Tulsa History: March 2014 Archives

Tulsa 1921 map

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A remarkable and detailed 1921 map of Tulsa is available for viewing online, from the Special Collections of the University of Tulsa McFarlin Library. The inset map shows the entire city, and is captioned;

TULSA
AND ADDITIONS
A Ready Reference and Guide Map to Tulsa's
OFFICE & PUBLIC BLDGS. CLUBS, R.R. PASSENGER &
FREIGHT DEPOTS, SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, PARKS &
CEMETERIES, PAVED & UNPAVED STREETS & NAMES,
STEAM, INTERURBAN & STREET RAILROADS,
FIRE PLUGS, CITY & FIRE LIMITS

Subdivisions are clearly labeled. Around the edges of the map are alphabetical listings of the categories mentioned above, plus banks, streets, hospitals, apartment buildings, and hotels. The street car and interurban lines are very easy to spot.

The outer part of the map depicts "Tulsa's industrial and commercial district : showing office and public bldgs. R.R. passenger & freight depots." It is more detailed, labeling individual buildings, and it covers a solid rectangle from Denver to Hartford, Easton to 5th St., plus extensions in to the west (to Frisco between Easton & 2nd), to the east (to 3rd & Madison and Admiral & Owasso), and to the south (to 12th and Main). Beyond these areas are residences and farmland.

Two publishers are listed on the map, the Dean-Brumfield Co. of Tulsa and the Standard Map Co. of Chicago.

Also in the collection is the Fowler & Kelly Aero View of Tulsa, 1918

The only disappointment about these two maps is that they appear to have been converted to JPEG format, which is great for photos of real life, but produces annoying blurs and other artifacts as a result of its lossy compression algorithm. PNG, a lossless compressed format, would have been a better choice.

UPDATE: Paul Uttinger provides a link to a better copy of the Aero View of Tulsa, 1918.

I. Marc Carlson, Librarian of Special Collections at the University of Tulsa, has several personal webpages containing his research on the Tulsa Race Riot and other historical topics. I just found out about this material earlier this evening and wanted to preserve the links for future exploration:

Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 by I. Marc Carlson: WordPress site, principal location for collected documents and analysis.
Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 original website: Hand-coded website that still has some important material.
Public-domain photos of the Tulsa Race Riot, with descriptions and commentary

Carlson takes a "just the facts" approach to the material, placing the greatest weight on first-hand accounts recorded close to the time of the events and documents of the time, separating evidence from widely-circulated legends. You can read his statement of methodology here. Among his projects are a timeline of the Tulsa Race Riot and a list of the Tulsa Race Riot known dead and wounded, with the source of the information and, if known, the address for the victim as found in contemporary directories.

rumblefish-greenwood-median.jpgOn Wednesday night, my wife and I went to Circle Cinema to see a double-feature: Locaciones: Buscando a Rusty James (Locations: Looking for Rusty James") followed by Rumble Fish, the 1983 Francis Ford Coppola film based on the novel by S. E. Hinton.

The first film at the Circle Cinema was about the second: Chilean author Alberto Fuguet saw Rumble Fish as a young man and was inspired by the idea that the ordinary stuff of life could be the source of art.

It is the film that incited me to write. The one that said: "You too can do it. If this story of two brothers can be art, then perhaps your world, your raw material, your square meter, can be of some use to you. Perhaps it can be representable."...

I left on foot. I lived close by. I arrived at my house that creaked. I remember that that night, in a short time, by hand, without a computer, I wrote my first story. Perhaps I should dedicate it to Dillon. To Spano. Perhaps I should have dedicated it to Coppola.

Some day, I don't know when, I should make a pilgrimage to Tulsa, I told myself.

A flop when released in the US as an ordinary summer movie, Rumble Fish became a long-running cult classic on the art-house circuit in Latin America, particularly in the Southern Cone of Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. The film was retitled La Ley de la Calle ("The Law of the Street") and presented in English with Spanish subtitles.

