Greenwood: December 2008 Archives

In this week's issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly I wrote about the proposed look for the new downtown ballpark, and I mentioned the location's connection with two railroads and the Greenwood district:

From the 1910s until sometime in the 1990s, the site was bisected by the M. K. & T. railroad tracks. For the first 50 years of that period, the interurban from Sand Springs ran down the center of Archer until about a half-block east of Elgin, where the tracks curved northward, running roughly where the ballpark's outfield fence will be. The trolley tracks then ran down the middle of Greenwood Ave. from Brady St. to Haskell St., before veering off to the east to connect to the Santa Fe tracks to the north.

You can still see some old bits of the track behind the commercial buildings on the west side of Greenwood. The triangular shape of that block of buildings marks where the Sand Springs and Katy railroads crossed paths. If you look closely, you can see where the middle of Archer and the sidewalk on its north side were patched when the interurban tracks were removed.

In the Tulsa Library's online archive of the Beryl Ford Collection of historic Tulsa photos, I found a series of photos showing the Sand Springs line in Greenwood in what appears to be the late 1940s and early 1950s. Not all of the photos were taken at the same time, but I've put them in order starting near the corner of Greenwood Ave. and Brady St. and moving north to where the tracks leave Greenwood Ave. at Haskell Ave. and head north-northeast along a road called Greenwood Pl. toward a junction with the Midland Valley and Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad tracks north of Independence St. Each photo and caption is linked to a slightly larger version on the library's website. Someday I hope to see a full resolution version of each these pictures, which would make it possible to pin down details like years on license plates, street signs, and names and numbers on buildings.

The Sand Springs Railroad's waiting room at the Tulsa end of the line was on the northwest corner of Archer and Boston. I do not know whether or not passengers were carried all the way to Greenwood Ave.

(UPDATE 2015/02/07: In an interview for the Voices of Oklahoma Series, Marques Haynes, basketball hall-of-famer and Sand Springs native, confirms that the streetcar had a stop on Greenwood. He mentions that because he couldn't go to the whites-only movie theater in Sand Springs, he and his friends would ride the Sand Springs interurban into Tulsa; the trolley stopped on Greenwood, right across from the Dreamland Theater. That stop was probably in front of the building on the left of the first photo below, on the NW corner of Greenwood and Brady.)

Sand Springs Railroad interurban tracks, looking north toward Brady St. & Greenwood Ave., Busy Bee Lunch, and Vernon AME Church.

Sand Springs Railroad interurban tracks, looking north toward Brady St. & Greenwood Ave., Busy Bee Lunch (in the Center Hotel building), and Vernon AME Church. While the Vernon Church is still there, as is the building in the foreground, in between is now the route of I-244.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Greenwood category from December 2008.

Greenwood: June 2007 is the previous archive.

Greenwood: February 2009 is the next archive.

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