Tulsa History: March 2009 Archives

Here are some interesting publications relating to early-day Oklahoma on the websites of the National Archives and the Internet Archive.

The National Archives has an online sample of documents from their Center for Legislative Archives about Oklahoma's path to statehood including:

  • Survey Map of Oklahoma and Indian Territory showing distances, municipal towns, and post offices, published by George Cram, 1902
  • President Benjamin Harrison's nomination of George Washington Steele to be the first Governor of the Oklahoma Territory, May 8, 1890
  • First page of the Joint Statehood Convention, Oklahoma City, July 12, 1905
  • HR 12707, A Bill to enabling the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories to form a state constitution and State government, January 20, 1906
  • Pages from a pamphlet called "Souvenirs of Tulsa - Indian Territory," 1906, which was submitted to Congress as evidence of Oklahoma's readiness to be admitted to the Union
  • Telegram from T.H. Marlin of the Indian Territory to Joe Cannon, March 13, 1906
  • Letter from Edwin Meeker of the Oklahoma Territory begging the House to concur with the Senate's amendment to the statehood bill, March 13, 1906
  • Engrossed HR 12707, An act to enable the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories to form a state constitution and State government, first page, June 16, 1906
  • Engrossed HR 12707, An act to enable the people of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories to form a state constitution and State government, endorsement, July 16, 1906

The main page has thumbnails of each item, which you can click on to see an enlarged view. You can also download a high-resolution scan of each item. (For example, the full-res version of the map is 68 MB.)

The Internet Archive offers a 1916 book, now in the public domain, called Men of affairs and representative institutions of Oklahoma. It comes from the collection of the New York Public Library. It features photographs and descriptions of important Oklahomans of the day, with an emphasis on Tulsa. You can view the book online, or download it as a PDF and in various other formats. I found it while looking for information about Tulsa's streetcar companies.

Cyrus Stevens Avery, who would become the father of Route 66, is one of the featured "men of affairs":

oil producer and farmer, Tulsa, born in Stevensville, Pa., on August 30, 1871, son of James A. and Ruie Avery. Educated in the public schools. Received A. B. degree from William Jewel College, Liberty, Mo. He is a Democrat and has served two terms as commissioner of Tulsa county. Is a Mason of high degree, being a member of the Consistory and Mystic Shrine. Member Board Directors Chamber of Commerce, Tulsa, and president Good Roads Association of the State.

Other Tulsa notables include Glenn T. Braden, founder of ONG and namesake of Braden Park, Patrick J. Hurley, Robert Galbreath (the man who discovered the Glenn Pool), and Harry Sinclair. Pat Malloy, Sr., is in the book -- former county attorney, Notre Dame graduate: "Mr. Malloy was left an orphan at the age of 14, a cyclone at Salix, Iowa, having killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister."

Toward the back of the book there's a photo and description of the late lamented Manhattan Court apartments at 11th & Cincinnati:

On the opposite page is shown Manhattan Court, Cincinnati avenue and Eleventh street, owned by David J. Kelley, of the Manhattan Oil Co., Tulsa, the most beautiful and most exclusive apartments in the Southwest. The suites are three rooms and bath; interior trimmed in mahogany; quarter-sawed oak floors throughout; specially designed electric light fixtures; building scientifically ventilated; construction, asbestos and fire-proof stucco. Manhattan Court has its own pure water system connected with each apartment for all purposes; instantaneous hot water; steam heat; all kitchens open on beautiful interior court with its fountain of pure water and lawn; under personal direction of superintendent, always on premises; iron grill entrance for trades people in rear, adding to the exclusiveness and privacy of the occupants; special store room for each occupant in the basement; kitchens completely furnished with gas range, pantry kitchen table, sanitary refrigerator, connected with air vents and flush drains; garbage container furnished; garbage and waste burned; container thoroughly cleaned daily; each department connected with vacuum cleaner, work done by superintendent; sanitary bed in each apartment; large closet with modern appliances for clothing; bathrooms tiled and white enamel; recessed tubs, porcelain fixtures, plate-glass mirrors, medicine cabinets recessed in the walls; adjustable head shower baths; all bath rooms fitted with white enamel accessories: highest standard of plumbing and modern fixtures with latest sanitary appliances of approved design.

