Snippets From
Tulsa Spirit
# 1

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Chapter 1: Introduction by Larry Silvey

Pg 9 - ... Perhaps that Spirit of providing a good place for people to live was instituted by the Creek Indians, part of whom ended their long journey along the tragic Trail of Tears in 1836 at a spot beneath the great Council Oak not far from the Arkansas river. That oak stands in Tulsa today to commemorate that initial Spirit of Life.

...Tulsa, in its short existence, has not been without its devastation and lesser moments. The entire settlement was destroyed during the Civil War, and in the late 1800s the dusty town churned with a good number of roughewn types that <Pg 11> liked their gambling, their whiskey and their women, all conveniently located right on Main Street. Justice was bartered and sold, and the Dalton gang found the living in Tulsa easy.

....The turn of the century, however, brought oil, and oil brought riches, growth and a maze of humanity that made Tulsa unlike any other city. And the breed of men and women who sought out the power positions in the youthful, rugged town marched in stride with economic progress.

.... It was this unrelinquishing Spirit that brought the maverick railroads to Tulsa, that built a bride so oilmen could get to the fields, that instituted the Tulsa-style stud horse note - resulting among other things, in the start of a major aviation history before most Americans could spell the word airport.

It was this Spirit that organized a Commercial Club in 1902, and which sent trainloads of city boosters back east as early as 1904. It was this spirit that bought Kendall College from Muskogee, and masterfully engineered the 65-mile long Spavinaw water system.

It was the firmly entrenched Spirit of Tulsa's early immigrants that brought opera, theatre, art and an appreciation for the humanities long before the physical town itself looked like it deserved such sophistication. Even oil wells were banned from within the city limits because they did not fit in with the standards of livability.

<pg 13> .... a 78 ton carrier ship was named the Tulsa to commemorate the city's generosity in buying war bonds. ... christened by the daughter of local banker and oil operator Jack Crosbie .... The Spirit reported ... "the first time that a ship had been christened with anything other than a bottle of champagne." The bottled fluid, of course, was crude oil from a field near Tulsa.

Chapter 2 - The Results of Our Endeavors by Ina Hall:

Pg 18; .... [Will Rogers 1923 speaking of the rise to fame of an unidentified scraggy little Indian village] "Now, if you are anxious to know whatever became of this tank town, it's Tulsa, Oklahoma, which would have been a real town even if its people weren't greasy rich with oil, for it is founded on the spirit of the people".

Pg 22; ... 1919 report "Maple Ridge exemplifies the highest residential development in Oklahoma with colonial type architecture, predominating ... Permanency, with quiet good taste, is the ruling motive - no garish waste of money for mere show's sake. Rather, the homes in Maple Ridge are the fruition of the plans of years, now made possible of realization through the city's ever growing prosperity".

Pg 23; ...Its [Tulsa's] life began on a day in 1836, which initiated a new existence for a Lochapoka band of Creek Indians forced from their ancestral homes in Alabama.

Determined to retain some vestige of their former home, they carried a kettle of burning fagots and a burning brand from the council fire of their Alabama home. Each evening, throughout the weary journey, fires were lighted from the burning embers of the last camping spot and replaced with fresh coals each morning.

Reaching their destination in Indian Territory, they kindled a roaring fire beneath a towering oak tree on the crest of a hill overlooking the Arkansas River, and the traditional dedication ceremony began. Though witnessed by few, it was a dramatic birth for a city destined to become great. In the darkness of night, the flickering flames cast eerie shadows upon the tense, dark faces of the Creeks, clad in bright, fringed clothing topped by colorful turbans, while the monotonous, rythmic cadence of the ancient ritual floated across the lonely valley.

Led by Chief Archee Yahola, they built their ceremonial square, leaving the tree intact at one corner, and around the square they erected their village.

The famous tree, from which so much history has sprouted, still stands at 18th street and Cheyenne. The only <Pg 24> remaining momento of Tulsey Town, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

... In 1894, part-Creek Indian Lewis Perryman built a log cabin near 33rd and South Rockford Avenue. He opened a trading post nearby, which was successful until the Civil War forced the Indians into exile - a majority of whom were imprisoned in refugee camps in Kansas. At war's end, the Perryman cabin was the only remaining structural remnant of Tusley Town.

Lewis Perryman died during the war, but his son, George Perryman returned. Using lumber hauled by team and wagon from Ft. Smith, he built a frame house at 38th and Trenton. Called the "White House," it eventually became the show place and social center of the settlement.

