Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – 100 Years Ago, Nights of Terror
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, 100 years ago, the world was watching Sapulpa in their reaction to a potential race riot. Just over a year and half after the Tulsa Race Massacre, Sapulpa nearly had a similar situation*.
*Note: The nights’ events took place between December 31, 1922 and January 3, 1923. The following information is based on Oklahoma newspapers that have been digitized. Unfortunately, African-American owned newspapers that have been digitized have a gap between 1922 and 1925. The information gathered is not complete.
“S.E. Brumley, police patrolman, is dead and two other policemen are in the hospital suffering from painful wounds, as the result of a pitched battle between a detail of five officers and [African-American citizens] in a darked cafe. Damages estimated at $15,000 resulted from a fire of undetermined origin in which swept a half block of the [Black residences].
“Two hundred citizens, including the full force of the local sheriff and police department are scouring the surrounding territory and guarding all radiating roads from here, in an attempt to catch [the culprits] responsible in the shooting, the identity of one of whom is known.
“The shooting occurred in a restaurant belonging to Ed Glass, [owner of the African-American local funeral home, Glass Funeral Home]...*
*Note: restaurant address is unknown, but the funeral home was located at 210 Johannes.
“Police detectives had been called to the scene of the shooting by a call from an unknown party to this neighborhood with the information that there was a fight. Unable to locate the trouble, Officers Floyd Sellers and J.T. Hildreth went to the door of Glass’ cafe.”
The story continues saying that out of nowhere shots rang out from inside the store. It is unknown when or why other officers were on scene at the Glass cafe the instant shots began. The story only mentions Sellers and Hildreth were on the scene; then five other officers were involved without an explanation.
“The first of the officers to fall was Patrolman Brumley, with his partner R.D. Adams. Officers Sellers, Hildreth, and J.F. Loveland fought their way inside the cafe…when the [culprits] fled out a back door and into a waiting mobile.”
Loveland and Hildreth were both shot in their legs; Sellers nearly lost a finger and Adams nearly lost his nose. It is unknown how many citizens were inside the cafe that night, or their injuries during the shoot-out. One account said, “Sellers fired upon the [culprits] …one moaned ‘My God! I’ve been shot.’”
“Chief of Police Ralph Morey stated he felt sure the situation was well in hand and no race riot or disturbance was feared. Three [citizens] had been arrested as suspected of complications in the shooting; five others had been taken into custody for questioning…”
It was theorized later on why the unknown caller said there were fights in the area. Stories ran that it was a planned ambush. “Police are positive that the five officers were lured to the addition…a direct attempt at Chief of Police Morey’s life. For the past three nights, police say fake calls for policemen have come from the addition, and each time a request has been made that Morey answers the call.
It was stated that Chief Morey added patrol to the addition to keep order. “A delegation of six [African-Americans] from Colored Business Men’s Association appeared to the City Commissioners to ask that a [Black] Policeman be put in the addition. Their spokesman said that the fact that no [Black] officer was employed, was causing resentment and might lead to serious trouble. He said that the delegation represented the law-abiding element who wished to prevent any trouble.*”
*Note: In 1921 Sapulpa’s first Black officer and only Black officer at the time, Richard E. Nelson, was killed in a shoot-out.
Chief Morey, Mayor H.A. McCauley, and City Commissioners announced, “an applicable martial law form of maintaining peace and order will be effective this morning to assist police on special duty in the [Black] neighborhoods and to prevent any disturbances or possible race rioting…No national guardsmen will be called here, but details of special policemen will enforce the rule that no white citizens will be allowed in the addition, and [African-Americans] will not be allowed outside of their addition. Pedestrians will be halted at the Frisco tracks, and other limits in the addition, and automobiles must go around the addition. As much as possible, [Black] residents will be confined to their addition until the heat of trouble has cooled.”
Several homes in the addition were raided. Stories of officers looking for the culprits and stories of false officers invading homes were both listed as to these raids. However, little was mentioned on the effects of the raids. “No trouble has even been hinted as arising out of the shooting, and none is feared by authorities.”
One of the people apprehended was the wife of Edward Glass, Lula Glass. It was theorized that Ed Glass was the “leader of the band of [African-Americans] who ambushed the police officers.” She denied she knew of her husband’s whereabouts and the events of the night’s shootings.
Later that week, murder charges against Dr. James Rawls for his potential acts in the shoot-out. It was believed he was the one who allegedly called the officers to the addition, and pointed out Glass’ Cafe as to the destination of the supposed fight.
After Officer “Shep” Brumley’s funeral took place, and the state’s eyes were still on Sapulpa. Oklahoma newspapers’ headlines read like from Cushing, “Sapulpa [Black] Section Scene of Battle,” and from Nowata papers, “Near Riot at Sapulpa,” and Oklahoma City newspaper, “Sapulpa Scene of [Race] Riot,” and Frederick newspaper stated, “Race War Follows Murder by [an African-American] at Sapulpa.”
Many newspapers compared Sapulpa to Tulsa. Sapulpa citizens also compared themselves to their neighboring city in their response to the shoot-out. “Race feeling is running high and two hundred citizens, with the full force of the local police department, are scouring the surrounding territory and guarding all roads in a desperate attempt to catch the [culprits] responsible for the shooting.” Although, some actions were similar to Tulsa’s, but many responses and effects were not that of Tulsa’s.
The very first morning, an immediate response of the town unlike Tulsa’s. “Keep Cool. Now is the time for cool, deliberate judgment. Sapulpa is sitting on a powder keg, lighting matches. The city is stirred perhaps as never before. One or two hotheads can easily produce a race riot. Sapulpa does not want the stigma attached to her name that Tulsa has. No use to condemn the entire [Black] race for what a half dozen irresponsible [culprits] have done. Let’s be calm, quiet, deliberate and above all let’s preserve the fair name of our city…There is no need for more bloodshed. There is no need for further killings unless some one drops the match into the powder keg. Surly, no one in Sapulpa wants that responsibility…Let’s protect and preserve the fair name of the best city in the southwest…
“...Cool heads at a time when members of two races are engaged in bloodshed, that more than often than not results in uncalled for damages, killings, and injuries, are something to be highly valued. They can give community a reputation for careful, timely action that points toward a commendable enforcement of the law. Lack of them, replaced by the panicky element, can stamp the blackest of marks across the community’s name…The result is that a crisis has probably been passed and Sapulpa will not add a costly, uncherished chapter of race rioting to her history. A handful of [people] are blamed for last night’s trouble…These are the ones to be captured and punished…Cool heads can do Sapulpa a big service now. Let’s see that congratulations stay in order.”
