History of
Glenpool, Oklahoma

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Information Abstracted from:

Tulsa County Historic Sites July 1982: Prepared by the Community Planning Division Indian Nations Council of Governments for the Tulsa County Historical Society (Financed in part with Federal funds ...) Description

Glenpool, in the southwest portion of Tulsa County, is the home of what was once known as the world's largest oil field. The Town of Glenpool existed for many years as a boom town or tent city to support the oil field workers and was not organized into a formal town until after statehood. Robert Galbreath had come to the Creek Nation, Indian Territory in 1901 searching for oil. Local histories tell that on July 3, 1901, Galbreath went to Creek Indian Ida E. Glenn's farm (and allotment) where Roger Glenn, Ida's husband showed him a heavily oil-stained limestone ledge. Galbreath took a hammer and broke off a chunk. Inside he found a molecule of thick green oil. Glenn and Galbreath immediately agreed informally that a test well would be sunk on the Glenn farm as soon as federal restrictions regarding Indian lands relaxed to sign the lease. Almost three years later, on April 22, 1905, the lease for 160 acres was signed by Robert Glenn, Robert Galbreath and Frank Chesley. In October, drilling on the test well began and on November 22, 1905, at a depth of 1,458 feet, Galbreath and Chesley struck oil. "It was 5 o'clock, very clear and chilly, and the Ida E. Glenn was in."' By Thanksgiving, the Ida E. Glenn free flowed 85 barrels a day.

By 1906, the oil boom was serious. Galbreath drilled a second well within 300 feet of his first well and hit oil again. Men began chasing madly after leases and paying exorbitant prices to drill wells. Galbreath struck again, bringing in the Ida Glenn #3. The field was now roughly two miles long and derricks were pumping night and day; only four wells were in and three of those were Galbreath's.

The Town of Glenpool did not really exist yet. What did exist was a cluster of 12 families in a settlement called Glenn. The towns of Keifer, Sapulpa, Mounds and Tulsa were all feuding over who owned the field. In May, the burgeoning field got its name: it became known as Glennpool, Glenn Pool or GlennPool, taking its name from Ida E. Glenn, the Creek Indian woman upon whose allotment Galbreath first struck oil.

In late 1906, both the Texas Oil Company and Gulf Oil Company announced plans to bring eight inch pipelines to Glenn Pool to transport oil to their Texas refineries. The field was really growing and had been recognized by The Oil Investor's Journal as a major center for oil production. After one year, the Glenn Pool had 127 wells that had been drilled; 107 struck oil, 12 found gas and 11 were dry. Besides the 107 producing wells, 24 other wells were drilling and 33 rigs were preparing to drill.

The Glenn Pool would have hundreds of different names that figured in its development. Some unforgettable ones were: Galbreath and Company, Associated Producer's Company, Creek Oil Company, W. H. Millkien, Bonacker, Quaker Oil Company, Prairie Oil and Gas, Shawnee Oil Company, Litchfie1d, Sawyer and Company, Laurel Oil Company, and Selby Oil Company. The field was three miles wide and four miles long. It was producing 52,000 barrels a day, an average of 500 barrels per well. Robert Galbreath was now referred to as the "Oil King of the Southwest" and was "rated the richest man in Oklahoma."

1907 was the Glenn Pool's best year. After that, it became increasingly under the control of Gulf, Texaco and Prairie Oil and Gas. Robert Galbreath grew weary of the congestion that the new pipelines did not resolve. He sold his holdings to Edgar Crosbie for $500,000. Frank Chesley had sold out to Crosbie a few months earlier for $200,000.

The Glenn Pool has been special to Tulsa since late 1905. More than 300,000,000 barrels have been taken from it in 75 years. When the Glenn Pool's 50th anniversary was celebrated in 1955, a member of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce said "Glenn Pool put Tulsa on the map.

The small settlement of Glenn grew with the oil field. By 1907, it had jumped from 12 families to 3,000 people, but as yet had no official status. On October 4, 1907, R. J. and Pearl (Barber) Stewart deeded Pearl's Creek Indian allotment to F. Markle and M. T. Self. They surveyed lots and platted 40 plus acres near Highway 75 and 141st Street South on January 31, 1908, renaming their townsite Glenpool. John Burt, Sr., from Oklahoma City, purchased most of the remaining Barber-Stewart allotment and the majority of the lots from Markie and Self. Burt sold half interest to Mr. Rumrill and together the two of them owned the townsite company.

Early day pioneers can still remember when the south end of town was known as Tent City or Rag City. This end of town had only board sidewalks and was the home of many of the oil field workers. The northern end of town was referred to as Brick Flats. In addition to row upon row of apartment houses, this end of town housed the bank and the opera house. Early day businesses included Mid Self Drug Store on the south side of Main Street, Naifeh's Grocery Store, the Post Office near the railroad track, Burns Tank Farm, the Midland Valley Railroad Depot, Fred Markie's Store and Jim Wilmont's Rooming House.

Glenpool had the richest school district in the new state. In 1907, Robert Galbreath offered $1,000 for the construction of a building to be used for school and church purposes. A two room frame school house was erected in 1908 with the money. At this time, there were 205 children of school age in the school district. "For each child, there was an oil well and a 55,000 barrel tank of the illuminating fluid". The total cost of the school plant after several additions was $200,000. In 1952, this school burned. The existing school was rebuilt on the same site almost immediately afterward.

The first mayor of Glenpool was E. L. Noble who was quickly succeeded by Floyd Vowell. Other early day officials included V. Cumby who served as councilman, postmaster and member of the school board. Mary Wilmont was an early day post-mistress. C. W. Lee and Fred Jeffries were early councilmen. Early school superintendents included Mr. Henshaw, Frank Pauley, and R. F. Burt.

 

[Historic Tulsa; An Illustrated History of Tulsa & Tulsa County; by Beryl Ford, Charles Ford, Rodger Randle, and Bob Byrke; Commissioned by the Oklahoma Heritage Association and the Tulsa Historical Society; Historical Publishing Network; San Antonio, TX; 2006; pgs 75-76] -

Glenpool is known as the town that made Tulsa famous. The town was named for Ida Berryhill Glenn, Creek owner of the land on which oil was discovered in 1905. The oil boom that followed made Tulsa the "Oil Capital of the World." Workers lived in tents and row houses built along present-day U.S. 75 south from 141st Street.

... When oil was discovered at Glenn Pool, leaders in Tulsa seized the moment. Tulsa had the infrastructure of hotels and a railroad, so Glenn Pool never grew beyond the size of an oilfield town.

... After the Great Depression, Glenpool once again became a quiet farming town with a population of about six hundred. For years, one general store and a service station were the town's main businesses.

... The town's population grew from 800 to 2,800 in the 1970s as Tulsans began moving into the suburbs.

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