Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Sapulpa’s Earliest Fourth of July Celebrations
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in history, the Fourth of July for the United States is a celebration. In Sapulpa, celebration was what our town loved to do and express our fortune and gratitude.
In 1907, a great midsummer fair and 4th of July celebration was a three-day event. “Come to Sapulpa July 2-3-4 for a great big time. There will be something doing every minute.”
The town clubs were able to put together plays or skits that could be seen at the Lucile Opera House. Invites were sent to “one each of the Five Chiefs of the Nations.” Indigenous People from all over the state was present to the attraction, including Chief Pleasant Porter of the Creeks.
Carnival themed attractions were enjoyed by the community. Shows of nature, such as a snake-eaters attraction, were present. An incident involving a monkey and a balloon was a tragic accident. A monkey was attached to a balloon and a parachute; it failed to open and fell eight hundred feet.
Contests and games were another huge event in the program. A roping contest with “twenty wild steers were roped.” Bill Chalk won second place; Buck Matthews in first place. Matthews won $50 for the contest. “The ball game between Jenks and Sapulpa, started out to be a good one, a close game, with Sapulpa in the lead.*”
*Note: the article did not mention who won the ballgame.
It was stated that anywhere between 10,000 to 15,000 people came to the Sapulpa events.
In just a few short years, Sapulpa had been experiencing a heat wave for some time. The paper reported a temperature of between 109 and 111 for the day of July 3rd, 1911. At the time, this was the hottest day in Sapulpa history.
The people of Sapulpa had a special treat, however, to keep them cool and entertained for the 4th of July. A big barbecue was arranged at the Electric Park with “all arrangements for entertaining crowds at the park are complete.” The Electric Park had a showing of moving pictures, a dance pavilion and other amusements in town. The trolley ran cars from both Sapulpa and Kiefer to the park. This park is located where Kelly Lane Park is now.
To keep you cool, Sapulpans would venture to the Grand Confectionery at 110 E Dewey and have a cold refreshment. “The most magnificent place of refreshment in Sapulpa.” It had just opened for the July 4th celebration back in 1909. The owners of The Grand, Nicholas Psihos and Salim Abdou, had been lavish in their expenditures. “The fountain of white marble is by all odds the most expensive and most beautiful that was ever imported to the city, costing upwards of $2,500.*”
*Note: in 1909, the $2,500 is roughly $72,000 with today’s inflation.
In 1912, however, an ordinance was enforced. “The police will strictly enforce the ‘Sane Fourth’ Ordinance.” Mayor S. J. Smith and City Attorney Harbison declared that the fireworks would be prohibited within city limits. “The use of toy pistols, dynamite, or torpedo canes and fire crackers over two inches in length is prohibited anywhere in the city.” It was said that the “decree is taken to mean that the ‘Glorious Fourth’ in Sapulpa this summer will be a mighty tame affair.*”
*Note: and it was a tamed one. There were not any articles the day before nor the day after indicating the celebration of the Fourth of July that year.
The following year, for Fourth of July in 1913, the headline read: “Anything but a ‘sane’ celebration of Independence Day in the City of Sapulpa.”
“From the beginning of sundown until a late hour at night, and even an early hour next morning, it was this order in the center of the city: Bang! Pop! Bang! Pop! Br-o-mm! Until one could hardly hear themselves think.”
“Sapulpa will not be entirely without a Fourth of July celebration this year thanks to the public spirit.” A local business, the Men’s Fashion Shop, hosted their own event. A balloon race from the top of their building at 27 E Dewey. “Every balloon will carry a prize!” It was described that each balloon was attached to a bottle that contained a note of the prize. The person who was able to snag the balloon as it descended received said prize. There would be twelve balloons and prizes. Each prize was an item or certificate from the store. And first prize was a balloon that had been labeled “Let Brisco Fit Your Coco” with the prize being a $5 gold piece*.
*Note: $5 in 1913 is roughly $150 in today’s money. And sadly, there were not any published articles about the winners of the balloon race.
The streets were packed with people shouting, listening, and watching and celebrating. The trolley cars ran into the night and people had loaded their firecrackers and torpedoes throughout the town.