Asked to write an essay about a favorite film, Fuguet decided instead to create a documentary tribute. In Miami for an event, he bought a ticket to Tulsa hoping to find locations and to interview extras and local fans who would talk about what Rumble Fish meant to them. Instead, puzzled that the film seemed to mean so little to the people of the city where it was made, he went around on his own, filming locations. Instead of talking to locals, he went back to South America and interviewed authors and filmmakers who were inspired by the film. It was only later that he connected with Tulsans (in particular, Lee Roy Chapman) interested in the film who helped him gather additional footage for his documentary. Fuguet told his tale in This Land Press:

Things didn't turn out as I thought. My goal was to go to Tulsa, stay as long as necessary, talk with everyone, spend time with the extras, and succumb to a world I would have liked to be a part of. But Tulsa turned out to be not just a colorful city, where yes, the clouds pass but not too quickly. I was struck by something that left me lying flat on a bed in a Ramada Inn. Nobody talked to me. Not because they were fleeing from me or they rejected me. It's that Rumble Fish, the film anyway, was not a topic of conversation for them. It hadn't made an impact on the city. It was filmed there but in an informal way, not in the way its big sister, the immense and technicolored The Outsiders, was shot. It was very difficult for me to make a map of locations. There were no fans, no groupies, no cinephiles. I returned to Santiago with a lot of footage and an immense depression. I didn't have a documentary.

Fuguet's homage, Locaciones, is a collection of recent footage of Tulsa interspersed with clips from Rumble Fish shown on various screens, accompanied by the voices of the movie's admirers talking about when and where they first saw it and how it inspired them. It is in Spanish with English subtitles.

(Confession: I've never read the novel Rumble Fish and, until Wednesday night, had never seen the film.)

To Fuguet and his fellow fans, the Tulsa depicted in Rumble Fish is a "holy city." But the film shows a forgotten Tulsa that would have been very foreign to Tulsans who shopped at Woodland Hills Mall and never ventured north of 41st or west of Yale: Under the Boulder Ave. railroad bridge, a store front at 13 E. Brady Street, in the alley south of 5th Street between Main and Boston, the Sixth Street Subway, the 1400 block of S. Cincinnati, the 1000 block of N. Greenwood, 16th Street next to Marquette School, 3rd and Kenosha, the 23rd Street bridge. This was the Tulsa that Tulsa's leaders of the time were diligently working to update or eliminate -- dilapidated, obsolete, old-fashioned. Where they had already succeeded, when Tulsa couldn't provide the requisite flophouse apartment, mom-and-pop drugstore, and dive beer joint, Coppola took his crew to Sapulpa's better-preserved downtown to make up the deficiency.

rumblefish-greenwood.jpgThe most spectacular scene in the film (from a Tulsa history perspective) is on Greenwood at Archer. The then-recently restored buildings were decked out in neon, awnings, and running lights, and hundreds of extras paraded up and down the block in a scene that was supposed to represent a street party on the wild side of town. While I don't think Greenwood was ever as sleazy as the scene in Rumble Fish, it was as lively, particularly in the '40s and '50s, and Coppola and his set designers do an amazing job of recapturing its lost vitality.

Coppola and Hinton wrote the screenplay on days off during the filming of The Outsiders, and Coppola began shooting Rumble Fish right after the earlier film wrapped. The movie starred Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Vincent Spano, and Dennis Hopper.

Rumble Fish contains frequent instances of what James Lileks calls "accidental documentary." I found myself wanting to pause every frame, searching blurry backgrounds and plate glass reflections and my own memories for clues that might help me pinpoint the exact location. I didn't follow the story as closely I might have; I was too busy looking at what Tulsa looked like in 1982-1983. (The clock with the flipping ads from Jenks Restaurant even made a prominent appearance.)

Earlier in the evening, I saw an exhibition of photos taken during the filming of Rumble Fish by Gaylord Herron, Joe Cervantez, and Western Doughty, who as a 15-year-old photographed a scene being filmed in his neighborhood, on the south side of Latimer Street between N. Cheyenne and N. Denver Ave. Cervantez had photos of Greenwood and Archer as it was dressed for the film -- tarted up to look like a strip of bars, arcades, news stands, pool halls. He also had a remarkable photo of the buildings on the west side of Greenwood, at the beginning of the restoration process of the handful of post-Riot buildings remaining after the rest had been destroyed in the late '60s by expressway construction and urban renewal. The building facades, propped up by metal poles, were all that remained.

