, Muskogee, OK

March 8, 2007

The Muskogee Phoenix

The Muskogee Phoenix is published 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is distributed by home delivery and retail sales in several counties in Northeast Oklahoma. The Phoenix has been been published since February 1888, before Oklahoma's statehood.

Muskogee Phoenix offices are located at 214 Wall Street (one block north of Broadway, between 2nd & 3rd Streets) in downtown Muskogee. Office hours are 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday except on recognized Holidays.

Our switchboard telephone number is 918-684-2828.

The mailing address is P.O. Box 1968, Muskogee, OK 74402.

Additional information for contacting specific departments or staff by telephone or email is available in the online STAFF DIRECTORY located here.

Our history:

It was a cold, bleak day in May 1887. C.W. Turner, a pioneer capitalist, was standing in the mud looking at the smoldering ruins of what had been the business district of Muskogee in Indian Territory. The fire had ravaged 36 buildings.

Across the street, two men called to Turner. Frank C. Hubbard and Dr. Leo Bennett, owners of Indian Territory’s first newspaper, the Indian Journal, gazed into the rubble that had been their plant.

“We want a name for our newspaper,” they said. “Something different.” As Turner looked into the ashes, a curl of smoke rose. “Why not call it the Phoenix? Let it rise out of the ashes of the past,” he said, “just as the bird of Egyptian mythology.” The Phoenix bird was fabled to be consumed by fire of its own act, then periodically to rise in youthful freshness from its own ashes.

Thus, the Phoenix rose out of the ashes of the past in 1888. It became a daily in 1901, and was bought by Tams Bixby in 1906.

Bixby was a powerful political figure from Minnesota. He accepted an appointment by his friend, President McKinley, to the Dawes Commission, established by Congress to negotiate land settlements with the Native Americans. Bixby became the sole commissioner of the Five Civilized Tribes and was recognized as an Indian policy authority.

He eventually left the government and went back to “newspapering.”

Under his leadership, the Phoenix stood for “clean government, enforcement of the law, justice, and a square deal for all.”

The Times-Democrat, an afternoon newspaper, was acquired in 1916. It was discontinued in June of 1971.

The Phoenix was owned by the Bixby family for three generations. Sons, Edson and Joel, the Wall Street Twins, ran the newspaper during an era of prohibition. Tams Bixby, Jr. was the third son to guide the Phoenix.

Tams Bixby III led the Phoenix into the computer age. Offset production was begun in 1971 and an electronic editing system was installed in the fall of 1974. The plant was the most sophisticated computer operation of its kind at that time.

Gannett Company Inc., headquartered in McLean, Virginia, bought the Phoenix in 1977.

Current owner, Community Newspaper Holdings Incorporated (CNHI), purchased the Phoenix May 1, 2006