“The streets were lined with people…with hundreds of packages of fireworks…and all seemed to be out participating in a ‘sane’ Fourth.”
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – The Glass Company’s Fire Began
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, the actual start-up date for the Bartlett-Collins (B.C.) Glass plant began on June 28, 1915. “‘Making of glass in Oklahoma is a new industry in the southwest, but it has come to the state! The big factory of the Bartlett-Collins is now running full blast.’” Oklahoma City Times shouted in their headline when B.C. opened.
“The mammoth plant of [B.C.]” held a reception that evening. “All of Sapulpa is invited to attend the Opening and see the pot furnace at work.” It was an opportunity to be shown a guided tour of the plant, and the workings of the machinery explained.
B.C.’s manager, George F. Collins, made the decision to host the opening. “The people of Sapulpa should be given an opportunity to see how the finest plant in the southwest makes the tableware for the sideboards.” Mr. Collins explained.
A few days prior to the host’s event, the factory's furnace was lit early. “There will be glass souvenirs of the occasion for the guests to keep as a reminder of the day.” The host also explained that there will be speeches from the family of Collins and the organization.
Mr. Collins further stated that this may be the only time for such occasion to have visitors, so people needed to come the opening night if they wanted to see the factory. “On other occasions, visitors will not be very welcome at the factory because of the danger of some of the operations and the interruption to the work.”
Two unique aspects stood out for the new facility.
One being that the new furnace may have been the first of its kind in the United States. “It not only turns out the finest glass but it is equipped with the latest machinery to turn it out faster than any other plant of its kind in the United States.”
Two being that the plant itself is also the first of its kind in the west. It also was said to be the largest in the west. The Oklahoma City Times stated, “the new plant is the only one of the kind west of the Mississippi River. The new plant [has] high grade glassware [that] is not made at any other factory in the state.” Therefore, B.C. was the best of the west.
The glassware was described as a “pioneer movement.” It had blown and pressed high grade glassware. Machinery and tools were available to make fine light cuts to arrange stars and floral designs in the glass.
“‘Some Oklahoma sand is used and some of the sand is shipped from Missouri. The plant has a capacity large enough for an output of about $30,000 worth of glassware a year.*’” The glass included a mixture of other raw materials such as lime and soda ash. The materials came from Illinois and Kansas.
*Note: $30,000 in 1915 is just under a million dollars.
“It promises already to grow into a great business.”
The reception and the opening was a tremendous night for the town. “Fully two thousand men and women, citizens of Sapulpa, attend the formal opening of the big Bartlett-Collins glass plant.” Short speeches were made and then crowd was able to inspect the entire plant.
The event was so widely viewed that George Collins himself was not prepared for. “Superintendent Collins was not expecting such a crowd and only had three hundred and fifty souvenirs” made for the evening.
Fun fact: because of the glass plants in the area, Sapulpa began to boom. With the new B.C. plant, families moved to Sapulpa just start a new life. Two marriages, in fact, were celebrated because the husbands wanted to work at B.C. “Mrs. Boren will arrive tomorrow from Pennsylvania to join her husband who has been connected with the Bartlett-Collins Glass plant and will make their home in the city in the future.” Additionally, “Keelin and Bogan from Newark, Ohio were joined [in matrimony]. Mr. Keelin is a glass worker employed at the new Bartlett-Collins factory and they will make Sapulpa their future home.”
More on B.C. Glass Plant in 1915: The two owners, HU Bartlett and George F Collins, had made a deal with the Sapulpa Commercial Club to build a $60,000 plant and to employ 125 men with an annual payroll of $66,000. At its highest capacity, or as needed, it was agreed to employ 250 workers. The Commercial Club would furnish the site that had been purchased for another plant - that had never come to fruition.
Bartlett and Collins also agreed to pay the owners $15,000* ten days after the plant was completed. With additional $5,000 a year for five years would be given, too, if the plant lived up to its obligations.
B.C. would be Sapulpa’s fourth glass plant. In the space of three years, 1912-15, the four glass plants were not in direct competition with each other - each plant manufactured This was due to the huge amounts of quality sand in Oklahoma and Sapulpa had the cheapest gas in the world. At one time the glass industry employed about a thousand men in Sapulpa and we were known as the “Crystal City of the Southwest.”
