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Tulsa, Oklahoma (City and County)

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Official City Website

Official County Website

History

The area where Tulsa now exists was considered Indian Territory when it was first formally settled by the Lochapoka and Creek tribes in 1836, They established a small settlement under the Creek Council Oak Tree at the present-day intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and 18th Street. This area and this tree reminded Chief Tukabahchi and his small group of the Trail of Tears survivors of the bend in the river and their previous Creek Council Oak Tree back in the Talisi, Alabama area. They named their new settlement Tallasi, meaning "old town" in the Creek language, which later became "Tulsa". The area around Tulsa was also settled by members of the other so-called "Five Civilized Tribes" who had been relocated to Oklahoma from the Southern United States. Most of modern Tulsa is located in the Creek Nation, with parts located in the Cherokee and Osage Nations.

Although Oklahoma was not yet a state during the Civil War, the Tulsa area saw its share of fighting. The Battle of Chusto-Talasah took place on the north side of Tulsa and a number of battles and skirmishes took place in nearby counties. After the War, the tribes signed Reconstruction treaties with the federal government that in some cases required substantial land concessions. In the years after the Civil War and around the turn of the century, the area along the Arkansas River that is now Tulsa was periodically home to or visited by a series of colorful outlaws, including the legendary Wild Bunch, the Dalton Gang, and Little Britches.

On January 18, 1898, Tulsa was officially incorporated and elected Edward Calkins as the city's first mayor.

Tulsa was still a small town near the banks of the Arkansas River in 1901 when its first oil well, named Sue Bland No. 1, was established. Much of the oil was discovered on land whose mineral rights were owned by members of the Osage Nation under a system of headrights. By 1905, the discovery of the large Glenn Pool Oil Reserve (located approximately 15 miles south of downtown Tulsa and site of the present-day town of Glenpool) prompted a rush of entrepreneurs to the area's growing number of oil fields; Tulsa's population swelled to over 140,000 between 1901 and 1930. Unlike the early settlers of Northeastern Oklahoma, who most frequently migrated from the South and Texas, many of these new oil-driven settlers came to Tulsa from the commercial centers of the East Coast and lower Midwest. This migration distinguished the city's demographics from neighboring communities (Tulsa has larger and more prominent Catholic and Jewish populations than most Oklahoma cities) and is reflected in the designs of early Tulsa's upscale neighborhoods.

Known as the "Oil Capital of the World" for most of the 20th century, the city's success in the energy industry prompted construction booms in the popular Art Deco style of the time. Profits from the oil industry continued through the Great Depression, helping the city's economy fare better than most in the United States during the 1930s.

In the early 20th century, Tulsa was home to the "Black Wall Street", one of the most prosperous black communities in the United States at the time. Located in the Greenwood neighborhood, it was the site of the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the nation's worst acts of racial violence and civil disorder, with whites attacking blacks. Sixteen hours of rioting on May 31 and June 1, 1921, was ended only when National Guardsmen were brought in by the Governor. An official report later claimed that 23 black and 16 white citizens were killed, but other estimates suggest as many as 300 people died, most of them black. Over 800 people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries, and an estimated 10,000 black people were left homeless as 35 city blocks, composed of 1,256 residences, were destroyed by fire. Property damage was estimated at $1.8 million. Efforts to obtain reparations for survivors of the violence have been unsuccessful, but the events were re-examined by the city and state in the early 21st century, acknowledging the terrible actions that had taken place.

In 1925, Tulsa businessman Cyrus Avery, known as the "Father of Route 66," began his campaign to create a road linking Chicago to Los Angeles by establishing the U.S. Highway 66 Association in Tulsa, earning the city the nickname the "Birthplace of Route 66". Once completed, U.S. Route 66 took an important role in Tulsa's development as the city served as a popular rest stop for travelers, who were greeted by Route 66 icons such as the Meadow Gold Sign and the Blue Whale of Catoosa. During this period, Bob Wills and his group, The Texas Playboys, began their long performing stint at a small ballroom in downtown Tulsa. In 1935, Cain's Ballroom became the base for the group, which is largely credited for creating Western Swing music. The venue continued to attract famous musicians through its history, and is still in operation today.

A national recession greatly affected the city's economy in 1982, as areas of Texas and Oklahoma heavily dependent on oil suffered the freefall in gas prices due to a glut, and a mass exodus of oil industries. Tulsa, heavily dependent on the oil industry, was one of the hardest-hit cities by the fall of oil prices. By 1992, the state's economy had fully recovered, but leaders worked to expand into sectors unrelated to oil and energy.

Links

Wikipedia for Tulsa County

Wikipedia for Tulsa City