Many members of the town reached out to the officers and City Commissioners to aid in their efforts. “Plenty of tasty, hot coffee and a bite to eat may be found at the grocery store of S.L. James, [an African-American], in the business district of the addition. James, his wife, and other [Black] citizens have kept an open house every night since the shooting affray and all guards are welcome for hot coffee and choice variety of food to make the long nights seem shorter.”
“City and County Department heads were profuse in their admiration of the manner in which Sapulpa citizens conducted themselves, both by keeping down any racial trouble and through their services as members of the patrol squads in the addition.”
A letter was given to the local officials. This letter of appreciation was sent to the Herald by a group of African-American citizens thanking officials for their prompt handling of the situation and pledged their support for keeping mob violence down. “‘We, the undersigned [Black] citizens, feel that we are voicing the sentiment of the better element of our people when we say that we thank the city and county officials for their stand taken in protecting our part of the city from any mob violence that might have arisen. We also want to go on record as protesting against all murders and other law violators, and shall cooperate with the officials in stamping them out, that our city may be a decent place in which to live. We pray that those who have taken part in protecting our lives and property may live long to do much good for falling humanity.’” The letter was signed by W.I. Nall, W.H. Furrie, P.J. McAlpin, W.M. Roberts, A.B. Hollis, S.L. James, and I.C. Clardy.
Many Sapulpa citizens stepped in to keep measures calm. “The good name of Sapulpa should stand before the world as a criterion of honor as a city without a stigma of unwarranted bloodshed, cooperating to uphold the fair name of Sapulpa…The powder was there, and the matches were handy, but Sapulpans prevented an explosion after grueling hours of watchful waiting in the midst of the powderhouse.”
The Tulsa Tribune ran an editorial letter praising the officials of Sapulpa and its citizens. In said letter, “officials were blessed with a working crew of real citizens in which the affair was handled.”
The week’s events do not have a clear conclusion. Many stories over the next years indicate Ed Glass escaped the area and could have lived in California or Mexico. Some stories said he lived closer, such as Arizona or Texas. Rumors spread that he was killed while being arrested a few years later. Other stories said he was captured, but turned out to be the wrong man. By 1928, Glass would be arrested, brought back to Sapulpa, charged for murder. He was sentenced to 99 years. However, there are stories, too, he escaped. Twice. Mrs. Lula Glass continued the Glass Funeral Home until at least 1936; it is believed the funeral home would become the Dyer Funeral Home.
(Cushing Weekly Citizen, January 4, 1923; Frederick Leader, January 2, 1923; Nowata Times, January 4, 1923; Oklahoma News, January 4, 1923; Sapulpa Herald, January 2-6, 1923; Sapulpa Times, January 24, 2019)
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Freddie’s B-B-Q and Steak House: A History
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, we remember the history of the family, friends, and followers of the restaurant and its owners. The following is a timeline of some highlights of the beloved business:
2022: The 60th Anniversary of the Lebanese restaurant known as Freddie’s B-B-Q and Steak House in Sapulpa was celebrated and honored for their accomplishments. The legacy of Edmond “Tex” Slyman will be remembered “for his involvement in the community and consistent support [of] many organizations.” Slyman passed away earlier this year.
Slyman, his family, and the employees have been very involved with the community over the decades; bringing in joy, festivities, hard-work, culture, and delight to all. The Freddie’s B-B-Q and Steak House family's dedication to their community branches far and wide, expanding statewide and nationwide. Many visitors, locals, celebrities, and politicians have made their way to the restaurant.
2012: Visitors are greeted at the restaurant by the staff. The staff of Freddie’s have hosted many events, catered for many outside events, and have thousands of visitors walk through those doors. Guests arrive hungry and leave full, but craving more of the delicious food for later.
The hard working folks of the restaurant do not go unnoticed. Many local and out-of-towners know the staff by name for their jobs-well-done. The restaurant, its owners, and its staff have received many awards over the years. One such award came in November 2012. “Sapulpa’s Lana Morrison came home from the Oklahoma Restaurant Association Banquet with top honors: Best Hirst Hospitality Distinguished Service Award of 2012.” By 2012, she was the “second member of his staff to earn the distinction. Chief Cook Dennis Lee was awarded the Hirst prize in 2007.”
2002: The restaurant had many changes over the years. One change came in 2002 when laws changed public areas in the state. “In June, the State Health Department and Gov. Frank Keating approved non-smoking laws for all public restaurants in the state. The smoking rules required restaurants with no-smoking sections and seating capacities of 50 or more to enclose and ventilate areas where smoking is allowed.
“Alleging the regulations exceeded the health department's authority, Ed Slyman, owner of Freddie’s Steak House, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1320, both in Sapulpa filed a lawsuit against the state. In response, Creek County District Judge Donald D. Thompson ordered a block of the rules’ enforcement. More lawsuits since have been filed, and some lawmakers are calling for a statewide referendum on the issue.”
1999: “It came in the middle of the night on May 4, and most Sapulpans will never forget the tornado that caused an estimated $10 million dollars in damage. Fortunately, no one was killed nor even seriously injured in the area.”
Red Cross and FEMA branched out across the city and state, aiding those in need; strangers aiding strangers. Home owners began going through the wreckage left behind the strong storm; neighbors helping neighbors. Business owners contacted employees and insurance agents to inspect damages. “Edmond ‘Tex’ Slyman, owner of Freddie's, was not so fortunate. The storm caused an estimated $250,000 in damage to the restaurant, ripping off much of the room in one portion of the restaurant and knocking out most of the air-conditioning units.”
1993:The business increased and its popularity and recognition of Freddie’s expanded worldwide. Visitors came flocking to the restaurant. Businesses and organizations needed more social event areas to gather large groups. “In 1993, it increasingly became apparent to the Slymans that there was a lack of banquet and meeting facilities. Edmond and Sherian invested their money and catered to Sapulpa’s needs, and created a 9,000-square-foot catering center next to their restaurant to accommodate the growing demand.
“Whether they are catering for 25 people in an intimate setting in a personal home or a picnic for 2,000 at a favorite park, they do it all. The Catering Center, under the guiding hand of Sherian Slyman, served for holiday parties, weddings, business meetings, bridal or baby showers, or any social gathering. What began as a 65-seat restaurant has expanded to a beautiful 250-seat facility with the same traditional Lebanese hors d’oeuvres, steak, and barbecue.”
