History of Tulsa
The area of present-day Tulsa was inhabited by the Creek and Lochapoka tribes in 1836, when it was part of the Indian Territory. The settlement was called Tallasi, which in the Creek language meant “old town.” The name was later adapted to Tulsa. It was officially incorporated in 1898.
The first oil well in Tulsa was established in 1901 and in 1905 the large Glenn Pool was discovered, which attracted hundreds of entrepreneurs. The number of oil fields in the area grew and so did the population so by the 1930 Tulsa had 140,000 inhabitants. For much of the 20th century Tulsa was known as the “Oil Capital of the World” and the city prospered, with many new Art Deco buildings and modern infrastructural solutions. In the early 20th century Tulsa had one of the wealthiest African American communities in the nation, known as the “Black Wall Street.” However, the city was also the site of some of the worst acts of racial violence in America, known as Tulsa Race Riot. Although at the time official records stated that 39 people died in the riots, it is today believed that there were as many as 300 deaths, mostly among African Americans.
Tulsa is also known as the birthplace of the famous Route 66, since it is there that the U.S. Highway 66 Association was established. When the Route 66 was completed, it proved to be very significant for Tulsa itself, as the city became a popular stopover for the travelers on this historic road.
The city was hit hard in the 1980s, after the fall of oil prices and the closure of many oil companies in the area. By the mid-1990s, the city managed to recover, however the oil industry never went back to its previous dominant role in the economy of Tulsa.
Geography and Climate
Tulsa is located in the northeastern portion of Oklahoma, some 100 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. It lies between the Great Plains and the Ozark Mountains. Northeastern Oklahoma, where Tulsa is located, is quite different from the rest of the state - it is greener, with many lakes and reservoirs.
The Arkansas River flows through Tulsa, dividing the city into two sections. Climate in the city is the temperate with elements of subtropical. Tulsa is located near the center of the Tornado Valley and extreme weather, especially thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes, is not uncommon.
Tulsa skyline is dominated by several skyscrapers, most notably the BOK Tower and Cityplex Tower. The city has many Art Deco buildings, such as Mid-Continent Tower and the Philtower. One of the most famous structures is certainly the Oral Roberts University, designed in post-modern futuristic style.
Downtown Tulsa is the city’s business and financial district, while the historic residential core is in Midtown district. West Tulsa is dominated by parks and oil refineries. Northern section of the city hosts the Tulsa International Airport, Tulsa Air and Space Museum and also the Tulsa Zoo.
In 2010, Tulsa had 391,906 inhabitants. The racial makeup was 57.9% non-Hispanic Whites, 15.6% African American, 14.1% Hispanic or Latino, 5.3% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 8% some other race and 5.9% two or more races.
The median household income in the city was $39,289 in 2010 and the per capita income was $26,069.
Oil industry has traditionally been the base of Tulsa’s economy. However, in the second half of the 20th century the city made efforts to diversify its economy towards sectors which today include aerospace industry, finance, telecommunications, technology, manufacturing and high tech.
The largest employer in Tulsa is American Airlines maintenance base at Tulsa International Airport. This is also the largest maintenance facility in the world. The largest international company with headquarters in Tulsa is BOK Financial Corporation. Other companies based in the city include QuikTrip, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Hilti, Mazzio’s, as well as oil and gas companies Williams Companies, ONEOK, Syntroleum and SemGroup.
Attractions, Museums and Culture
Tulsa has over 130 parks, most popular of which are Woodward Park and Tulsa River Parks along the Arkansas River. Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Tulsa State Fair are also very popular sites both for the locals and the visitors.
Philbrook Museum is considered to be one of the top 50 fine art museums in the nation, combining a significant art collection, a historic mansion and the old gardens. Other notable museums in Tulsa include the Gilcrease Museum and the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art with its large collection of Judaica. There is also a number of statues located throughout the city, especially along the Arkansas River, among which the most famous are Cyrus Dallin’s “Appeal to the Great Spirit” and the iconic “Golden Driller” at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds.
Tulsa is home to the Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Symphonic Orchestra, Light Opera Oklahoma, Theatre Tulsa and the Heller Theatre. The Brady Theater and the BOK Center are the city’s most important performing venues.
Education in Tulsa
Tulsa has 15 institutions of higher education. Top universities in the city are the University of Tulsa, founded in 1894, and Oral Roberts University, founded in 1963. Other institutions include Rogers State University, Tulsa Community College, three campuses of Oklahoma State University, a branch of Langston University, Tulsa Technology Center and the Spartan School of Aeronautics.
Primary airport for the city is Tulsa International Airport. The Tulsa Port of Catoosa is the most inland ocean-going port in the USA and one of the largest in the USA. Intercity passenger transportation is available through Greyhound bus lines. Tulsa is not directly served by Amtrak.