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Juneteenth in Sapulpa
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
Juneteenth, the newest federal holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. On June 19, 1865, the Union Army announced General Order No.3 proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas, the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery. While President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, true emancipation came at different times across the United States.
Sapulpa, like most of Oklahoma area, was considered a territory. The territory would have been described as a safe-haven for the freed enslaved people. Historically, Oklahoma held home to “more historically all-black towns than any other U.S. state.”
According to The University of Tulsa, “The settlement of Oklahoma’s all-black towns is inextricably tied to the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Native American tribes from the southeastern part of the country to Indian Territory. Many African-Americans who were held as slaves by the tribes made the journey to Indian Territory, as well.
“All-Black towns grew in Indian Territory after the Civil War when the former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes settled together for mutual protection and economic security. These former slaves, or “Freedmen,” founded farming communities that supported a variety of businesses. Between 1865 and 1920, African-Americans created more than 50 all-black towns and settlements throughout Indian Territory.”
Sapulpa was incorporated as a city in 1898. The Eastern half of what would become Oklahoma was called Indian Territory; whereas the more Western half was considered Oklahoma Territory. In 1907, congress agreed on a one-state joining the Union. Thus Oklahoma became a state in late 1907.
The earliest recorded Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, held in Sapulpa happened in 1908. The newspaper did not specify if this was the first celebration held in Sapulpa for Emancipation Day, however, it is the earliest record the museum has.
The 1908 celebration met with little resistance to the public. However, there was a dispute over funding and management. Juneteenth 1908 would host a picnic for the community. Donations came in and the treasurer of the event had been in charge of management of funds. However, the treasurer had been accused of stealing or mishandling from the funds. A physical fight broke out between the treasurer and the other gentleman.
The treasurer happened to be from the white community and the accuser was not. The treasurer exclaimed that the man was jealous that he did not “get to hold the money which the white folks have donated.” It is unknown if the report was true or false, however, both men were fined for the fight of $10 each*.
*$10 in 1908 is roughly $300 today.
Despite the hiccup, the celebration and picnic continued.
The Emancipation Celebration continued to grow over the next few years in the community. In 1909, several hundred people turned out for the big day. “The colored people of the city and vicinity had a great time here, the occasion being the celebration of Emancipation Day. The celebration was observed on the north side in Business Men’s Addition.”
In 1910, there was not record of a celebration. However, the next two years would draw in a large crowd.
In 1911, two days of celebration would bring many families, friends, and neighbors in. “The advent of quite a number of people from the adjoining towns. These joined here for a picnic, four miles south of town.”
In 1912, in large print on the front page, it exclaimed “Emancipation Day Celebration one of the greatest ever held.” It was a celebration filled with people, speeches, and food. “One of the greatest emancipation day celebrations ever held in this section of the country is in progress at the steel mill at the foot of Main St.”
People of Color from all over the state would be in attendance and “appreciating the hospitality of the colored population of Sapulpa.” The large barbecue was free and people enjoyed the feast. “A half a beef was secured and a whole hog for the occasion.” It only lasted two hours.
Prominent speakers from the joining cities and states ended the day. “One of the most important and most enjoyed speeches was delivered by FW Jacobs, who is running for the office of county judge. Mr. Jaccobs’ talk dealt with the freeing of the [enslaved people] and what constitutes good citizenship.”
Other figures from Oklahoma City, Muskogee, and a Texan spoke at the affair. Although names were not given, their speeches were described as “flowery speeches on uplifting [humanity].”
In 1979, Texas was the first state to announce Juneteenth as an official holiday. In 2021, it was signed into law, establishing Juneteenth as a national holiday.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Strange Object in the Sky
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
Oklahoma City, June 1, 1931, en route to the Pacific Coast, a strange object would fly over Oklahoma, and make a stop at the capital for a day. Arrangements were made at the Fair Park for a crowd of 25,000 to witness the strange craft. The floating vehicle would land in Oklahoma City on June 14.
The flying vehicle and its pilot had completed a transcontinental flight. “Navigating the craft through rain and fog, which caused other planes to be grounded, the [vehicle] arrived in Los Angeles on June 8. The plan was to depart that same day on a return trip to Philadelphia “by way of Phoenix, Arizona and El Paso, Texas.”