1985: The history of allowing or discouraging liquor in the state of Oklahoma is a long standing on-off again relationship. However, public restaurants and sellers needed a liquor license or certificate for selling alcohol. “A request from Ed Slyman, owner of Freddie’s B-B-Q and Steak House, for a certificate needed for a mixed beverage license.
“The certificate would declare that the restaurant is properly zoned for serving mixed beverages, and is required by the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission before it will consider an application for a license to sell liquor by the drink.”
1979: In June of 1978, the then Drumright Freddie’s restaurant, burnt to the ground. Ed Slyman, purchaser of the restaurant just a few years earlier, knew he needed to reopen the doors. “‘We have built quite a reputation over the years and we hope to continue it in Sapulpa. One of the reasons for making the move to Sapulpa is the growth in the area and the accessibility from Sand Springs, Tulsa, and other areas.’”
“Dennis Lee, head chief of Freddie’s for the past six years, said the kitchen will have the latest equipment. The menu will feature barbeque, steaks, lobster, and Lebanese hors d’oeuvre.” The restaurant had become a huge part of Creek County for the past 17 years in Drumright would relocate to Sapulpa. The Sapulpa location had its opening day on December 17, 1979.
1971: The owner of the Drumright restaurant Freddie’s, Fred Joseph, decided to retire. Edmond Slyman, his nephew, bought the business from his uncle. “Together with his wife, Sherian, Slyman ventured out and expanded the food, restaurant, and catering world, with the same high quality, friendly, family dining that they have experienced in all the years the restaurant has been open.
Slyman graduated in 1961 from Bristow High School. “Slyman completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Central State University. He has been a charter teacher in English and Physical Education, as well as a counselor and taught at Byrd Junior High in Tulsa.”
1962: In 1955, Fred Joseph opened a grocery store in Drumright. Joseph began selling barbeque and meat in the back room of the grocery store. The small area of that grocery store began bringing in more and more customers. It gained popularity and the demand became so great that Joseph decided to open a restaurant.
“Joseph closed the grocery store and remodeled it into a small restaurant because the demand for his barbeque sandwiches became so great.” For the next decade, Joseph ran the restaurant until his retirement.
It all began decades ago. “Slyman traced his Oklahoma roots back to 1889 when his great-uncle came from Lebanon to settle in Bristow. [Their] deep roots in Creek County have striven to maintain a tradition that has been popular in the area.” Freddie’s B-B-Q began with Fred Joseph in Drumright. Slyman was the nephew of Fred Joseph, “the original ‘Freddie’.” The doors of Freddie’s restaurant may be closing, but the honor and privilege to have the memories of Slyman family, Joseph family, and the Freddie’s Restaurant and its employees will forever be cherished and remembered.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Lights Out Over Hobson
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
The dawn of the new century, the 1900s to 1910s, Hobson Avenue was the gateway for Sapulpa township. Main Street began remodeling their businesses. Dewey Avenue would soon be another place for the “skyscrapers.” What was the cause of the new businesses, buildings, and a boom of population? Oil.
Tulsa claimed themselves as “Oil Capital of the World,” with the first oil strike in 1901. Sapulpa and its surrounding area was not far behind. Sapulpa’s first oil well in January 1902 at 217 S Poplar. By 1907, it was often said that Oklahoma produced the most oil of any state or territory in the United States.
Sapulpa would have an influx in its population in the first decade of the 20th century; it would have one of the largest growth spurts, percentage wise, according to population. For instance, in the first decade of the century, Oklahoma City’s population boomed 141% (over 4,000 to 10,000 people); Bartlesville grew 785% (less than 700 to just over 6,000 people); Sapulpa grew over 800% (less than 900 people to over 8,000), whereas, Tulsa grew over 1,000% (with just over 1,000 to 18,000 people) in the span of these ten year*.
*Note: according to the Census records, Sapulpa was among these cities to have the second highest percentage growth in a decade.
By the end of the decade, Sapulpa gave itself a nickname to meet its rivals. In 1911, over E Hobson Ave, stood an illuminated sign, greeting Sapulpa visitors. “‘Sapulpa, the Oil City of the Southwest.’ In letters high above Hobson Ave crossing of the St Louis & San Francisco railway tracks, the above electric sign is now emblazoning the story of Sapulpa’s greatness to the night passengers on the greatest railway system which traverses the state of Oklahoma.
“It contains 700 electric bulbs. The lights surrounding the sign proper flash their rays without intermission, but the big sign is lighted by a flasher, one light following another until all of them are a blaze of glory, followed by the red lights which indicated flowing oil wells, the wells being in the letters ‘O,’ ‘I,’ and ‘L.’’
“No other such flash of gladness and advertisement of the products of a great community is to be seen throughout the new state, and the people here are proud of this first flash of the great advertising matter to be seen in announcing the wonders of the metropolis of the oil world. The new sign of welcome can be seen for miles out and the magic city welcomes all of the traveling world to read her story as depicted by the electrical sign that speaks only fact.*”
*Note: Location of Frisco Station was just north of E Hobson and between N Maple to Spruce St. The archway was most likely on E Hobson and N Maple with the lit sign facing east, so that visitors coming from Tulsa would see it coming into town.
The rivalry with Tulsa raged on. By the end of November 1916, Sapulpa and Creek County were showing off their claims as the oil city. “Almost half the oil tax paid to the state comes from Creek Co. - Tulsa Co. is far below us. Tulsa Co. makes strong claims, at home and abroad, of being the oil center of the state. It is interesting to learn from the official figures that almost half the oil tax paid into the state treasury is from Creek Co. in $66,892.03 as against $126,407/23 from the whole state.*”
*Note: Carter Co. was next with $17,772.69 in tax; whereas Tulsa taxed $11,395.68.
In 1917, Sapulpa continued its high. “‘Sapulpa, Oklahoma, known throughout the country as the ‘Oil City of the Southwest’ is located northeasterly part of the state, 281 miles south of Kansas City and 102 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, on the Frisco railroad. It is the county seat of Creek County, one the wealthiest in the entire state. No city is favored with amore healful and invigorating climate than Sapulpa.”
The illuminated sign continued to flash welcoming visitors to the great oil city. Many people were greeted with warmth radiating from the electrical sign of “Oil City of the Southwest.”
This week in Sapulpa history, the lights went out over E Hobson Ave. On December 18, 1922, the sign will no longer “wink at the public at the Frisco Station. City Commissioners voted to discontinue it. Some of the arguments advanced for so doing were:
“The sign is small town stuff and other cities have stopped using similar slogan signs. The sign often causes merriment instead of wonder. It isn’t worth the $750 a year the city must pay for the electricity*.
“Some arguments were advanced for keeping the sign. They were that all people passing through on the Frisco, see the sign, and are impressed that Sapulpa is a city of importance. Also, that it gives light there and shows strangers the way to the business section.
“The Commissioners voted 6 to 3 to discontinue the sign.”
*Note: $750 in 1922 is roughly $12,700 today with inflation.
Just six months later, in June 1923, it was decided to tear down the sign. “City Manager recommended that the Commissioners order the big sign taken down at the Frisco Station. The sign is no longer illuminated and the manager stated that parts of the sign have weakened, making it dangerous. A motion passed authorizing to tear down the sign.*”
*Note: the original sign was stored away, forgotten. It was rumored that it was scrapped for metal during the Second World War.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – The Castle of Sapulpa
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
A castle is typically defined as “a large building, usually of the medieval period, fortified against attack with thick walls, towers, and occasionally moats.” Over the centuries, to the modern world, castles have become ruins, often seen as other worldly structures. Some castles have become transformed into model households for nobles, lords, and wealthy citizens. Castles have also become an attraction destination, AirB&Bs, prisons, schools, sanctuaries, and concert venues.
The City of Sapulpa did not construct a medieval, fortified, moated castle. It built a school: Washington School, nicknamed “The Castle.”
This week in Sapulpa history, the very first image of the new school was published.
Around 1903, built on the northside of East Lee Ave, between Walnut St and Maple St, a building was erected on the lot. The school building was three stories, square in shape except for the large grand entrance. The yard had been graded, the chimneys were built higher than the main structure, and it was “one of the best equipped schools in the Territory.”
“The spacious auditorium in the third story [had] been converted into a large study hall, and two convenient recitation rooms by running heat partitions across the north and south wings.” It was said that “since the flues have taken on more brick, and are higher, heating and ventilating apparatus work nicely to keep the eleven rooms, halls, and stairways at a comfortable temperature.”
In its first year of operation, 546 pupils were enrolled. First Primary, taught by Miss May Pickett, had 92 students. Second Primary, taught by Mrs. E.P. Hopkins, had 72. Second Grade, taught by Miss Stella Houser, with her 69 students. Third Grade by Miss Hilda Hurd had 62 students, while Fourth Grade Miss Leota Wetzell had 85. Fifth Grade, Sixth Grade, and Seventh Grade of Miss Grace Weeks, Miss Myrtle Childress, and Miss Florence Rundell, had the lowest number of students in their classes of 50, 30, and 32.
Superintendent L.E. Brous, Principal J.C. Miller, and Assistant Principal Crete Pickett were not only administration members, they were teachers, as well. Brous, Miller, and Pickett taught together in Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Grade of a total of 54 students. The third floor was only occupied by the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Grades.
Students also devoted their time outside the classroom. “The young people of our school lack no means of entertainment and exercise. Football is the sport for the boys, while the girls have recently added basketball to their other amusements.”
By 1908, “all pupils living east of the alley between Oak and Elm Streets will go to the Castle. Second and Third Grade pupils living west of the above named alley and north of Thompson Ave will go to the building on Dewey Ave, [Dewey College]. All other grade pupils will go to the Jefferson School and high school pupils will go to the Castle.”
The school was the location for many voters in the precinct ward 1. Precinct ward 2 voters visited the old school house location. Precinct ward 3 voters went to the Jefferson School, while precinct ward 4 voted at H.H. Adam’s barn. Precinct ward 5 arrived at the Euchee School, and precinct ward 6 voted at Dingman’s office*.
*Note: The location of the old school house was not provided. Jefferson School was located on W Cleveland, between Mound and Cedar. H.H. Adam’s residence was listed at 408 S Walnut; his company, an abstract co., was located at the rear of 101 N Main. Euchee School was located at the end of E Dewey. Although, it did not specify which Dingman, it’s assumed to have been Ross Dingman, a real estate agency’s office at “North Heights” - referred to 1908’s city directory; it said his home was at 502 N Main, and his office at 102 N Main.
Teachers, or teacher candidates, also had their Teacher’s Examination within the Castle. “An examination at the Washington School building for the purpose of examining all applications for positions in the Sapulpa Public Schools. All persons holding life certificates, state certificates, normal diplomas, or first grade certificates issued in 1905 or later will not be required to take this examination, unless they so desire.”
Over the next couple of years, the Castle became the landmark for the township of Sapulpa. East Dewey and Hobson, along with Main St had many distinct buildings in the downtown district. The Courthouse, then named Lucille Opera House, was on top of the hill of North Mound and West Dewey. Dewey College had their structure built on the lot where the modern Courthouse is today; other schools, such as Jefferson and Euchee Boarding School were on the “end of town.” Many panorama images of Sapulpa, often taken from Sugar Loaf Hill on Lee and Mound, show the Opera House on the west end of the image, St. James Hotel, Berry Building (then called Sapulpa Hotel, later called Loraine Hotel) in the center of the image, and on the east end of the image shows the Castle.
There is a remarkable amount of buildings in Sapulpa history that were burnt down, torn down, or destroyed by a tornado. Sadly, in 1911, just a few years after being built, the Castle suffered damages from a hefty fire. The third floor went up in flames, crumbled to ash, and the first and second floor had heavy damages*.
*Note: The fire took place on April 12, 1911; causes for the fire were unknown.
The school would reopen after restoring the first floor and most of the second floor. It was never the same seemingly fortified towering castle it once was. The Castle would be demolished around 1936 to make way for a new school building. The new school would be named Washington School at the same location. Today, the building is the Sapulpa School District Administration Center.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Ring In the New Year, New Millenium, and the Holiday Season with Jingle Bells
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
Back to 1999!
As the world was gearing to enter the new millennium, Sapulpa ended the year with Jingle Bells. In December of 1999, the very first Jingle Bell Sweepstakes took place at the Courthouse. In addition, the Sapulpa Christmas Parade’s theme would be “A Jingle Bell Christmas.”
December 4th was a busy day filled with parades in the area that year. Glenpool and Mannford held their parade that morning at 10 AM. Sapulpa Christmas Parade would march down the streets at 4 PM that evening.