Manhattan Court occupies a convenient and attractive site in Tulsa. The artistic and attractive exterior of this structure, combined with its modern, luxurious and convenient interior, offers a must desirable residence for discriminating and appreciative people who understand that it is not how much money one spends, but what
is received in return for such expenditure.

Manhattan Court is not excelled by any similar structure in the United States and it is with some degree of pleasure that the owner has been privileged to contribute his share in this manner to the welfare and upbuilding of Tulsa. These flats are all rented a year ahead, and have a large waiting list.

Other back pages are devoted to a four story building called the Oklahoma Hospital, somewhere in Tulsa, the Tulsa Pathological Lab at 3rd and Cheyenne, the R. T. Daniel Bldg at 3rd & Boston, Boswell's Jewelry, the Gallais Building (now known as the Kennedy Building), the seven-story Brady Hotel, the three-story Overton Grocery.

Construction in the new Maple Ridge neighborhood is highlighted in a two-page ad for Stebbins, Eisenbach, Tucker, and Darnell, General Agents. They project that Tulsa will soon pass Oklahoma City. "[H]ere is to be the great city between the Missouri river and the Gulf coast...."

One page is devoted to Oklahoma City's extensive streetcar and interurban system. Nowata's Savoy Hotel and Mineral Baths gets a page. Several two-page spreads are devoted to various Oklahoma oil refineries. There were once many more in Tulsa besides the two that remain.

Photos of the original Kendall College building and Kemp Hall (the girls' dorm) will make you mad at TU all over again:

The present college is located at College Hill, and has a thirty-acre campus with five college buildings. Three hundred and fifty young men and women can be accommodated. Kendall likes Tulsa and Tulsa likes Kendall. The city has given the ground and about $200,000. The college work consists of nine departments, instructed by a University-trained corps of twenty-five men and women. The course is four years, leading to classical degrees, academic course of four years, corresponding to first-class high school courses. Also special courses in music, art, expression, domestic science, oil geology, business a'nd normal training. The dormitory facilities are unexcelled in the state. Every room is an outside room, and the chapel seats 550. A 55,000 pipe organ was installed in 1915. The gymnasium is one of the best in the state: building 65x90 feet, with a basket ball court. 40x70 feet. Visitors' gallery that will seat 500, bowling alleys, dressing rooms, equipped with lockers and shower baths.

Gone, every last bit of it.

The big surprise was seeing Moman Pruiett in this august and respectable company: "Prior to April 15, 1916, Mr. Pruiett had defended 346 men and women charged with murder; and he now has on his docket thirty-nine similar cases. In addition to this record, he has assisted in the prosecution of 37 charged with murder; and has been equally successful as a prosecutor. It is said that he had defended and caused to be acquitted more men for murder than any other lawyer in the world, and he has not yet been practicing twenty years." I didn't expect that he'd be respectable enough for inclusion. A recent biography of Pruiett is titled He Made It Safe to Murder.

A search of the Internet Archive for Tulsa turns up quite a lot of video of city council meetings, public forums, and other events by David Schuttler. It's interesting to realize that the work of this enterprising blogger/videographer is better preserved and more accessible to the public than the news coverage of local TV stations. Many sermons by Dennis Gunderson of Tulsa's Grace Bible Church turn up as well.

MORE to come: Jack Blair of the Tulsa City Council staff has sent along a number of city documents about our streetcar companies -- very interesting stuff that I hope to get posted in the not too distant future.

All wrote out

| | TrackBacks (0)

Over the last 9 days, I:

  • Wrote two regular columns for Urban Tulsa Weekly
  • Wrote two extra thousand-word pieces, which will appear in UTW's Spring Thing, one of the paper's two annual full-color special inserts
  • Edited and cross-checked a 75-page technical proposal, writing or re-writing sections of it, working 10-12 hour days, including weekends

On Sunday arrived at the office about 1 p.m., lunch in hand. I broke for dinner about 7:30, writing a first draft of my column, returned to the office about 9, and went back to work on the proposal, incorporating last minute corrections and making sure we hadn't left anything out. At 3 a.m., five of us -- the executive VP, the engineering director, the program manager, the tech writer, and me -- gathered in the conference room to cut and streamline to get the proposal under the page limit. We finished about 4, and I went back to work on the column -- sent it in at 5:49, drove home, set out the trash, and was in bed about 6:10. Slept five hours and went back to the office to give the printed proposal a final review.

This evening, my 12-year-old son and I went to Will Rogers High School for their "Second Monday" architectural tour which runs from 6:30 - 8:00. The monthly tour is free, but they hope you'll buy popcorn, soda, and special calendars to help support the theatrical program. The next major production is the 45th edition of the Will Rogers Roundup, a variety show that will run in mid-April in the school's beautiful 1500-seat auditorium. The school, which opened in 1939, is beautiful inside and out.

(Here's Joseph Koberling's commentary on the architecture of the school he designed with Leon Senter.)

The WRHS alumnus who gave a historical lecture in the auditorium at the start of the tour (didn't catch his name, but he did a fine job) related a conversation he had at the National Preservation Conference last fall. The preservationist came to the WRHS booth in the exhibit hall and wanted to know what the school was used for now and when it was renovated. The preservationist was certain that, like many historic buildings, WRHS had been badly remodeled or neglected at some point in its history, and that it had been deemed obsolete and repurposed in some way. The remarkable thing about Will Rogers High School is that they've simply done a great job of preserving it, continuing to use it for its original purpose and never "wreckovating" it.

Back home, I still had laundry to do and a three-year-old to bathe.

But now I'm beat. There's some interesting new stuff over in the linkblog. I'm off to get some sleep.

I mentioned a few weeks ago my stunned amazement as I drove down Quincy Ave.:

Looking south on Quincy Ave. from 6th St., I noticed a tell-tale pair of parallel cracks in the asphalt, each crack about the same distance from the middle of the street. The distance between the two cracks was about the same as the width of a standard gauge train track....

As I passed 8th St. heading southbound on Quincy, the parallel cracks swerved to the right. A bit further on, I noticed another pair of parallel cracks, about a foot away from the pair I had been following. The two pairs of cracks, swerved back toward the middle just north of 10th St. It looked very much like a spot where a single track split in two to allow streetcars heading in opposite directions to pass each other.

My jaw dropped when I spotted this.

Here is one of several photos I took of Quincy Ave between 8th and 10th Streets, showing cracks in the asphalt, which reveal where once ran the Tulsa Street Railway streetcar tracks. Here, looking north from 10th St., you can see where a single pair of tracks splits into two, so that cars headed in opposite directions could pass each other. Neighborhood lore holds that this was a stop on the line.


Here's a link to the whole Tulsa Streetcars set on Flickr, which will grow as I add other photos of remnants of Tulsa's streetcar and interurban system.

MORE: From the September 10, 1915, edition of Railway Age Gazette, an item about the ambitious plans of the other streetcar line in town:

TULSA TRACTION COMPANY -- This company was recently incorporated in Oklahoma with $100,000 capital and plans to build from Tulsa, Okla., southwest to Sapulpa, also extensions connecting Broken Arrow, Bixby and Okmulgee and a line north to Collinsville, in all about 80 miles. The company has bought Oklahoma Union Traction line in Tulsa. G. C. Stebbins, president; A. J. Biddison, vice-president and general counsel; I. F. Crow, secretary and treasurer, and B. C. Redgraves, superintendent.

And in the Sept. 24, 1915, edition:

This company was recently incorporated in Oklahoma with $100,000 capital, it is said, to succeed the Oklahoma Union Traction Company. A line will be built south of Tulsa, Okla., to Sapulpa and Okmulgee, and on the north to Collinsville. The company now operates six miles of single track to Orcutt Lake. G. C. Stebbins, president, and B. C. Redgraves, superintendent.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa History category from March 2009.

Tulsa History: February 2009 is the previous archive.

Tulsa History: April 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]