Sand Springs, 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

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The earliest known settlement in the Sand Springs area dates back to 1826, when it was occupied by the Cherokee Indians who came through the Trail of Tears. In 1828, the Cherokees were forced to move elsewhere in Indian Territory due to a new treaty. The land was allotted to the Creek Indian tribe by the U.S. Government. Lt. Thomas Adams, a Confederate Indian veteran, brought his family to the area and settled by the springs, from which the name Sand Springs derived. The settlement which arose was originally named Adam Springs. With the coining of the white settlers, the Creeks were pushed back and only, their small burial ground was left behind.(1) Today, the burial ground stands in the middle of the Keystone Plaza parking lot.

The "modern" history of Sand Springs began in 1908, making it the newest town in Tulsa County. Wealthy oil man Charles Page bought a 160 acre tract of land near U.S. 64 and 97th West Avenue on which he built a home for orphaned children. The Sand Springs Home started in a tent with seven homeless children. Page then built a permanent frame structure capable of housing 50-75 children. (2) In 1917, the present brick and steel dormitory was constructed. In 1916, Page set up the widows colony to allow widows to keep their small children together. The mothers and their children lived then and now in cottages and duplexes on the home property. (3)

Because the home site was hard to reach except by a road which wound through hilly terrain, Page built the Sand Springs Railway. In 1911 the railway began as a gasoline-powered interurban line which was converted to electricity in 1912. Ever thinking of the enjoyment of the children, Page then built the Sand Springs Amusement Park and Lake. At one time, a movie company operated in the park. (4) Lakeside subdivision, platted in 1960, is now located on the former site of the amusement park.

In 1911, it was decided to make use of the existing railway and turn Sand Springs into a Tulsa suburb. Page laid out the original townsite of over 160 acres adjacent west to the home property. He designated the flat land for industrial uses and the hilly land for living purposes. (5)

Page used his keen business instincts to facilitate every resource available. In his drilling operation, he found an abundance of natural gas, and there was more than enough pure spring water available; so after constructing an electric light and power plant, owned by the home, he began offering free building sites to industries, with the added inducement of cheap gas, water and electric rates. In a very few months, Sand Springs had become a major industrial and manufacturing town. Some of the earliest industries were the Kerr Glass Manufacturing Company; Commander Mills; Kerr, Hubbard and Kelley Lamp and Chimney Factory; Southwest Box Company; Sinclair Prairie Refineries; U.S. Zinc Company; and Pedrick Laboratories. (6) In 1927, Sand Springs was known as the leading industrial city in Oklahoma. (7)

Sand Springs was incorporated in 1912, the population numbering 400. Clarence Tingley was elected mayor. In 1918, a commission form of government was instituted with Harry Bartlett as mayor; Clarence H. Tingley, Commissioner of Finance and Accounts; and F. E. Williams, Coiniiissioner of Streets and Public Safety. (8)

Early businesses in Sand Springs located on Garfield, Main and 2nd Streets. Industries located along Adams and Morrow Streets. The first brick building in town was built in 1912 at the northeast corner of 2nd and Main. This building housed the post office, a pool hall and a drug store. Other early businesses included Sand Springs Hardwood Lumber Company, Sand Springs Greenhouse, Osage Motor Company and White's Funeral Home. Sand Springs was also a center for medical and social welfare institutions. In addition to the Sand Springs Home for Widows and Children, at one time, Sand Springs was the home of Oakwood Sanitorium for nervous and mental diseases, Poole Hospital, the Salvation Army Maternity Home, and the Sand Springs School for the Deaf.

Early residences were built within an area bounded by Broadway, Seventh, Cleveland and Washington Streets. Some early smaller homes were also built on Cleveland and Roosevelt north of the Sand Springs Railway track and south of 4th Street. Charles Page's residence took up the entire block within Garfield, Roosevelt, Eighth and Ninth Streets. The area surrounding his home, as far north as Tenth Street was platted in 1916. In 1923, the area from Tenth to Thirteenth was platted. Most of the larger, more substantial homes in town were built on Main, Garfield and McKinley from Eighth to Thirteenth Streets in the late 1910s and early l920s. (9)

Unlike many of the other suburban towns in the county, Sand Springs has had a thriving black community almost from the very beginning. The center of the black community is located south of the Sand Springs Railway track and north of Morrow (section line road). It is west of Main and east of Wilson (State Hwy 51). The first plat in this addition was filed in September 1911, just two months after the original townsite plat. A second plat was filed in February, 1914. The third plat was filed in June 1916. (10) At one time, the area held segregated churches, schools and commercial businesses. Most of the businesses are now closed and the schools have been included in the overall Sand Springs school system. The two churches in the area, First Baptist and Centennial Baptist, are still active congregations. (11)

The first school building was a one room log school house completed in 1908. Early schools that are still standing include Garfield Elementary, Central Junior High, Booker T. Washington and Twin Cities. Page donated the land for most of these schools.

Page also donated the land for most of the original churches. These early churches included Presbyterian, Christian, Catholic, Church of God, Baptist, Methodist-Episcopal, and Assembly of God.

On December 27, 1926, Charles Page died. Through his endeavors and accomplishments, though, his memory lives on.

Endnotes - Sand Springs
1. New Thrills Ahead in Beautiful, Historical Oklahoma. Written by "We the Members of the Oklahoma State Highway Commission" (14. E. Grissco, Chairman; H. N. Arnold, Vice-Chairman; John L. Coffey, Member; A. L. Comons, Member-Secretary; and Van T. Moon, State Highway Engineer) and Enis C. Helm, Director of Oklahoma State Travel and Tourist Bureau, Oklahoma State Highway Commission. (No date or publisher noted.)
2. C. B. Douglas, History of Tulsa, Oklahoma, vol. 1 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1921), pp. 668-69.
3 Ivy Coffey, "The Orphans Who Own a Bank", Oklahoma's Orbit, Sunday, September 13, 1964, p. 9.
4. C B. Douglas, p. 672.
5. lbid, p. 672.
6. Unto the Least of These: A Sketch of the Life of the Late Charles Page (Sand Springs, Oklahoma), p. 21.
7. lndustrial Oklahoma, vol. 1, No. 3, January, 1927.
8. C. B. Douglas, p. 667.
9. City of Sand Springs Subdivision Maps.
10. Ibid.
11. Interview with Nathaniel J. Washington, June 2, 1982.

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