The Post Office Department established a star route, which carried mail by relays of pony riders from Vinita, Indian Territory to Las Vegas, New Mexico. "Tulsa" became the town's official name on March 25, 1879, when the first post office, with Perryman postmaster, was housed in the Perryman home.

At one time, the Perryman Ranch was the largest in the Creek Nation. Consisting of several thousand acres, it covered all of the area between 19th Street and 71st to the south and east from the Arkansas River to Lynn Lane. Today, the Perryman family cemetery in the 3200 block of South Utica is all that remains visible of the vast holdings.

... In addition to local production, great herds of Texas cattle were being driven through the territory to Kansas railhead markets. To intercept the cattle drives and participate in their shipment, the Frisco was prompted to extend its line from Vinita to Tulsa in 1882.

The cowtown took on new life. The clanging and chugging of the Frisco's "Iron Horse" not only ended Tulsa's isolation ... it brought along J M Hall, a commissary agent for the railroad and his brother H C all, one of its contractors - men destined to become leaders in the founding of Tulsa.

<Pg 25>.... The [J M] Hall home was for many years located where the Majestic Theater was later built on Main Street.

By the end of 1882, Tulsa boasted of Hall's General Store, Bullette Brothers Store, Perryman Brothers Store, Archer's Furniture and Hardware, Chauncey Owen's Boarding House and one physician, Dr W P Brooker.

Tulsa was officially incorporated as a City of the Creek Nation on January 18, 1898.

.... Tate Brady, pioneer merchant, city builder and ardent Tulsa booster had a sign on his store, a landmark in Tulsa for many years, which read: "1890, Tate Brady, General Merchant - Highest prices for hides, furs and wild game. My Motto "A dollar's worth of honest goods for a dollar in money."

... A newspaper column in later years quoted him [Brady] as saying, "Tulsa just didn't happen. While settlers were all poor, I do not believe the Creator ever put down in one place so many pioneers with the vision of state and city building as had Tulsa's first citizens. Indian and white man, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, we worked side by side, shoulder to shoulder ....".

... The settlers were poor, but rich in pertinacious resolve. The majority had experienced difficult time and defeat elsewhere, but the hard struggles with adversity had given them the incentive to succeed this time.

... need for a municipal club composed of persons dedicated to supervising the welfare and promotion of Tulsa; hence the Tulsa commercial Club began on February 8, 1901, with G W Mowbray, President and J M Hall, Vice-President.

... Touching off the oil development on Jun 25, 1901, was the famous Sue Bland No 1 at Red Fork, just across the Arkansas River and now a part of Tulsa.

<Pg 25> Almost overnight, the area was teeming with an infux of that adventurous group known collectively as "oil men" ... investors, speculators, gamblers, wildcatters, geologists, lease hounds and the band of workers who coaxed the black gold from the earth - drillers, tool dressers, roustabouts, teamsters - all vying to cash in on the oil boom.

... In 1902 ... the Commercial club did not concur with the Kathy Railroad's plans to bypass Tulsa in a new line from Muskogee to Pawhuska. ...Cogent arguments, a $112,000 promissory note and outright gifts of land for right of way presented to the railroad as a "bonus" persuaded the company to include Tulsa on its route. Ironically, the individual amounts pledged by many of the fifty signatories to the contract far exceeded their personal assets [first time use of a "Tulsa Stud Note"]

... $16,000 note was used to bring the midland Valley Railroad to Tulsa in 1906.

<Pg 26>... January 19, 1904 - 11th Street Wagon bridge opened .

Vandevers, Tulsa's oldest department store, was opened in 1904 at 104 South Main by W A Vandever and B C Beane. Vandever was later joined in its operation by four brothers, all of whom became ardent Tulsa boosters.

On March 14, 1905, a special train decorated with flying banners departed for eastern cities to boost Tulsa. Aboard were 100 civil leaders, the Tulsa, I.T. band of 20 pieces and cowboy humorist Will Rogers .... A baggage car was filled with exhibits of Tulsa buildings and factories, along with coal, oil and agricultural products.

.. Other years, other booster trains ...

... in 1908 the "oil special" ... This particular trip had the atmosphere of a three ring circus. Aboard were Indian dancers, former outlaw Emmett Dalton - who was soon to be on tour with Annie Oakley in a wild west show - and 125 boosters, wearing funny hats and carrying canes...

... June 16 to July 3, 1919 ... made a 4,000 mile trip ... including Canada [and] visiting President Hoover at the White House.

