Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The city serves as the county seat of Tulsa County, the most densely populated county in Oklahoma, and extends into Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties. Welcome to the many sides of Tulsa, home of the world’s largest collection of art of the American West and the world’s largest bull sharks in captivity. Where you can experience one of the top 10 regional opera companies in America and one of the top 10 Oktoberfests in the world. Where some of America’s most beautiful Art Deco architecture crosses paths with America’s Mother Road, Route 66. No matter what your interests, Tulsa’s many don’t-miss attractions and events have you covered.
Tulsa was first settled in the 1830s by the Creek Native American tribe. In 1921, it was the site of the infamous Tulsa Race Riot, one of the largest and most destructive acts of racial violence in the history of the United States. For most of the 20th century, the city held the nickname “Oil Capital of the World” and played a major role as one of the most important hubs for the American oil industry. Tulsa has been credited as the birthplace of U.S. Route 66 and the home of Western Swing music.
Located near Tornado Alley, the city frequently experiences severe weather. It is situated on the Arkansas River at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeast Oklahoma, a region of the state known as “Green Country.” Considered the cultural and arts center of Oklahoma, Tulsa houses two world-renowned art museums, full-time professional opera and ballet companies, and one of the nation’s largest concentrations of art deco architecture. In 2005, the city was selected as one of “America’s Most Livable Large Cities.” People from Tulsa are described as “Tulsans.”
The Meadow Gold sign greeted Route 66 travelers in Tulsa for decades.What was ultimately to become Tulsa was originally part of Indian Territory and was first settled by the Lochapoka and Creek tribes in 1836. They established a home under a large oak tree at the present day intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and 18th Street, and named their new settlement “Tallasi”, meaning “old town” in the Creek language, which later became “Tulsa”. On January 18, 1898, Tulsa was officially incorporated and elected its first mayor, Edward Calkins.
A small town near the banks of the Arkansas River in 1901, Tulsa’s first oil well, named Sue Bland No. 1, was established that year. By 1905, the discovery of the large Glenn Pool nearby (site of the present day town of Glenpool) prompted a rush of entrepreneurs to the area’s growing number of oil fields; Tulsa’s population swelled to over 140,000 between 1901 and 1930. Known as the “Oil Capital of the World” for most of the 20th century, the city’s success in the energy industry prompted construction booms in the popular Art Deco style of the time. Profits from the oil industry continued through the Great Depression, helping the city’s economy fare better than most in the United States during the 1930s.