The History of Tulsa Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma and the 28th most populous city in the United States. Tulsa is not only a college town, but it’s also one of the fastest growing cities, according to Forbes.
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing some of Tulsa’s history – from colonization to current day. From its humble beginnings as a small outpost on Route 66, now known as “The Mother Road,” to its eventual growth into an international oil hub for over 100 straight years (this is among one of only four major U.S. towns that had at least 10% population growth during the 2000s).
Let’s start with Tulsa’s colonization. The area known as “Tulsa” was originally settled in the mid-1800s, thanks to the trail of tears. It was incorporated by a group of pioneers as the town of “Tulsey Town,” which is derived from a Muscogee-language word, “tullassee,” meaning “old town.”
Around this time, Tulsa, Oklahoma became a stop along the famous Route 66 (it’s history began in 1926 and it remained in use until 1984). Route 66 quickly became recognized for being one of the most important roads in America, due to its cultural and economic significance – it really made America what it is today. Because of this fact, a movie was even made about it!
In 1921, Tulsa became incorporated as the 71st U.S. city. It was also in 1921 that Tulsa University was founded, making it one of the country’s oldest institutions of higher learning. The university is now recognized as a World Top 50 Public University and one of America’s Most Wired Colleges and Universities. In 1926, Tulsa had its first oil boom – making it a vital part in the history of petroleum in America.
Tulsa received a lot of positive public attention in the 1930s following the discovery of Glenn Pool, now known as the “Black Gold Pool.” It was during this time that Tulsa’s population surged from 23,000 to 80,000. It was also in Tulsa where some of America’s biggest legends began their careers – like Bob Wills (the “King of Western Swing”) and Leon Russell. As a matter of fact, it was Bob Wills who discovered Van Cliburn at the Tulsa Race Track – he went on to win the prestigious 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
In the 1950s and 60s, Tulsa benefited from another oil boom as well as new infrastructure investments. These helped the city expand and prosper throughout the decade. The 1960s was the decade that saw a major economic and cultural shift in Tulsa, as it became known for being one of America’s most progressive cities – with a very diverse culture and booming business opportunities, Tulsa really stood out from other towns.
Around this time, Tulsa saw another oil boom that lasted through the 1970s – making it one of Oklahoma’s largest oil-producing areas as well as leading to new public investments and large amounts of public works projects. Some of these projects included new highways, bridges, hospitals and stadiums. It was also around this time when Tulsa became internationally recognized for being a “publishing hub” due to its many publishing companies.
In the 1980s, Tulsa saw a major decline in employment, as the oil boom slowed down. During this time, unemployment in Tulsa reached an all-time high. It was also around this time that an economic downturn was realized across the nation – and with it came many negative public attention for Tulsa. According to Forbes, Tulsa’s “economic growth has been strong since the 1990s.” This helped it gain recognition from being one of America’s fastest growing cities.
In the 2000s, Tulsa saw another oil boom, along with large amounts of public works projects. This made Tulsa one of America’s most-wired cities and gave it an even bigger reputation. In fact, in 2004, Tulsa was ranked as the “Best Place for Business and Careers” by Forbes. This was a big deal for Tulsa, considering it was fighting with towns like Atlanta in order to get this title.
Overall, Tulsans are known for having one of the best work ethics on Earth – once you’re a Tulsan, you’ll never be forgotten.