Tulsa - Birthplace of Route 66
We think you'll be taken with Tulsa - a city that surprises visitors with a feeling that is Southern, Eastern and Western all at once. Experience its cosmopolitan flavor at the same time you delight in its small-town friendliness. We're big enough to have everything you need. But small enough to make you feel right at home.
What was to ultimately become Tulsa was originally part of Indian Territory and was first settled by the Lochapoka and Creek tribes in 1836. They established a home under a large oak tree at the present day intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and 18th Street, and named their new settlement "Tallasi," meaning "old town" in the Creek language, which later became "Tulsa." On January 18, 1898, Tulsa was officially incorporated and elected its first mayor, Edward Calkins.
The efforts of Tulsa businessman Cyrus Avery, known the "Father of Route 66," further aided the 20th century growth. Avery began his campaign to create a road linking Chicago to California in Tulsa through the 1920s, and earned the city the nickname "Birthplace of Route 66." Once completed, Route 66 took an important role in Tulsa's development as the city served as a popular rest stop for travelers, who were greeted by area Route 66 icons such as the Meadow Gold Sign and the Blue Whale. During this period, Bob Wills and his group The Texas Playboys began their long performing stint at a small ballroom in downtown Tulsa. In 1935, Cain's Ballroom became the base for the group, which is largely credited for creating Western Swing music. As a result, Cain's Ballroom became a hub for the new kind of music. The venue continued to attract famous musicians through its history, and is still in operation today.
In 2004, Tulsa was selected as the site of "The American," the world's largest free-standing statue, to be constructed on Holmes Peak near downtown. Originally slated for completion in 2007, developers have recently pledged an unveiling in 2011, with construction beginning in 2007. If built, the statue would stand 217 feet, or about 60 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York City, and attract an estimated 1.5 million visitors to Tulsa annually. The 21-story monument of a Native American man stretching his hand to an eagle is anticipated by developers to be a national icon similar to the Gateway Arch, Mount Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty.
Tulsa is located in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma and serves as a gateway to "Green Country," a popular and official designation for northeast Oklahoma that stems from the region's green vegetation and relatively high amount of hills and lakes. Come and see the popular Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden at Woodward Park contains more than 6,000 rose plants in 250 varieties. Along the Arkansas River, a linear park system called River Parks runs through more than 10 miles of shore with 20 miles of hard-surfaced biking and running trails. Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area straddles the summit of Turkey Mountain at the west bank of the Arkansas River and covers 300 acres of wooded bluff and features approximately 30 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails with scenic vistas overlooking downtown Tulsa.
The city's culture is apparent in its most prominent museums and performing arts communities. The Philbrook Museum, a former oil baron's estate, features a unique combination of extensive gardens and artwork. Located in the former estate of oil pioneer Waite Phillips, Philbrook Museum is considered one of the top 50 fine art museums in the United States, and is one of only five to offer a combination of historic home, gardens, and art collections. Gilcrease Museum, situated in the Osage Hills northwest of downtown Tulsa, houses the extensive collections of Thomas Gilcrease and the world's largest, most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West. The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art contains a large collection of Jewish art and artifacts relevant to Judaism in Oklahoma, as well as remnants of the holocaust, holding the largest collection of Judaica in the Southwest United States. Other important museums include the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
Each year, a sculpture from a local artist is installed along the Arkansas River trail system, while other sculptures stand at local parks, such as an enlarged version of Cyrus Dallin's Appeal to the Great Spirit sculpture at Woodward Park.[ At the entrance to Oral Roberts University stands a large statue of praying hands, which, at 60 feet high, is the largest bronze sculpture in the world. As a testament to the city's oil heritage, the 76 foot Golden Driller guards the front entrance to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds.
Be sure and visit our Centennial Website to see the variety of events planned to celebrate Oklahoma's Centennial year, 2007!. Already events are listed from June to November! Hope you can be a part!
We think you'll be impressed by our graceful, green, tree-lined neighborhoods. It's fun to drive through the historic areas and look at the vintage oil barons' mansions and dream of what it would be like to live there. Wherever you go in Tulsa, we hope your visit is special. We do take kindly to strangers here, and people don't stay strangers for very long.
Tulsa Visitors and Convention Bureau