The Jingle Bell Sweepstakes Committee members kicked-off Saturday's parade as they served as the parade grand marshals, keeping with the “Jingle Bell Christmas” parade theme. As the grand marshals huddled under a blanket for warmth on their ride, “Sapulpa firefighters entertained "parade-goers with their ladder acrobatics. The Sapulpa police honor guard presented colors for the parade, while the Sapulpa High’s Ping Pings marched with the band.”
“Float riders and parade-goers alike bundled up in winter wear for the event. Temperatures dipped into the 40s as a light mist fell through the parade. Winners in the parade competition were: first, Pickett Prairie Baptist Church; second, Ball Foster Glass Co.; third, Praise Center Ministries; honorable mentions, Safari Joe’s and Cub Scout Pack No. 262 of Kiefer.”
During the weeks leading up to the Holidays, all people could talk about was Jingle Bells, and a chance to win $10,000. “The big day is drawing near for the $10,000 Jingle Bell Sweepstakes giveaway.” It was all new and exciting. Businesses and citizens were ready for weeks leading up to the event.
The first Jingle Bell Sweepstakes took place on December 18, 1999. Businesses couldn’t contain their excitement, and participated in a 10-week drawing for prizes leading up to the grand event. Lucky tickets were drawn each week for a prize from different organizations in town. “Jingle Bell Sweepstakes is underway, and participants will need to watch the Sapulpa Herald each weekend for the lucky ticket numbers in the weekly drawings.”
December’s drawings leading up to the event were for three weeks. The first week of December sponsors were Rainwater Jewelry, Bartlett Collins Outlet, Teacher’s Desk, Green Hill Funeral Home. The prizes for that week were opal and diamond earrings, $100 gift certificate, $100 gift certificate, and a burial vault.
The second week of December sponsors were SpiritBank, Rainwater Jewelry, Bartlett Collins Outlet, Pop Shoppe, Donnie’s Hamburger. The prizes for that week were $100 cash, magnetic copper bracelet, $100 gift certificate, downtown package, and $100 worth of meals at Donnie’s.
The third week and last week leading up to the first Sweepstakes was sponsored by Rainwater Jewelry, LaFever’s Furniture, Donnie’s Hamburger, Sendasational Baskets and Gifts. The prizes for the last week were a ladies Pulsar watch, $100 prize, $100 worth of meals at Donnie’s, and $100 gift certificate.
The newspaper kept everyone informed on how to participate during the first Jingle Bell Sweepstake. “Drawing for the $10,000 prize will be at the Creek County Courthouse Plaza. Ticket holder has 7 minutes to claim the cash. Two prize packages valued at $1,000 and one $2,500 scholarship at Central Tech will be awarded before the grand prize drawing. In addition, two $1,000 merchandise packages will be awarded” just a few days after the grand event*.
*Note: the winners of the $1,000 just days after the event were not announced in the papers.
The rules were for the big day that the ticket holder had to be present in order to win. “The winning ticket number will be announced live on the radio, and members of the Creek County Emergency Management will be in the crowd to escort the winner to the staging area. If the winner does not step forward within seven minutes, another ticket would be drawn.”
To receive a ticket, beginning in mid-October, participants would shop locally and “receive one ticket for every $10 purchase, up to 40 tickets.” Tickets were then held in the hopper. The hopper was approximately six feet high and five feet wide, and was decorated in jingle bells. “Although Sapulpa Main Street sponsored the event, it was not a fund-raiser for Main Street. All the money received was invested in the contest for the advertising and prizes. The Sweepstakes was designed to keep local people home to shop for the Holiday Season.”
It was said that 103 businesses participated in the $10,000 cash giveaway. “The Jingle Bell Sweepstakes was the first city wide promotion focused solely on Sapulpa retail and service businesses.” Sapulpa Main Street had dreamt of a crowd of 5 or 6 thousand. The crowd was probably twice that, if not more. Businesses, too, benefited with the advertisement and influx of people shopping locally.
Local businesses and people were ready for the grand event. Finally, on December 18, the time had arrived. “More than 12,000 people crowded the Creek County Courthouse Plaza for the $10,000 drawing.”
Winners of the $1,000 gift prize went to Bill Tuttle and Donna Morris; they received their winning tickets from Pop Shoppe. Jenny Johnston won a $2,500 scholarship to Central Tech; her winning ticket came from Gabe’s Office Supply.
Then came the grand prize drawing. All it took was for one ticket from one local business to ring in the new year, the new millennium, and the 1999 Holiday Season with Jingle Bell Sweepstakes prize money. “A quiet” participant “in one of the largest crowds ever assembled in Sapulpa” walked to the stage when their winning ticket had been drawn.
The winning ticket came from the Pop Shoppe business, and when the ticket was drawn, the winner was “quickly whisked to American National Bank by limousine to get a look at the money and pick up the cashier’s check.” The winning ticket holder had only 47 tickets themselves, as others around “had notebooks and envelopes of hundreds.” With this ticket, the winner wished to pay off some debt from a loan, “save the balance to attend a Harley-Davidson rally in Sturgis in 2000,” and have “a very good Christmas.”
The winner of the first Jingle Bell Sweepstakes in 1999 with prize of $10,000 went to Burban “Butch” LaSarge of Sapulpa.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – The Plowing Contest of 1924
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
“The prize winners of the first plowing contest were…”
This week in Sapulpa history, it was announced on November 27, 1924, that Creek County would stage the first plowing contest in the state. For two days, on local farms, farmers will join their try in the “new farming feature where every Creek County farmer should witness the terracing demonstrations.”
The most skilled plowmen in the County were ready to compete for prizes. Not only local farmers were joining in on the action. A&M College in Stillwater (later known as Oklahoma State University) head of departments and county agents would be appearing in the first ever plowing contest. The state extension farm engineer, head of department of agricultural engineering, dean of agriculture and head of experiment farm, and the president of A&M College were keynote speakers and participants.
It was encouraged for other county agents to join in, such as Muskogee, Okfuskee, and several other counties. It was also a way to engage with other farmers. “State engineers will be there to give valuable information on farm engineering problems - plowing, drainage, farm buildings, farm machinery, farm lighting, plants, sewage disposal, fence building, and many other farm problems.”
“‘This is the first contest of the kind ever put on in the state, and its success will show the interest in farming. They will find plowing today different from that of a good many years ago,’” stated the county agent, E.A. Kissick. Kissick was the organizer for the occasion.
The contest was scheduled for December 8 and 9, 1924. The first day of the contest would be held at J.B. Whie’s farm, near Iron Post, just 8 miles south of Bristow. The second day of the contest would be held on Max Meyers farm, just west of Sapulpa, on the state highway between Sapulpa and Kellyville.
