TULSA. Proud History. Bright Future.
What was to ultimately become Tulsa was part of Indian Territory, which was created as part of the relocation of the Five Civilized Tribes– the Choctaw, Cherokee, Muscogee(Creek), Chickasaw, and Seminole peoples. These Native American tribes moved into the region after the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, when they were forced to surrender their lands east of the Mississippi River to the federal government in exchange for land in Indian Territory.
The city now known as Tulsa was first settled by the Lochapoka (Turtle Clan) Muscogee (Creek) between 1828 and 1836. Driven from their native Alabama, the Lochapokas established their new settlement "Tulasi," meaning "old town" in their native language.
High rise buildings began to appear downtown during this decade. The16-story Cosden Building was constructed in 1918, and is considered the first skyscraper in Tulsa. It was later acquired by Mid Continent Oil Company, who built an adjacent tower integrated with the older structure, now called the Mid-Continent Tower.
Another community that flourished in Tulsa during the early oil booms was Greenwood. It was the largest and wealthiest of Oklahoma's African American communities and was known nationally as "Black Wall Street". The neighborhood was a hotbed of jazz and blues in the 1920s. The scene in Greenwood was so hot that story has it that in 1927 while on tour, Count Basie heard a dance band in a club in Greenwood and decided to focus on jazz.
The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 was one of the nation's worst acts of racial violence and large-scale civil disorder. On May 31, during 16 hours of rioting, 39 people were killed, over 800 people injured, an estimated 10,000 were left homeless, 35 city blocks with more than 1,200 residences were destroyed by fire, and $1.8 million (nearly $17 million after adjustment for inflation) in property damage. Confined mainly to the segregated Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, the riot was responsible for wiping out nearly all of the prosperity and success that Black Wall Street had achieved to that time, although the neighborhood had rebuilt within a few years and flourished until the 1960s.
For the majority of Tulsans, the mid 20th Century proved a time of continuing prosperity. The wealth generated by the early oil industry also helped Tulsa become a leader in the aviation industry. During WWII, the Spartan School of Aeronautics was a training site for hundreds of allied pilots and in 1942, Douglas Aircraft built its mile-long Air Force Plant No. 3 to build bombers. Following the war, Tulsa became an important maintenance center for American Airlines and many aviation related businesses developed alongside.
The "Oil Bust" of 1982 allowed the title of "Oil Capital of the World" to be relinquished to Houston. City leaders worked to diversify the city away from a largely petroleum-based economy to Internet and telecommunications firms and enhancing the already important aviation industry. Showing that
Today, Tulsa boasts an eclectic mix known nowhere else. One of big city extravagance and small town charm. Cosmopolitan arts like the Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Performing Arts Center and Tulsa Symphony Orchestra collide with the classic cowboy charisma found in the infamous Cain’s Ballroom, the historical Gilcrease Museum, and world-renowned horse shows like the Palomino World Championships and the Breeder’s Invitational.
Unexpected treasures are found at every corner. State-of-the-art facilities like the BOK Center and ONEOK Field stand side-by-side with the rejuvenated high-rise buildings like the Mayo Hotel. Built during the height of Tulsa’s oil boom era, the Mayo Hotel is one of many Art Deco-style architectural gems that still stand in Tulsa today, offering a glimpse of Tulsa’s rich oil heritage.
Premier attractions like the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, the Oklahoma Aquarium, and the Tulsa Air & Space Museum and Planetarium are a destination for all ages with interesting creatures and learning
Visitors will appreciate the unique shopping districts like Utica Square; festivals like Mayfest and Oktoberfest; fine dining; gaming; horse racing; outdoor trails like River Parks for hiking, biking or running; gardens; nightlife in the Blue Dome, Brady Arts Districts, Brookside, and Cherry Street.
Just about everywhere you turn in this dynamic city, you’ll find a renaissance spirit — to renovate, reinvent, revitalize and restore. Newness and change are ongoing, but the city respects and holds dear its historic landmarks.
Welcome to Tulsa!
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