Turley Community Center

Bob Cooper

Dividing Line

The Tulsa Community Center is located on the west side of Victor, a block or so north of 66th Street.

 The real beginning of the Turley Community Center all began back in 1944. The following was taken from The Victory (a Turley Newspaper) issue of November 1944:


     A group of very energetic and enthusiastic Turley-ites are planning a community building for Turley. It's been a dream for many for a long time to have a place for both young and old to gather and have a good time. The plan is now being formulated, and funds are being raised to start the building. The first money raising project was a carnival on Halloween night. The vacant lot north of the Rock Church was converted into carnival grounds with all the fixings. Among the attractions was a pony for the little kids to ride, a shooting gallery, a ten pin galley, Bingo game, and fishing pond. Tents were set up and admission was charged to see the "hairless dog", the Hula Dancers (Glenna Beatty, Agatha Bullington and Juanita Crowson - grass skirts and all), and Madame Cleo, the fortune teller from Egypt (Marlene Wolverton). Of course, there were plenty of eats, and every one seemed to be hungry. Mr. And Mrs. Cecil Hayman were instigators of the hamburger and hot dog stand, with cake, pie and coffee as a side line. Harold Heffner sold pop - - and it didn't take long to sell completely out. The Girl Scouts sold popcorn, popcorn balls and caramel corn. Another attraction for the evening was some old fashioned fiddling. Bill Bratton played the fiddle, and was accompanied by Jimmy Dutton on the guitar. The success of the carnival, as in any other undertaking of this sort, depends largely upon those who do the actual work before the crowd starts to gather. We owe a vote of thanks to the following people: Charlie R Burden, Mr. & Mrs. Cecil Hayman, Mr. & Mrs. J. C. McClure, Mrs. Mary Lee Login, Mr. & Mrs. Earl Crowson, Mr. Raymond Johnson, and a group of ninth and tenth grade boys. For the first time in years, a place was beginning to take place to build a place for the community to have some good clean fund. However, not all were young that came and enjoyed themselves. The carnival committee was well pleased with the receipts of the evening.


The following is from the Tulsa World newspaper, dated 27 August 1948:

Turley Near Realization of Social Center Dream, TURLEY, August 27th
     Who said your dreams can't come true? The men, women and children of Turley began to see a dream of many years take shape Saturday when the foundation for a new community center building was started. The structure is going up in a 15 acre tract which was purchased several years ago for a park. The park, the new building, and other improvements are all part of their dream. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the entire program is that work for the building is being done by volunteers. Practically every able-bodied man is taking his turn with a hammer, or saw. Nobody receives a nickel for his labor. Two years ago the women of the Good Neighbor Home Demonstration Club decided it was high time that something be done about obtaining the long-needed park and building. They began to talk the idea up and before long practically every citizen in and around the community were behind the program. The lack of funds to buy the land didn't stand in their way. They formed an organization called the Turley Community Center. As a starter 140 charter memberships at $10 each were sold. Several hundred additional regular memberships went for $1 each and .50 cents a month dues. To raise the $2500 needed for the land they held a raffle. The land was bought and the work was on it's way. Some weeks ago the organization had a chance to buy a surplus building at Camp Gruber near Muskogee. The building and other materials were to cost about $3000. This didn't stop the group ... members borrowed the money. Saturday morning the men arrived on the scene and started the buildings foundations. To feed the hungry group the women of the community pooled their efforts and turned up with the biggest fried chicken dinner ever seen.


Don't have a date of this article but it had to be after August 1948. Because of the statement made in the first paragraph, I would guess it was spring or summer of 1950 or 1951.

Turley Dream Now Reality; Community Center Dedicated
     A group of hard-working Turley residents saw the realization of a 2 year dream come true Sunday when an estimated 2000 persons attended an open house held at the new Turley Community Center. J. N. Lanigan, president of the Turley Community Center, Inc., said Sunday's throng showed enthusiasm throughout the 6 1/2 hour program. Lanigan heads a group of citizens who in 1948 organized with an aim of bringing better recreational facilities to Turley. The new $3800 Turley Community building at which the open house was held is a portion of the group's aim as well as the other facilities used by Sunday's guests. Col. Homer Ledbetter, president of the Oklahoma Military Academy, Claremore, addressed the group. He pointed out the threat of Communism in the U. S. and stressed Americanism.
The real way to safeguard this country from Communism is through co-operative community efforts such as this project," Col Ledbetter said. "This community center will further preserve democracy in America." One of the highlights of the afternoon program was a baseball game between the Turley and Mazie teams. The Turley team won 8 to 0. The Turley Roundup Club also demonstrated calf-roping and trick riding. Ceremonies were opened with the raising of a flag presented to the center by the Daughters of the Grand Army of the Republic. Other organizations participating in the open house were the Good Neighbors Farm Women's Club, Turley Square Dance Club, Teenage Girls Club, B-Square Club, and the Alpha Epsilon Study Club. Mrs. P. W. Whitaker was in charge of the program.


On the 24th of January 1961, the minutes of the Board of Directors of Turley Community Center held a meeting. Present at that meeting was:

John D. Dempsey, Jr., President
Kenneth W., Woods, Vice President
Rodolph f. Bussman, Secretary
Velma O. Fry, Member
Huburt Humphries, Member
Guy Polston, Member
John Sellers, Member
Harry Burnett, Member

Eight out of the nine Directors were present.

     Taken from the minutes of the meeting: "The President stated that the first subject on the agenda for discussion was the feasibility of selling the real property owned by the Turley Community Center, a Corporation. During the discussion, it was brought out by several members of the Board of Directors that practically all of the expense of operating the Turley Community Center building had been borne by the Turley Roundup Club, Inc. and that only a very few members of the Turley Community Center had contributed their pro-rata share of the expenses of maintaining and operating the Turley Community Center building. Thereupon, after a full discussion, it was moved by Kenneth W. Woods and seconded by Rodolph F. Bussman, that the Board of Directors of the Turley Community Center authorize the President, John, D. Dempsey, Jr., and the Secretary, Roldoph F. Bussman, to sell the fifteen acres of land and all the improvements thereon, including the furnishings in the building, and said land."

     On 1 March 2006, I obtained a copy of the General Warranty Deed which indicates that on 21 August 1961, the property ... in consideration of the sum of Ten Dollars and other good and valuables ... the Turley Roundup Club, acknowledged receipt of same.
     I find it interesting that it was the only matter of business that came up before the board that day. And I also find it interesting that the same members on the Board of Directors of the Turley Community Center, were also on the board of Directors of the Turley Roundup club.

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Linda Haas Davenport