the ice rink in the Myriad Gardens. Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries