West Tulsa is a local name given to an area situated in the west section of the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma which includes various communities to the west and south of the Arkansas River. As development between Sand Springs and Tulsa continued in the late 19th through the early 20th centuries, the name West Tulsa was used to refer to this area west of Tulsa and north of the Arkansas River, but many people in Tulsa and those knowing of the history of Tulsa do not include this area near Sand Springs when referring to West Tulsa.
The southwest quadrant of Tulsa is split into county and city areas, so that the county areas include industrial area enclaves and lands south and west of the city limits. Some communities are within city limits and others are not, including a large section of urban housing and commercial and industrial development around West 23rd street, which is the most developed area of West Tulsa. Generally accepted communities of West Tulsa in city limits are Red Fork, Carbondale, Garden City, and Turkey Mountain. Those not within Tulsa City limits are Berryhill, Marglo, Bowden, and Prattville (though annexed by the city of Sand Springs in 1964). Other communities considered a part of West Tulsa but located in Creek County are Oakhurst, Oakridge, and Allen-Bowden.
The most significant road in West Tulsa is Southwest Boulevard, which was formerly part of Route 66. Other principal streets in West Tulsa include West 21st street, West 41st street, West 51st street, and the principal avenues are South 65th West avenue, South 57th West avenue, South 49th West avenue, South 33rd West avenue, South Union avenue, and South Elwood avenue.
West Tulsa is also home to The Oaks Country Club, one of Tulsa's three major country clubs, Inverness Village, a large retirement community, and Camp Loughridge, a Christian Summer Camp operates on 186 acres of land in West Tulsa. Goodwill Industries is also located in this area as well as several companies supporting Tulsa's transportation industry adjacent to the BNSF Railway 'Cherokee' railyard. West Tulsa Free Will Baptist Church has been serving the area since 1946 and is associated with the National Association of Free Will Baptists in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as Hillsdale Free Will Baptist Bible College of Moore, Oklahoma.
Two oil refineries operate in West Tulsa. Sunoco's Tulsa refinery opened in 1913, and is located adjacent to I-244 at the Arkansas River. A sale of this refinery to Holly Corp. of Dallas, Texas was announced, with a planned closing date of June 1, 2009. The Sinclair Refinery (built in 1910 by Texaco) is located on Southwest Boulevard. Holly Corporation of Dallas, Texas bought both the former Texaco refinery and the Sunoco refineries in 2009 and announced that it would operate both as a single refinery.
West Tulsa High Schools are Daniel Webster High School and Berryhill High School. Clinton Middle School on West 41st Street and Berryhill Junior High School are separate school districts. Eugene Field Elementary School, Robertson Elementary in Carbondale, Remington Elementary in Mountain Manor, and Park Elementary in Red Fork are in Tulsa city limits. West Tulsa Elementary schools outside city limits are Jane Addams Elementary School on South 65th West Avenue and Berryhill Elementary School on West 31st Street. These schools are south of the Arkansas river. Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, which includes their College of Osteopathic Medicine, is on West 17th Street.
West Tulsa had one of the first amusement parks in the area, having its first visitors before 1920 at a park owned by The Park Addition Company, which operated a dance hall, concessions, and boat rides. In 1921, the Electric Amusement Park Company took control over the site, adding the only miniature train ride in Oklahoma at the time. By 1922, the company contracted to operators of carousel and Ferris wheel rides, but financial problems closed the park in 1925. After changing hands, the park reopened in 1928, remodeled and renamed as Crystal City and featuring Tulsa's giant Zingo roller coaster. Operation of the park was successful until a fire in 1956 burned down the bath house and Casa Loma dance hall, forcing its closure. Many of the rides were installed at another one of Tulsa's facilities, Lakeview Amusement Park near the Mohawk Zoo. Investors bought the buildings and lease in September 1958 to build what became the Crystal City Shopping Center, a major shopping venue for West Tulsans, with an anchoring bowling alley called Crystal Bowl.
In June 2006, the Southwest Tulsa Main Street Committee had plans to present a request to the city of Tulsa for support of an Urban Main Street program covering Southwest Boulevard from OSU Medical Center to Crystal City. The request is the first step toward getting the area certified as part of the Oklahoma Main Street program, which should help the West Tulsa area economically.
Tulsa's Red Fork area has been selected by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to be the city's first designated Urban Main Street Community. The Red Fork Main Street encompasses two blocks on either side of Southwest Boulevard extending from the Arkansas River to 49th West Avenue. Being part of the state program provides access to technical support, planning, expertise and resources that help communities preserve historic buildings and make them economically viable. The City Council has agreed to a three-year, $150,000 commitment to take part in the program. Matching funds have been pledged by numerous individuals and businesses..
- Walton, Rod (April 17, 2009). "Sunoco refinery sale set for June". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Lassek, P. J. (September 6, 2007). "Sinclair to invest in Tulsa". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Walton, Rod (October 21, 2009). "Holly to buy Sinclair refinery". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Field, Eugene. "Growing Together: West Tulsa." Retrieved May 6, 2014.
- "History of Southwest Tulsa." Chapter Seven:Historic Route 66. Available on Google Books.
- Tulsa Gal. "Tulsa Area Amusement Parks." January 10, 2010. Accessed August 18, 2011.
- Barber, Brian (March 11, 2007). "Red Fork area selected for program". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Further reading
- Jeff Smith. "Crystal City Amusement Park". Retrieved July 9, 2006.
- Larry O'Dell. "Amusement Parks". Retrieved July 9, 2006.
- Emily Priddy. "Community Focus: Reviving Route 66". Retrieved July 9, 2006.
- Adapted from the Wikinfo article, "West Tulsa,_Oklahoma", used under the GNU Free Documentation License