Unfortunately, the ocean flier crashed in Texas on June 12. Aviatrix escaped the crash unhurt when the Autogyro crashed taking off for Dallas in Abilene.
Autogyro is a Greek word meaning “self-turning.” The floating vehicle that has characteristics of a helicopter and slices through the clouds like butter like a plane.
In 1931, however, autogyros were described as making more noise than an airplane, but looked like a small plane with a windmill on top.
Aviatrix means “a female pilot”.
The pilot stated, “the landing didn’t jar us. If it had been any other plane than an autogyro we might not be here now. As it was, we weren’t even shaken up.” Aviatrix “landed in the only cleared space, a circle about 60 feet in diameter, between a crowd along the airport fence, and another highway. Her mechanic was with her in the ship.”
However, the crash did not seem to delay her departure. “‘Mrs. Putnam’s autogyro will not prevent her appearance here Sunday in a ‘Milk and Ice Benefit’ performance,’ sponsors announced. The famous woman flier’s scheduled appearance at Enid Monday for the State Lions’ Convention was expected to be kept.”
Mrs. Putnam, pilot, took off that very afternoon to head toward Dallas, then make her way to Oklahoma City.
This week in Sapulpa history, June 13, 1931, Sapulpans at the Sapulpa Country Club heard a strange sound around 5 o’clock that Saturday evening.
“Golf playing was suddenly halted when a strange whirling mechanism spun thru the air overhead. The golfers stopped their games and stared at the [strange] sounding vehicle of the air.”
Mrs. Amelia Earhart Putnam flew over the town of Sapulpa.
The golfers “learned later that the thing they had seen was the autogyro, which was flown to Oklahoma City, for the famous woman flier.”
“The autogyro driven by the noted aviatrix, Amelia Earhart, was seen by many citizens ast it passed over our city. The plan was the first of its kind ever seen here.”
Later that week, after her trip to Oklahoma City, Sapulpans had another chance to see the majestic aviation vehicle. “Twice within a week, Sapulpans stretched their necks skyward to stare at Mrs. Amelia Earhart Putnam’s autogyro. She was flying slowly, at an altitude of about 1,000 feet, proceeding toward Tulsa.*”
*Note: the 1,000 feet that she flew over Sapulpa is not even a quarter of a mile above our heads.
Later, Earhart reflected on her crash in Texas. “‘The crowd was desirous of seeing the autogyro closely and I was taking off closer to the crowd on that account. I had gained some height when suddenly my gyro began losing altitude. I brought it down in the only open space available to prevent hitting any cars or hurting people. It is true that one of the rotors struck a car, but I don’t believe it did any serious damage.’ She said she was not aware that she struck a floodlight while taking off. Washington’s Department of Commerce announced that Amelia Earhart would receive a formal reprimand for her “carelessness and poor judgment” in her crash in Texas.
1931 was a big year for Amelia Earhart. Her accomplishments that year:
She married George P. Putnam on February 7, 1931.
She was also the first woman to fly an autogyro in early 1931.
First President of the Ninety-Nines in early 1931. Ninety-Nines is an organization for international women pilots; they are still active today.
The speed record for the type of vehicle was reached 181 miles per hour, by Earhart in early 1931.*
*Note: today’s commercial planes fly just under 600 miles per hour.
With her autogyro, Earhart also beat the altitude record for the vehicle. She reached 18,415 feet on April 8, 1931*.
*Note: commercial airplanes today cruise at the altitude between 33,000 and 42,000 feet (or six to eight miles above sea level)
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to cross the United States in an autogyro summer 1931.
“To Tomorrow’s Neighbors - Perhaps the future will put your gyro in a garage next to your auto, noted aviatrix Amelia Earhart, declares. To say the least, she is looking ahead to travel, that will make neighbors of us all. Tomorrow’s neighbors will not be the family across the street, or next door, or across the city. They will be further away than that, several hundreds of miles further. They will be neighbors because it will take such a short time to reach them if the aims and hopes of aviation materializes.”