... May 18, 1926 .. Educational Special ... travel 3,723 miles in 16 days and toured 25 principal cities of the U.S. ... printed a daily newspaper and that was available in each city along the route.

... during this time annual trade or fellowship tours were made in the Spring covering Tulsa's immediate trade territory .... consisted of five one-day trips covering all Oklahoma towns situated on the state's various railroads.

<Pg 27> ... November 22, 1905 ... the famous 'Glen Pool Strike' ushered in a giant new reserve of oil and natural gas. As the discovery well of the world's richest small oil field, Ida Glenn No. 1, gushed its stream of precious black gold, a golden spurt developed in Tulsa - astounding growth, financial success and undreamed of wealth.

.... The most imperative need was living quarters for the influx of oil men, many of whom were sleeping on derrick floors, shacks and tents. There was the small St Elmo Hotel, just north of the tracks on North Main and the Alcorn Hotel built by W N Robinson around 1900. Encouraged by the feverish mounting demand, Robinson wasted no time in building the 146-room Robinson Hotel at 3rd & Main. An off-repeated remark heard in those days was that "more wells were drilled in the Robinson Hotel lobby than in the Glenn Pool field."

The Fox Hotel was constructed and the Hotel Brady, large and magnificent for those days, was built north of the railroad tracks. A few years later, the Hotel Tulsa, a monument to that era, added its famous name to the growing list of Tulsa hostelry and became a wheeling and dealing mecca to oil men from around the world.

To make certain that oil field workers did choose Tulsa as their domicile, Tulsa civic leaders promoted a special 15-coach train, the "Coal Oil Johnny," to transport them back and forth to their jobs. The pampered workers breakfasted at the Pig's Ear, just across from the station, while the proprietor's wife packed their lunch pails, then returning in the evening to find fried chicken and other goodies awaiting them.

Tulsa's first bank, the Tulsa Banking Company, had been founded on July 29, 1895, by Jay Forsythe, B V Cooley and C W Brown with a capital structure of $10,000. The first day's business showed $1,161 in deposits and $5.30 was charged to expense for the first day's operation.

The First National Bank, an outgrowth of that first bank, completed a new five-story building in 1906 and eventually became the first bank in the nation to specialize in financing oil development and production.

The Bank of Commerce opened in 1904. The Exchange National Bank was organized in 1910 by Harry F Sinclair for the specific purpose of catering to oil men and their needs ... failing during the Depression, the bank was reorganized and reopened as the National Bank of Tulsa in 1933 and is now known as the Bank of Oklahoma.

<Pg 28> ... By 1907 .. two oil refineries were built in Tulsa.

... Since 1884, several jerry-built, poorly structured newspapers had come and gone. The first sound and authentic journalism came to the city with the establishment of the Tulsa Daily Democrat on September 27, 1904, which became The Tulsa Tribune in 1919. The Tulsa Daily World, successor to the Indian Republican, began on September 14, 1905.

... the Oil Investors Journal, [established 1902 in Texas] moved to Tulsa in 1908. In 1910 it became known as the Oil and Gas Journal.

... population in 1900 was 1,400; 7,300 at statehood [Nov 16, 1907]

<Pg 29> ... World War I ... Young men volunteered ... by the thousands and many served in the famous 36th and 90th Division.

... In spite of its blessings, Tulsa had one grave defect: It was a city deluged by oil, but virtually starving for potable water. The brackish liquid, laden with silt and polluted by industrial waste coming from the Arkansas River and a system of deep wells, was unnfit for bathing, much less human consumption.

.... Nov 17, 1924 - water from Spavinaw 70 miles distant, finally flowed into the city, to provide a water supply ranking among the finest in the Nation.

... Same year the Union Depot was built... advancing Tulsa to a railroad center.

... W G Skelly, an aviation enthusiast ... Skelly pledged his support of an airport for Tulsa and began enlisting aid to underwrite the project. By Jan 21, 1928, he had instigated the signing of a $172,000 stud horse note to purchase a 390 acre tract of land for the airport. This note was perhaps the most publicized of the legendary notes used to build Tulsa - this group of promisors differed in only one aspect from signatories of prior notes - they consisted of 47 of Tulsa's wealthiest boosters - a far cry from the struggling originators of this financing technique.

... within a year ... Tulsa airport was leading the world's airports in the amount of paid passenger volume.

... Will Rogers ... quipped, "Well, here we are flying out of Tulsa, the first cowtown in America to become a city - this is one of the best and busiest airports in the country."

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