Tulsa History: September 2012 Archives

When I was in kindergarten (1969-1970) in Mrs. Chambers's class at Catoosa Elementary School , we took a field trip to a place just up on US 66 called Nature's Acres. Mr. Hugh Davis, the owner, showed us alligators in a pond and an actual snake pit. Our assistant principal and P. E. teacher, Mr. Hough, got to pick up one of the venomous snakes because he knew how. (We all knew Mr. Hough was a tough guy. Conventional wisdom held that Mr. Hough had an electric paddle with holes to make it swing faster and hit harder.) Then we went into an ark (the Animal Reptile Kingdom) that housed a nature museum, where we had a snack (probably milk and cookies). The ARK was on dry land, but there was an unremarkable pond nearby.

A few years later that unremarkable pond was a public swimming hole, surrounded by a sandy beach, a restroom building that looked like a tropical grass hut, and whimsical picnic tables, and in the middle of it all, a big Blue Whale. You could walk in his mouth, slide down his fins, or jump off his tail into the water. Catoosa had no city pool; the Blue Whale was the place to cool off on hot summer days.


2012 is the Blue Whale's 40th birthday, and the community is throwing a 40th Birthday Bash, open to the public, this Friday night, September 7, 2012, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Cake and ice cream and blue punch will be served, and there will be a DJ and dancing. It should be a great celebration for Route 66 roadies and old-time Catoosans alike.

The night before, Thursday, September 6, 2012, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Blue will welcome the annual Blue Tie Affair, a fundraising banquet hosted by the Catoosa Arts and Tourism Society and catered by another Route 66 Catoosa icon, Molly's Landing. For a $50 donation, you get a steak dinner -- a Molly's Landing filet cooked on site with all the fixings. Dessert is Molly's famous bread pudding with Jack Daniels sauce. The Danny Baker Band will provide music and wineries will offer samples of their wares. Tickets are still available: Call 918-266-6042 or email the whale at bluewhalek2croute66@gmail.com.

A serendipitous find: LIFE magazine's April 13, 1942, issue included a six-page story about high school education in Tulsa, with photos by Alfred Eisenstaedt. The story, "Tulsa High Schools: They Are Making Progressive Education Work," highlighted non-traditional classes and teaching techniques at three of Tulsa's four high schools -- Central, Daniel Webster, and Will Rogers:

And, according to the caption, Central student Charlene Houston had a figure problem and had to do exercises with her pelvis in a vise to fix it.


There are many more photos from Eisenstaedt's visit in Google's image archive, above and beyond those that made it to print. Unfortunately and surprisingly, Google doesn't make it easy to search by the photographer and location tags attached to each image, and there's no way to get to a complete set of related photos. Best thing to do is to click on Miss Houston and then click on thumbnails of related photos. Where I could find them, I've linked my description (above) of photos that appeared in the story to the online image.

The story itself hints that as early as 70 years ago, the Tulsa school district was beginning to abandon basics for "progressive" fads. Which is not to say that these students were poorly educated. I suspect that, by the end of 8th grade, these students would have received as much education in the basics of math, grammar, and history as today's students get by the time they graduate.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa History category from September 2012.

Tulsa History: July 2012 is the previous archive.

Tulsa History: May 2013 is the next archive.

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