“Any kind of a plow or team, driven by anyone living in Creek County may enter.” Men and boys of 16 and older participated in the contest. It was said that the walking plow with two horses or mules would be the best in the contest.
“‘Whether you can plow or not, come and bring your friends with you and watch other fellows win the prizes - several worthwhile prizes and ribbons to be awarded. A lot of fun - and maybe we will all be benefitted by the day’s experience,’” Kissick suggested.
Prizes and food were being donated by Bristow and Sapulpa merchants. Merchants such as Bristow Retail Merchants’ Association, Ford Motor Company, Grimes & Co. Furniture, Morton H. House Implement Co., Groom Hardware Co., Stone Hardware Co., Bristow Weekly Record, and many others.
Prizes were given to the five winning contestants, with the top three also receiving prize ribbons. The top five were given at least $35 each*.
*Note: the newspaper did not specify if each received $35, or if there was a top tier amount for the first prize versus the fifth place contestant. In 1924, $35 would be roughly $600 today.
“The best plowing speed is 200 feet per minute for nearly all makes of walking plow and the work begins to grow ragged when we pass 220 feet per minute.” In good weather, the plowing would be easier. On the first day at White’s farm, the weather was “fair, not so cold.” However, on the second day of the contest, at Max Meyer’s farm, “somewhat colder,” and “owing to the bad weather, little was accomplished at the contest” unfortunately.
“The prize winners of the first plowing contest were: first, F.G. Vanarsdale; second, J.P. Smith; third, Mr. Phillipy; fourth, O.M. Piatt; fifth, S.R. Daugherty.”
It was a huge success. The town came together to support the farmers and to take notes from the A&M College speakers. “From all indications of the interest taken by all present at the first plowing contest, County Agent E.A. Kissick is preparing for a greater event next year.*”
*Note: in research, there is not an indication the Creek County plowing contest continued; there were various contests over the years, but was not designated as a plowing contest or the second annual contest.
“All of the men did an exceptionally good job of plowing and far above the average plowing done the country over.”
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Thanksgiving in 1943
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, observing Thanksgiving Day during World War II had a different meaning. In 1943, the week of the holiday had many happenings in and out of town:
“Thanksgiving in Sapulpa this year will be much in contrast to past Thanksgivings when turkeys were in abundance, prices much less than today, and a roast hen would take the mighty place on the table instead of a fat turkey.”
It was announced in Sapulpa that businesses, houses, and offices would be closed. Most grocery stores would be closed for the holiday, too. The Sapulpa Herald announced the staff would not have an issue out for the holiday. “Thanksgiving in Sapulpa To Be Observed - Union Church Service Thursday Morning.” Even though places were closed over the town, churches joined together for a Thanksgiving service.
Headline news was all about the war in Europe and Asia. “Berlin Pounded by Devastating Raid Last Night - Nazi Capital is All But Paralyzed in Battering Assault.” “Nimitz Claims Pacific Victory - Battle of Gilbert Islands is Won; Jap Fleet Challenged into Open Combat.” Soldiers returned home for the holidays; some only were able to write home; some not at all.
In the Democrat News, a column was dedicated to the military members from Sapulpa and Creek County. The “News of our Men and Women in Uniform” informed the area of what was happening to our local heroes. For instance, the Kelly family shared what Kathryn and Thomas, believed to be siblings, were doing during the 1943 Thanksgiving. “Pvt [Kathryn] Kelly, who is with the Women’s Marine Corp, is stationed at Camp Elliot, San Diego, Calif.” “Thomas Kelly [Jr.] is attending officers candidate school at the Harvard business school at Mellon Hall in Boston, Mass.*”
*Note: it is believed they are brother and sister; their addresses in the 1940 city directory are the same, and are listed as “students” with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kelly Sr. However, in the column for these updates, it has Kathryn misspelled as “Catherine.” But while Thomas [Jr.] was listed as “son of Mr. and Mrs. T.G. Kelly” in his update, “Catherine” did not have that listed with her update. Previous articles that mention Kathryn state she is a PVT in the Women’s Marine Corp in San Diego.
Many of the names listed people who were “somewhere overseas” and people who are being promoted, in training, or reassigned to a new station in the states.
Another way to keep friends and families informed was to read about our local students. Students got out of classes early that Wednesday before the holiday; some college students returned home to visit, too. Some had their name in headlines during the holiday for their achievements. “Young Sapulpa Artist is Home for Thanksgiving - Richard Ruhl.” “Former Chieftain Wins New Honors on Seaman Squad - Dale Wortman, Second Class Petty Officer and Seaman Guard at the U.S. Naval Air.”
Richard Ruhl had graduated from Sapulpa High in 1943. He came home for the holiday after he began work in California to work for Walt Disney Studios as a student animator. “His first assignment would be on Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. His selection by the Disney Studio came after two months of training.”
Dale Wortman was stationed in Corpus Christi, and made headlines in the Beam paper published in the U.S. Naval Air Training, “for his participation in football activities. Wortman one of the best performers on the lineup for the Seaman Guard.” He had graduated from Sapulpa High in 1942, and enlisted after graduation.
Football season came to an end for the Sapulpa High School. Sapulpa Chieftains would take the football field for their annual Thanksgiving game. “Chiefs Wind Up Grid Season in Pre-Turkey Day Game Here.” And if high school football wasn’t enough for the football fans “entertainment for the holiday would find football fans motoring to Tulsa to view the annual Tulsa-Arkansas game.”
Sapulpa would face Okmulgee for the Turkey game. “The two are equally matched and as a result the game should be a most interesting one.” Even though a large local crowd showed, the Chieftains ended their season with a loss, 13 to 7.
The 1943 Thanksgiving holiday had a lot of focus on the war, local heroes, and student lives. The town itself had another success for the town was Sapulpa’s drive to reach their War Chest Drive quota. “Sapulpa has gone over the top in its $10,000 quota.” Sapulpa was able to bring in over $12,000 for the war cause. There were a lot of hardships and a lot of triumphs, but Sapulpa always found its way through.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Vote for Library
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
From Oklahoma Historical Society, “development of educational institutions in Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory coincided with public library movement in the United States.” Carnegie Libraries were the products of the library movement just after 1900. Andrew Carnegie, a famous steel magnate, retired in 1900; he “devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy.”
With grants and the Carnegie Corporation, “more than $41 million for 1,689 free public library buildings in 1,419 communities around the United States*” would see to that many communities, including Sapulpa, would have a library.
*Note: In 1911, when the Carnegie Co. began, $41 million then is worth over $1.2 billion with inflation today.
Today’s Sapulpa Public Library, or the Bartlett-Carnegie Sapulpa Public Library, was not built overnight. It was years in the making, and years of planning, and dreaming. It was even voted on, long before its opening day. “Credit for establishing the territories’ libraries generally goes to the local Women’s Clubs, whose activities almost always included setting up local reading rooms, and collecting books to furnish those facilities with material to lend to patrons.”
In 1915, the Women’s Club in Sapulpa that was able to bring a Carnegie Library to the community was that of the Ladies Library Club and the newly formed Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
The earliest mention of Sapulpa’s library was that of the Ladies Library Club. The library was located at 116 S Water, and would hold meetings at the Abbot Building, at 7-9 S Main St*.
*Note: This information appears in the 1904 newspapers Sapulpa Signal and Sapulpa Light, and in the 1907 City Directories.
This week in Sapulpa history, these two women’s organizations put their heads together and petitioned for a new public library, and it to a vote. “About a dozen ladies of the city composing of the old Library Club and the new Women’s Chamber of Commerce did what the men have on occasions failed to do - they carried a tax election by such a large majority that there is no question as to the result…All day yesterday [November 18, 1915] the ladies worked to get out the vote.”
“The library half mill levy carried by 467 to 80.” It was said that with the voting results Sapulpa would have a $25,000 Carnegie Library*.
*Note: In 1915, $25,000 would be roughly around $700,000 today.
The location of the library building would have to be determined by the club and the city. The public library location at the time would not have been used. The library had been closed earlier that year because of lack of funds. It reopened later that year to be in use until the new building would be ready. “It will not be justice to the building nor to the institution to place it on lot such as the present library occupies.”
While the organizations had helped boost the vote for the library, the women also aided in boosting the vote for a hospital and board. “The hospital carried by 435 to 107…the Hospital part of the levy which is also $25,000 will be handled by a board appointed by the city and it is likely that the members of the Women's Chamber will be placed on that board.” It was said that the women would rent a building or house where doctors and patients would be cared for; within a year, “if the experiment is a success, the ladies will go before the people and ask for a permanent Sapulpa hospital building.”
Sapulpa was one of twenty-four to receive Carnegie grants. “Oklahoma communities received $464,500” in Carnegie grants between 1899 to 1916. “The first two public library buildings in Oklahoma Territory” were in Oklahoma City in 1899 and Guthrie in 1901. Other towns included: “in 1903, Ardmore, Chickasha, El Reno; 1904, Enid, Shawnee; 1905, Tahlequah; 1906, McAlester; 1908, Bartlesville, [Ponca City]; 1909, Perry; 1910, Muskogee, Tulsa; 1911, Cordell, Wagoner, Hobart; 1914, Elk City, Frederick; 1915, Woodward, Collinsville; and 1916, Lawton, Miami, Sapulpa.*”
*Note: An additional academic library was added to the grants in 1903 at the University of Oklahoma; this makes 25 Carnegie Libraries listed in Oklahoma by the mid-1910s.
Of these buildings listed above, Sapulpa is one of nine Carnegie Libraries still being used as a library. There are another nine of the original Carnegie Libraries still standing, but not operating as a library.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Sapulpa’s Pageant of Progress
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, many visitors from across the state were attracted to the entertainment presented by Sapulpans. “Reports indicated the largest out-of-town crowd that has ever visited the city for an attraction such as the big Pageant.” The “Pageant of Progress” stage production entertained a large crowd the week of Armistice Day, November 11, 1921.
From July 30 to August 14, 1921, Chicago introduced at the World’s Fair the “Pageant of Progress.” The two-week long pageant held “the greatest collection of business and industrial exhibits this city has seen since the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Hundreds of thousands of visitors who were wowed by such disparate entertainment as mock pirate attacks, sky-diving stunts, speedboat races, the advance of firefighting equipment through time, a typing contest (126-words-per-minute was good enough to win)” and the evolution of lights. It was also said to have been “three-fourths education, and one-fourth confetti.”
It is unknown if someone from Sapulpa was able to visit Chicago during this time, and brought back an idea to entertain Sapulpans, or someone read about the Chicago event that struck up the idea to have a Sapulpa version. But the same week as the Chicago’s pageant ended it was announced that Sapulpa would put on the Oklahoman version of “Pageant of Progress.*”
*Note: a similar event would be held just decades later, the Sapulpa Story, in July 1948.
Sapulpa’s “first community sing” through participants from Community Service Inc. was at the bandstand on August 10, 1921. The community gathered to sing songs like “Battle Hymn,” “Till We Meet Again,” “Star Spangled Banner,” etc. A representative from the organization stated he believed “the work of the community council will continue,” referring to Sapulpa citizens participating in event productions.
When the idea was pitched, it was presented as a production of Oklahoma progress, but it also held a large portion of the pageant to Sapulpa history. “He told of the ‘Pageant of Sapulpa’ which the community council plans to give in November. It will be the biggest thing of its kind ever held in Oklahoma, and will give Sapulpa more national advertising than anything it has ever done.”
At the time, it was estimated it would include over a thousand Sapulpans to be in the cast. Sapulpans gathered to participate in being the writers of the big event. “The history of the community, a typical one of Oklahoma, will be portrayed from the misty days when only the [American] Indians held sway over the land” until the modern age of 1921. The production included “period when the territory was emerging into statehood,” “wild west days of the state when the land was covered with ranches and the old time bandits of the [Belle] Starr type were having their heyday,” “the oil development and other signs of modern progress will be shown,” leading up to close with “World War scenes.”
Many local participants were included in the writing and casting. The Community Service, Inc sent word that a “pageant expert” would come from New York to handle “the technical phases of the big show,” or directing.
In order to pull off the historical pageant, swarms of people began collecting data. “Special committees are writing the historical material which will be turned into dramatic form by a special pageant director, a “Miss Edna Keith.*”
*Note: the newspapers never said if she was the one from New York, but over the months, the newspapers referred to her as the director or one of the directors.
Many organizations like the American Legion, Kiwanis, YWCA, and nearly fifty other groups participated as cast members. Students from Washington and Jefferson entered the poster and sticker contest. Since August, hundreds of people have volunteered to take on many roles of cast members, set designers, helpers, and stage hands. For weeks, nearly every day, under the section in newspapers called “society” every club held a rehearsal for the upcoming pageant.
The town’s people were ready to put on a show for the many visitors coming into the area. An unexpected issue developed when townsfolk realized how they would accommodate the large influx of people in such a short time. A call went out to the “women of Sapulpa.” It was asked that many of the visitors would need to stay in the family’s home, making room for another family to stay during the small duration.
The last week of October was stressful as practices, substitutions, edits, and costumes were being perfected. Dress rehearsals were completed by November 6th. The final dress rehearsal went without a hitch, and the show was ready for their November 11th production. The prices for tickets were sold for .50 cents for adults and .25 cents for children*. It was said “the price alone would bring
*Note: fifty cents in 1921 would be around $8 today; twenty-five cents would be about $4 today.
When it was all ready, up-and-running, it took 5,000 people to participate in the production of Sapulpa’s “Pageant of Progress.” The stage production took place on “several blocks at the end of Main Street.” The hillside was covered by the crowd of thousands of visitors. “It was the biggest crowd ever seen at Sapulpa. The Pageant itself was the largest spectacle ever given in Oklahoma.”
Local stores held special window displays for the Pageant and Armistice Day. Many held their own events surrounding the Pageant event, and others had discounted items or speciality items for the event for sale.
“For nearly three hours, graceful dancing girls, gaily costumes,” and characters showcased the history of Oklahoma. It was estimated that anywhere between 12,000 to 15,000 people were on the grounds.
The townsfolk experienced a “rush” and were “thrilled to all that made the Pageant happen.”
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Oklahoma Joins the Highway Numbering System
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
“Nearly every state in the union is now using the number system of marking state highways.” It was announced this week on November 4, 1925 that the Oklahoma Highway Commission decided to number state highways, following as other states began doing. Sapulpa would have two state highways running through town. The highway running east and west would be #7. And the highway stretching north and south would be #12.
“All citizens of Sapulpa should familiarize themselves with this system if they hope to travel the state highways of Oklahoma or direct anyone else.” The Oklahoma Highway Commission had published an Oklahoma Highway Guide, explaining the system in detail. The maps would be up-to-date with the new account.
Highway 7 was described as running through Kansas from Baxter Springs, KS to Picher, Cardin, Commerce, Miami, Afton, Vinita, Chelsea, Claremore, Catoosa, Tulsa, Sapulpa, Kellyville, Bristow, Depew, Stroud, Davenport, Chandler, Wellston, Luther, Arcadia, Edmond, Oklahoma City, Blanchard, Chick-Fletcher, Lawton, Cache, Snyder, Headrick, Altus, Duke, Hollis, and intoTexas toward Wellington, TX.
Highway 12 was stated to be running through Kansas from Caney, KS to Copan, Dewey, Bartlesville, Ochelata, Romona, Vera, Collinsville, Owasso, Tulsa, Sapulpa, Kiefer, Mounds, Beggs, Preston, Okmulgee, Henryetta, Weleetka, Wetumka, Calvin, Atwood, Allen, Ada, Roff, Hickory, Mill Creek, Ravia, Madill, Kingston, Woodville, to the Red River toward Dennison, Texas.
According to the Oklahoma Highway history of ‘Original Oklahoma Route 7’: “Original Oklahoma Route 7 was a unique highway in the original road network; this was the only full crossing of the state that followed a diagonal path, from the far northeast corner of Oklahoma to the far southwest. As such, it formed a direct link between the two largest cities in the state and allowed one to continue directly to the largest city in the southwest quarter of the state and onward to Texas.”
Highway 7 was nicknamed “the Kansas City, Fort Scott, and Tulsa Short Line.” This section would be Oklahoma’s eastern section of the infamous Route 66. The two highways would follow nearly the same route. Eventually, Route 66 took most of Highway 7’s place the following year, late 1926.
Before regulations for most transportation occurred, “narrow, pockmarked, and dangerous roads were normal for the state.” It was said that some ‘highways’ were only nine feet wide, if not smaller. State Highway 7 was especially dangerous, according to reports of the original highway.
“One individual remembered the ‘old slab’ of the road. One curve known officially as Dryden Corner, three miles northeast of Afton, became known as the ‘death corner’ because of the many fatal accidents which occurred there. The road was indeed hazardous, and long after the road was designated as Route 66, there remained stretches which were both dangerous and unpaved.”
Later, “Route 7 would continue with State Highway (SH) 66 through Claremore and Catoosa, then join the modern limited access expressway system for the run through the Tulsa area. While modern SH 66 follows the mid 1950s bypass route through Tulsa, we have chosen to show Route 7 following the crosstown I-244 path, which is closer to where the old Route 7 actually ran. West of the Arkansas River, Route 7 would again join modern SH 66 as the ‘free road’ splits off just before the Turner Turnpike. After passing through Sapulpa, Route 7 and SH 66 would then travel together west-southwest along the classic US 66 route toward Oklahoma City.”
Similarly, Oklahoma Route 12 could be described as an origin story for Oklahoma’s route for State Highway 75. “Route 12 was a major north-south connector.”
According to the Oklahoma Highway history ‘Original History of Route 12’: If original Route 12 existed today, it would begin at the Kansas state line near Caney and travel south on US Route 75 through Bartlesville and on to meet modern State Highway 20, where Route 12 would turn east toward Collinsville.
“Route 12 would join the limited access US 169 outside Collinsville and travel south toward Tulsa, turning west at the I-244 junction to follow the crosstown expressway loop through the city. West of the Arkansas River, Route 12 would join with modern SH 66, leaving the expressway just before the former Tulsa gate of the Turner Turnpike. In Sapulpa, Route 12 turns south onto Alternate US 75, passing through Kiefer and Mounds before turning east at SH 16 in Beggs.”
The original path would continue to intersect SH 16 and US 75. “When the US Highway system arrived in 1927, the north 2/3 of original Route 12 were overlaid by US Route 75, leading to the removal of the state number from that portion of highway in 1930. However, since a new routing was built for US 75 south of Calvin, a diminished Route 12 remained in its original location continuing south for 37 more years before disappearing from the map entirely. The designation of a new SH 1 in 1968 may have removed the last of the original Highway 12 from the map.”
(Sapulpa Herald, November 4, 1925; Oklahoma Historical Society; Oklahoma Highways)
The information found on this page has been researched through Sapulpa (and area) newspapers, Sapulpa Historical Society archives, books, and photographs, Sapulpa yearbooks, city directories, and other local authors. Any other sources will be labeled and named as the research continues. Any mistakes will be noted and adjusted as needed.