(I'm pretty sure the police officer in the movie was the visual inspiration for Axe Cop. And Vincent Spano totally stole my late '70s - early '80s look.)

WATCH ONLINE:

Locaciones: Buscando a Rusty James is available for streaming on the website of Cinépata.

Rumble Fish is available online at viooz.co. I have no idea whether this site is licensed to show the movie, but it's there.

MORE:

If you've seen Rumble Fish and are wondering what it's all about, here are a couple of reviews that seemed especially insightful. (Warning: reviews contain spoilers.)

This Perhapses review of Rumble Fish does a good job of connecting some seemingly unconnected details in the movie.

Rumble Fish, reviewed by Liam's United States of Cinema, as part of a series of reviews of three movies set in Oklahoma.

Tulsa is not like I imagined it. It is a seedy run-down city, like the Great Falls of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. There is plenty of space for rumbles in the freight yards, under bridges and down alleyways. Drugs are rife. Yet its isolated position on the plains is made clear. The outside world is all around. Roads are thick with dust, winds whip through the streets, and the hurtling, boiling clouds are continually above, reflected in the storefront windows.

He has some notes on the locations of Benny's Billiards, the fight by the train tracks, Rusty James's apartment, the drugstore, the bridge, and the pet store.

The Oklahoma Historical Society has been scanning and posting documents from their archives, and there is a page full of links to architectural and historical surveys of Oklahoma cities and towns. The surveys were mainly conducted over the past 20 years, often by teams of students led by an architectural historian. The intent of a survey is to identify buildings and districts that may be worthy of placement on the National Register of Historic Places, a status that can convey tax benefits and grant eligibility for restoration. A survey usually includes extensive descriptions of the historical context -- when a town developed, what caused it to grow -- and descriptions of individual buildings of interest, with their historical and architectural significance. Maps and photographs are often included.

Tulsa surveys include a 1991 "Reconnaissance Level Survey" of a dozen near-north Tulsa neighborhoods, and intensive-level surveys of downtown, Reservoir Hill, Owen Park, Riverside, Swan Lake, Yorktown, and White City neighborhoods. Bartlesville, Bristow, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Nowata, Claremore, Cushing, Okmulgee, Muskogee, and Tahlequah are among the northeast Oklahoma cities that were surveyed.

Tulsa history expert Paul Uttinger pointed me to a couple of amazing U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) aerial photos from 1967. It captures an interesting point in time, as land was beginning to be cleared for I-244 and the Inner Dispersal Loop. Tulsa had, about a year earlier, tripled its land area in a single annexation, but much of that area was still rural. Skelly Drive (I-44) had been finished a decade earlier, the Broken Arrow Expressway was open as far as 21st Street, and bits of other expressways were already under construction. I-244 was already complete to Sheridan, and you can see where overpasses and utility viaducts had been built prior to the roadway. In some images, sections of the Gilcrease Expressway and Sand Springs (Keystone) Expressway can be seen.

Street maps and Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps generally capture only urbanized areas, but these high-resolution, high-altitude photos document the rural outskirts of Tulsa in high detail.

These images also show Tulsa before massive urban renewal. Greenwood is intact, except for demolition for I-244, mainly the buildings on the east side of Greenwood between Archer and Brady, including the Dreamland Theater. Downtown is also largely intact, except for the Civic Center (the 1969 City Hall was under construction), and the beginnings of the erosion of urban fabric for surface parking.

(UPDATE: These images are also available (along with older and newer imagery) via the USGS EarthExplorer website. You can specify a location and a time range and find imagery that includes your area of interest. These images are "Aerial Photo Single Frames" and are found under the "Aerial Imagery" category. Other data sets of interest are National High Altitude Photography (NHAP), Landsat MSS 1-5 (under Landsat Archive), GLS 1975 (under Global Land Survey). The USGS Global Visualization Viewer is another helpful tool for browsing historical aerial and satellite photographs. Here is a description of each of the image collections and data sources.)

Here is a link to the Tulsa Library collection of 1967 USGS aerial photos.

Below are direct links to each of the files that I've explored so far, with notes on interesting places found therein. These are very large PDF files.

I plan to post some "Where in Tulsa?" contests -- each one featuring a clip from one of these images, most likely a place greatly changed in the last 47 years.


