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This Week in Sapulpa History – A Necessary Traffic Light is Installed
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
In mid-November of 1959, officers were called to a scene. The sergeant arrived on the scene just moments after a traffic accident. He found two pedestrians that were struck by a car in a hit-and-run incident. One person complained of an injured leg, while the other would die from internal bleeding just hours later. These two were struck crossing the street on Mission, near Haskell, “enroute to their job at Liberty Glass Company.”
“Many other serious accidents have occurred at the intersection of Mission and Haskell streets during shift changes at the plant.”
This week in Sapulpa history, on April 27, 1960, “a new stop light was erected by the city in front of Liberty Glass plant on North Mission Street. The new light is installed in an effort to curb the many accidents, which have occurred the past few years in front of the glass plant.”
The call-to-action for the new light would aid pedestrians crossing the highway.
The traffic light would cost $1,231*.
*Note: with today’s inflation, this would cost about $12,500.
However, Liberty Glass Co. donated the funds to purchase the light.
“The light is designed so as not to slow traffic any longer than at any other light, and also to permit uninterrupted flow of traffic. There will be two, four-fact lights with poles set up on both east and west sides of Mission. Traffic entering Mission from Haskell, also, will be controlled by the new signal.”
This signal would also make way for pedestrians much easier, safer, and faster. “A pedestrian starts across, pushes one of the buttons turning the light controlling traffic red. After the button is pushed once, the light will go into a predetermined sequence, assuring a smooth flow of traffic and eliminating the possibility of holding down the button to stop traffic for any great length of time.”
It was also noted that the approval came by the State Highway Department and City Manager. “Routine traffic off Haskell will be handled by a magnetic detector in the ground. The detector will register when a vehicle passes over it, changing the light to allow autos to enter Mission from Hasell.”
Both the traffic light and the detector were installed that day, but would be operational the following week in April 1960. Liberty Glass Co. began operation in 1912, but the plant was known as the Premium Glass then. Since its operations began, several incidents and traffic collisions have occurred around their intersection, including at least one train accident. In 1916, an elderly man crossed the road, between the glass plant and the oil refinery and was struck by an on-coming train.
Today, caution lights flash and the speed limit dropped near the intersections of Mission and Haskell.
(Sapulpa Herald, November, 16, 1959, April 28, 1960)
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.