Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Camp Guthrie

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


Originally located within the city limits of Guthrie but later moved to a site near Noble Avenue and Ash Street, Camp Guthrie provided the military an operations center for patrolling the Unassigned Lands before and during the Land Run of 1889. While the U.S. Marshal's Service was the civilian branch in charge of maintaining order, the marshals were not as effective as the U.S. Army, which commanded the respect of most land-seekers. The military's role was to remove anyone who had illegally entered the area before the run and, if requested, to assist civilian authorities in maintaining order. Preparations for the run had proceeded more smoothly than anticipated, and the military role was relatively routine, with only minor incidents in the month before April 22. Troops were stationed outside the land office for a few weeks before the run. The scene changed drastically overnight, as fifty thousand land-seekers made the run and turned Guthrie and Oklahoma City into instant "bubble towns" with more than ten thousand population. Although rumors of widespread violence abounded, settlement was actually very peaceful, due to the military presence. When trouble arose, usually over a disputed claim to a town lot, order was quickly restored with the arrival of several troopers. Much of the military's success in peacekeeping had to do with the officers' professionalism and the troopers' training and discipline. Capt. Arthur MacArthur, father of Gen. Douglas MacArthur of World War II fame, commanded the troops at Camp Guthrie and was succeeded by Capt. Harry Givens Cavenaugh. As civilian government developed, the troopers were no longer needed, and the post was abandoned in June 1890. Guthrie citizens often called the camp "Camp Arthur" or "Camp MacArthur" in honor of its first commander. There are no ruins of the camp.

Michael Bruce


Pamela S. Bocock, "Camp Guthrie: Urban Outpost in the Territory, 1889–1891," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 62 (Summer 1984).

Lloyd C. Lentz III, Guthrie: A History of the Capital City, 1889–1910 (Guthrie, Okla.: Logan County Historical Society, 1990).

Browse By Topic

Settlement Patterns




The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Michael Bruce, “Camp Guthrie,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=CA023.

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.