With its false front and full glass display windows, the Eagle building is one of the Museum's outstanding examples of vernacular wood-frame cattle town architecture. The structure, most likely built in the late 19th century, originally housed a grocery store near 9th and Main Streets. The store was later used as Andrew Cook's Jewelry Repair and Cook's Exchange Shop in the 1940's and 50's. It was moved to the Museum grounds in 1958.
The building represents the office and printing business of Colonel Marshall M. Murdock, founder and editor of the Wichita City Eagle. The Eagle was one of the first newspapers published in Wichita and has remained in continuous operation since that time. Murdock's title resulted from his service in the county militia during the Kansas-Missouri border skirmishes of 1864.
Having followed various colorful pursuits in life including politics, prospecting for gold, and helping John Brown aid runaway slaves, Murdock sold a newspaper business in Burlingame, Kansas in 1872 and relocated to Wichita. He had been recruited by city leaders and the expected arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad to the new town convinced him it was a place of opportunity. He opened up his print shop in a small wood building at Third and Main Streets.
Marsh Murdock was an ardent promoter of the city of Wichita throughout his life. He used his newspaper as a means to proclaim the advantages of life on this western frontier. He attracted new settlers and speculators by portraying Wichita as an oasis of civility and led community boosters in his vision to turn a frontier town into an enterprising city.
On his death in 1908, his wife Victoria Mayberry Murdock, took over the ownership of the Eagle and became one of the few women publishers of a big daily newspaper. At the time, it enjoyed the largest circulation in the state of Kansas. Victoria Murdock died in 1914. It was then that family legend revealed that Col. Murdock had created his well-known descriptor of Wichita, "Peerless Princess of the Plains", in honor of his wife.
The interior exhibit represents a newspaper office and printing establishment of the early 1870's. The Editor's Office and reading room are replicated near the front door. The back shop contains working presses, type cases, and associated equipment.