Tulsa, north, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Utica Ave to Hudson Ave, Tecumseh St to 51st St N, Lake Yahola, Lakeview Amusement Park

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 73rd East Ave to 121st East Ave, Tecumseh St to 51st St N, Tulsa Airport, Mingo School, Air National Guard base, American Airlines maintenance base, Air Force Plant No. 3, Tulsa Speedway

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Darlington Ave to 101st East Ave, Tecumseh St to 51st St N, Tulsa Airport, Tulsa Zoo, Mohawk Park, Recreation Lake, Mingo School, Air National Guard base, American Airlines maintenance base, Air Force Plant No. 3

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 125th East Ave to 173rd East Ave, 11th St S to 29th St N, I-44/I-244 junction, Rose Dew, Ponderosa Estates, cement plant

Tulsa, north, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Osage County line to Delaware Ave, 41st St N to 71st St N, McLean High School, Suburban Acres, Turley

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Mingo Rd to 145th East Ave, Tecumseh St to 51st St N, Mingo Valley Expressway, quarries, Mingo School, Tulsa Speedway

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Memorial Dr to 129th East Ave, 11th St S to 29th Pl N, Mingo Valley, Gilcrease, and Crosstown interchanges (US 169, OK 11, I-244), Tulsa Airport, Air Force Plant No. 3, Western Village, 11th St Drive In Theater

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 101st East Ave to 149th East Ave, 11th St S to 29th Pl N, Western Village, old Lewis & Clark Junior High, Cooley Lake

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Zunis Ave to Sheridan Rd, 11th St S to 29th Pl N

Tulsa, downtown & northwest, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 33rd West Ave to Midland Valley tracks, 7th St S to 28th St N

Sand Springs, 1967 USGS aerial photo

Tulsa, northeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Harvard Ave to Memorial Dr, 11th St S to 29th Pl N, including old and new airport terminal, McClure Park

Tulsa, west, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 57th West Ave to Nogales Ave, 36th St S to Edison St / Old North Road, including Sun Refinery, Chandler Park, Berryhill

Tulsa, west, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 81st West Ave to 33rd West Ave, 36th St S to Edison St / Old North Road

Tulsa, downtown and midtown, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Union Ave to Birmingham Ave, 34th St S to Edison St / Archer St, includes Texaco Refinery, Civic Center, Utica Square

Tulsa, northeast, north midtown, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Greenwood Ave to Pittsburg Ave, 11th St S to 29th Pl N.

Tulsa, downtown and west, 1967 aerial photo, 41st West Ave to Madison Ave, 34th St S to Edison St, includes downtown, Texaco Refinery, Sun Refinery, west Tulsa

Tulsa, northwest, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 81st West Ave to 33rd West Ave, Charles Page Blvd to 28th St N

Tulsa, midtown, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Yorktown Ave to Joplin Ave, 33rd St S to Archer St, includes Tulsa County Fairgrounds, University of Tulsa

Tulsa, midtown, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Harvard Ave to 85th East Ave, 33rd St S to Archer St, includes Tulsa County Fairgrounds, Ma-Hu Mansion

Tulsa, east, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Hudson Ave to Mingo Valley Expressway, 33rd St S to Archer St, includes Traffic Circle, Mingo Creek

Tulsa, north, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Lewis Ave to Sheridan Rd, 41st St N to 71st St N, includes Lake Yahola, Lakeview Amusement Park, part of Tulsa Zoo

Tulsa, east, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 93rd East Ave to 121st East Ave, 33rd St S to Archer St, includes Western Village, East Central High School, Bates Tourist Hotel, Skelly Drive / Mingo Valley interchange

Tulsa, east, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Mingo Rd to 149th East Ave, 33rd St S to Archer St, includes East Central High School, Bates Tourist Hotel, Harvey Young Airport

Tulsa, far east, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 141st East Ave to 193rd East Ave, 33rd St S to Archer St / I-44, includes KVOO towers, Rose Dew, Rolling Hills, Lynn Lane School

Tulsa, southeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 141st East Ave to 193rd East Ave, 53rd St S to 23rd St S, includes Cotton Field airport, Our Lady of Sorrows Convent

Tulsa, southeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 125th East Ave to 173rd East Ave, 53rd St S to 23rd St S, includes Mayo farm, Our Lady of Sorrows Convent

