The State Capital Publishing Museum is one of the most significant historical buildings in the state of Oklahoma. This beautiful building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was here on November 16, 1907, that President Theodore Roosevelt sent a teletyped message congratulating Oklahoma Indian Territory for becoming the 46th state in the Union.
The building is located at 301 West Harrison in Downtown Guthrie, OK. Building size is estimated at between 39,000 square feet and 50,000 square feet – the figure that the first owner, Frank Greer, claimed upon completion in 1902.
The building, often confused as being the first “State Capitol” building, never served as the Capitol for the State of Oklahoma, during the territorial days nor Statehood. The confusion comes from the name of the newspaper. Frank Greer operated under the business name of “The State Capital Company”. Note the “a” instead of “o” in the name. A building that serves as the meeting place for the legislature is normally referred to as the Capitol. The City that serves as the Capital is spelled differently.
Frank Greer operated the first Newspaper in Oklahoma Territory, although in the early days it was actually printed in Kansas, starting just before the land run. He eventually moved into the McKenna Building, a wooden structure that sat just south of the location of the current building. The McKenna Building was destroyed by fire on Easter Sunday morning, March 30, 1902.
Greer, already the owner of two lots to the north of the destroyed McKenna Building, was determined to build a much grander structure to house his printing enterprise. With much help from the citizens of the still relatively new territory, the current structure, designed by renowned architect Joseph Foucart, was completed and open for business by the end of October 1902, less than seven (7) months after the previous structure had burned to the ground. Although disputed by some, Greer claimed he could print 30,000 newspapers in one hour, once everything was in place.
At the time, it was the largest dedicated printing facility west of the Mississippi. In 1906, the National Newspaper Editors Convention was held in the new facility. On November 16, 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt sent a telegram that came over the wire on the second floor of the building, and Oklahoma statehood was announced from the second-floor balcony. Guthrie, which has served as the Territorial Capitol continued as the new State Capitol of Oklahoma, for a while.
The building did not serve just as home for Greer’s newspaper. Virtually all the preprinted forms used by courts and county clerks throughout Oklahoma were printed in the building. In the first-floor lobby, there are 620 drawers on the south wall that still hold many of those preprinted forms; everything from marriage licenses, deeds, and mortgages, to other civil, criminal and probate forms. Many of those forms survive today.