Sperry, 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 opening of the Bird Creek Oil field and the completion of the northern section of the Midland Valley Railroad led to Sperry's birth. The Midland Valley Railroad company established a flag station called Beuhler at the present site of Sperry. Charles Beuhler worked for the Creek and Indiana Oil Company which was developing several leases in the area. Beuhler built a short spur at the flag station to accommodate two or three tank cars.(1)

What is now Sperry was originally two communities. One community was where most of the town is now located, near 96th Street North and S. H. 11. This part of the community was known as Beuhler Switch and was the location of the railroad and depot. (2) The other community was the original site of Sperry, located on Hominy Creek near 106th Street North and North Peoria. The land was owned by an Indian named Henry Spybuck. The name Sperry comes from an anglicized version of his last name. Sperry was a very small settlement, consisting of only two or three homes and a general store/post office housed in the same building. (3) This building stands today, some 100 years later.

In 1907, when Oklahoma was preparing for statehood, the U. S. Government regularized post office names. The entire Buehler/Sperry community was given the name Sperry. (4) The post office was moved from its former location in the general store to R. R. Martin's grocery store (now the E-Z Trip), located near the depot and railroad tracks, and Martin became Sperry's new postmaster. His store was the first grocery in town and the first city water well was also located on his place. His store is still standing, 75 years later.

Oil and the railroad played a big part in Sperry's growth. Trains brought in lumber, new drilling rigs, building material, pipe for the oil wells and all kinds of new equipment. Six passenger trains stopped each day in Sperry on their way from Wichita, Kansas, to Fort Smith, Arkansas. There were also four trains a day to Tulsa.

Sperry did not incorporate until March 3, 1917. H. L. Buck was the first Mayor; J. A. Adams and J. D. Winters were elected councilmen; and Howard Wickersham was the marshal. (5) Sperry really boomed from about 1918 to 1930. Early businesses were Tinker's Boarding House, Cullison's Livery Stable and B & W Mercantile Store, owned by Bingham and Buck. Mr. Bingham also owned the Rexall Drug Store and Mr. Buck, along with Olie Griggs, owned the Sperry Garage and Oil Field Supplies. Mr. Mooney owned one of the blacksmith shops. Ethel Sixkiller operated the best restaurant in town. Joe, Red and Bob Harshbarger, Elvis and Riley Holbert and Mr. Jack Adams were early businessmen. Mr. Buck's butcher shop, Woods Picture Show, McNeils General Store, Down's Garage, Buck's Lumber Co., Van Way and Poulton Grocery, Dobson Brothers Barber Shop, Holberts Hardware, Bob Buchanans Blacksmith Shops, Stewart's Filling Station, Hollingsworth Filling Station, Guaranty State Bank (established by J. D. Winters), Palace Drug Store, Majestic Theatre, Rig and Reel Lumber Co., Roberts Grocery and Rumseys Grocery were all early businesses in Sperry. (6) The core of these businesses were located on Main Street and Cincinnati on either side of the railroad tracks. Early homes were within an area bounded by Blair, Osage Drive, Cincinnati and 4th Street. The first doctors in Sperry were Dr. B. H. Humphreys and Dr. Tollison. The Sand Springs Home Company supplied the town with electricity and Spavinaw water was piped into the town from Tulsa.

There were no churches in Sperry in 1910. Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Robinson organized a Sunday School at the public school. Before long, Robinson was serving as Sunday School superintendent at Sperry Sunday mornings and traveling to Turley in the afternoons, where he organized another Sunday School. (7) The first church, the Reorganized Latter Day Saints (R. L. D. S.), came to Sperry in 1915. By 1922, Sperry had two other churches, the First Christian Church and the Pentecostal Church. The original church buildings no longer stand.

The first school was a three room frame building built around 1908 or 1909. It was located south of Highway 11 and about one hundred yards west of Sperry Lake. There were two teachers and just a few students. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Estell were teachers part of the time, as was Mrs. B. H. Humphrey. In 1915 a second school building made of brick was erected on the site of what is now the R. L. 0. S. Church. In 1920, after the first school burned, another brick building was built just a few feet west of the second school. The two story building had an office, two classrooms and an auditorium. That school house was tore down after WW II. A beautiful vee-shaped brick high school was built in 1928 at the west end of Main Street. This building had ten classrooms, and large study hall, a library, two offices and an auditorium. This building still serves as Sperry's high school. (8)

There were also several county schools surrounding Sperry in its early days. South of town was Delaware School; Blackburn School was southwest about six miles; and west of Blackburn was Rock School. Flatrock School was northwest of town and four miles east was Greenwood chapel. All of these schools were grade schools; students went to Sperry to complete their education. (9)

Endnotes - Sperry
1. C.B. Douglas, History of Tulsa, Oklahoma, vol. 1 (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1921), p. 691.
2. "Sperry Celebrates Beuhler Switch Day", Northside Times, Wednesday, May 17, 1978
3. Fred Hardie, "The Community of Sperry 1885-1975" (Unpublished document) p. 1
4. Ibid.
5. C. B. Douglas.
6. Fred Hardie, pp. 4-5.
7. "Sperry Celebrates Beuhler Switch Day".
8. Fred Hardie, pp. 2-3.
9. Ibid.

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Linda Haas Davenport