Tulsa, southeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Memorial Dr to 129th East Ave, 53rd St S to 23rd St S, includes Alsuma, Memorial Park Cemetery, Fulton neighborhood

Tulsa, southeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Hudson Ave to 109th East Ave, 55th St S to 23rd St S, includes Alsuma, Memorial Park Cemetery, Fulton neighborhood, Skelly Drive/Broken Arrow Expressway interchange, The Farm

Tulsa, midtown and southeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Hudson to 109th East Ave, 23rd St S to 55th St S

Tulsa, midtown and south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Lewis Ave to Sheridan Rd, 23rd St S to 55th St S, Southland, Southroads, Country Club Plaza, Edison High School, Holland Hall School

Tulsa, midtown and southeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Louisville Ave to 89th East Ave, 23rd St S, 54th St S, Skelly/Broken Arrow interchange, Sinclair Research Center, Southroads, Southland, Amoco

Tulsa, midtown and southwest, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Quanah Ave to Delaware Ave, 23rd St S to 54th St S, Texaco Refinery, Garden City, Brookside

Tulsa, midtown and southwest, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 33rd West Ave to Peoria Ave, 23rd St S to 54th St S, Texaco Refinery, Red Fork, Garden City, Brookside

Tulsa, southwest, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 57th West Ave to Lawton Ave, 23rd St S to 54th St S, Red Fork, Texaco Refinery, Garden City, Carbon Dale, Berryhill, South Haven

Tulsa, south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Elwood Ave to Harvard Ave, 43rd St S to 76th St S, Southern Hills, Turkey Mountain

Tulsa, south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Utica Ave to Hudson Ave, 43rd St S to 76th St S, Southern Hills, LaFortune Park, St. Francis Hospital, Holiday Hills

Tulsa, south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Delaware Ave to Memorial Dr, 43rd St S to 76th St S, LaFortune Park, St. Francis Hospital, Holiday Hills

Tulsa, south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Hudson Ave to 101st East Ave, 43rd St S to 76th St S, LaFortune Park, St. Francis Hospital, Memorial Park

Tulsa, south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 73rd East Ave to 121st East Ave, 43rd St S to 76th St S, Memorial Park, Alsuma, Union

Broken Arrow, northwest, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 101st East Ave to 165th East Ave, 43rd St S to 76th St S, Floral Haven Cemetery, 51 Drive In

Broken Arrow, north, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 137th East Ave to 185th East Ave, 43rd St S to 76th St S, northern Broken Arrow, Our Lady of Sorrows

Broken Arrow, all, 1967 USGS aerial photo, 149th East Ave to 197th East Ave, 65th St S to 97th St S

Tulsa, southeast, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Sheridan Rd to Garnett Rd, 65th St S to 97th St S, Meadowbrook Country Club

Tulsa, south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Pittsburg Ave to 89th East Ave, 65th St S to 97th St S, Signal Hill, Holland Hall future campus

Tulsa, south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Lewis Ave to Sheridan Rd, 65th St S to 97th St S, Oral Roberts University, Rentie Grove, Signal Hill, Hope Hill, Holland Hall future campus, Mill Creek Pond, Jenks bridge

Jenks, east, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Lewis Ave to Sheridan Rd, 87th St S to 121st St S, Rentie Grove, Mill Creek Pond, Jenks bridge, east part of Jenks

Tulsa, far south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Harvard Ave to Memorial Dr, 87th St S to 121st St S, Rentie Grove, Mill Creek Pond

Tulsa, far south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Hudson Ave to 101st East Ave, 87th St S to 121st St S, Mill Creek Pond, Bixby North, Haikey Church

Tulsa, far south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Mingo Rd to 145th East Ave, 87th St S to 117th St S, Haikey Creek Park

Broken Arrow, far south, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Mingo Rd to 145th East Ave, 106th St S to 136th St S, Haikey Creek Park, Indian Springs

Bixby, north, 1967 USGS aerial photo, Sheridan Rd to Garnett Rd, 106th St S to 136th St S, Shallenbarger School

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa History category from March 2014.

Tulsa History: February 2014 is the previous archive.

Tulsa History: April 2014 is the next archive.

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