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 The Beginning of Tulsa
By J. M. Hall (1927)

(c) Karolyn Kay Garland (1997)

Nothing here is free for the taking. This book is reproduced here with the permission of the copyright holder - see copyright statement.

 Page 46

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First Lumber Yard (con't)

Smiley in 1894. They were both young men and located their yards on the north side of the Frisco railroad near the corner of Boston avenue and the tracks. They were successful from the start.
        In later years Mr. Smiley sold his interests to the company when it then be came known as the Dickason-Goodman Lumber Co. At the present time the company has 10 yards in Oklahoma and a large furniture and hardware store in Tulsa in connection with the original business. The location is at Madison and First streets.
        After Mr. Dickason married he made his home in Kansas City, where the large and growing company had its principal offices. He made frequent trips to Tulsa and often would go hunting with his old friends. One day he remarked that he was "making money in Oklahoma and taking it to Kansas City to spend. I am not treating my old friends right in Tulsa. I'll just take my family down there and make it my home as long as I live." True to his word he did this. The family lives at 1257 E. Twenty-seventh Street.

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        Although this narration was intended only to touch those events occurring before 1900 it is necessary to go beyond that date to record some of Tulsa's "firsts."
        About 1903 George G. Bayrse made application for a franchise to put in a city water system, and the permit was granted after considerable debate and with a vigorous group of dissenters. It was freely predicted that if the matter had gone to a vote of the people instead of to a vote of the councilmen the proposition would have been defeated.

The system was built and operated until 1908 when the city voted bonds to buy the waterworks. Tulsa was out many thousands of dollars.
        Some years ago the old waterworks outlived its usefulness and the city created an immense reservoir in the hills 60 miles away by damming Spavinaw creek. Now Tulsa has one of the best water supplies in the world.
        After oil had been found at Red Fork a number of wells were drilled on the Tulsa side of the river. One well was put down at what is now the corner of Seventh street and Boulder avenue. A large flow of gas was found and a pipe attached, extending many feet in the air. A tin can was so placed over the pipe that the gas could be lighted and made into a flare that could be seen for many miles. Travelers would remain in Tulsa overnight to see this strange light.


        When the gas would be turned on the roar could be heard for some distance. The old-timers would take strangers to the well and then turn the gas on suddenly. One night a man was standing almost against the pipe. When the gas was released the fellow ran for his life. He stumbled and fell, yelling: "Hell is only three feet from here."
        In 1905 the Peoples Gas Co. obtained a franchise from the city council and some time after this the firm of Chesley and Galbraith were also granted a franchise. They were oil operators in the Glenpool district and had a plentiful supply of gas. They made a rate of five cents per thousand cubic feet but this didn't last forever. Business men merged these companies into the Oklahoma Natural Gas Co., which is now the State's largest distributor of natural gas.

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Who put in Tulsa's first telephone system.


        The first man to install a telephone system in Tulsa had no more success continuing in this business than did the others who pioneered the public utilities.

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