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Dewey Ave Gets a New Look
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
The Mother Road of America was established in late 1926 and began connecting many states along the now infamous highway. From Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona to Santa Monica, California, the stretch of road became a historic icon. The inspiration was planned by Cyrus Avery (of Tulsa, OK) and John Woodruff (of Springfield, MO) as they advocated the American Association of State Highway Officials.
At first, each town was in charge of their section of the highway. Later, State Highway Departments were ahead of the projects of highways. This week in Sapulpa history, on June 5, 1937, it was announced that Dewey Ave would be under construction to widen the highway.
“Fred Cowden, Chamber of Commerce President, revealed plans [for] widening of Dewey Avenue through Sapulpa from the west city limits.” Of the 375 miles of Route 66 in our state, Sapulpa’s construction would consist of 9 miles, and was the only town in Oklahoma to have plans for construction on the Mother Road that year.
“Relative to widening of Dewey Avenue, Cowden stated that the sidewalks on each side would be cut down to carry better highway traffic. The State Highway Department would insist on only parallel parking.” Prior, along the Business District on Dewey, angle parking was used along the traffic.
At first, the City had kept in mind to keep angle parking, however, it was met by resistance from the State Highway Commission. In October 1937, “Dr. W.E. Grisso, Chairman of the State Highway Commission, stated unless cities between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, including Sapulpa cleared traffic obstacles there would be agitation started for federal placement of a by-pass around the towns or an airline highway that would leave them ‘high and dry.’”
At the time of the statement, Sapulpa had angle parking on the north side of Dewey, with parallel parking on the other side. “The City Manager, Fred Boone, agreed with Dr. Grisso was ready to recommend to City Commissioners an amendment of the present parking ordinance to provide parallel regulations on both sides of Dewey from Poplar St to Oak St and even out to Maple St if necessary.”
Fred Cowden had mentioned that the ultimatum from the State Highway was only a newspaper story, and the City always had intentions to establish only parallel parking. “‘When I talked with Dr. Grisso and proposed parallel parking, he talked of prohibiting parking on Dewey altogether. The City is willing to cooperate with the Highway Commission, but would like also to secure help from the state in maintenance of Dewey Ave.’”
In November 1937, it was announced the changes ordered by the commissioners in the new parking ordinance. “Parallel parking on both sides of Dewey Ave east from Main St to the railroad…buses will not be permitted to stop and load or unload on Dewey Ave.” It further stated that there is no parking on West Dewey, southside, between Poplar and Main Streets. Furthermore, limited parking to a two-hour stretch from 7 AM to 6 PM on Dewey from Main St to Walnut St.
Finally on November 8, 1937, orders for no parking along Dewey due to the new paint being laid for the new parking layout. “This move is being made in order that there will be less congestion on the busiest street in the city and highway traffic through Sapulpa will have privileges of through traffic. There will be less cause for accidents, according to J.O. Edwards, Chief of Police, which have been caused from backing away from curbs [due to angle parking]. The straight parking is in compliance with the State Highway Department wishes.”
Just two week later, “Sapulpa’s parallel parking down Dewey Ave has had sufficient time to prove it is a highly practical move…Crowded conditions on Saturday nights formerly made this lane extremely narrow and difficult to navigate. And car drivers have cooperated and swung into the new habit with ease."
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Beginning of Sapulpa’s Ku Klux Klan, One Year After the Tulsa Race Massacre
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
At the turn of the 20th Century, the American Civil War, which ended in 1865, was still in living memory. Civil rights for African Americans were lacking, and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK or Klan) was resurging - primarily through the influence of the wildly popular 1915 film The Birth of a Nation. Since 1915, the KKK had been growing in urban chapters across the country.
After World War I, veterans returned to Tulsa, and they tried to re-enter the labor force. Social tensions and anti-Black sentiment both increased in cities where job competition was fierce. Northeastern Oklahoma was in an economic slump which increased the level of unemployment.
According to the Oklahoma History Center, “Tulsa was also a deeply troubled town. Crime rates were extremely high, and the city had been plagued by vigilantism, including the August 1920 lynching, by a white mob, of a white teenager accused of murder.”
“By September 1921, the Oklahoma City Klan claimed twenty-five hundred members. The Tulsa Klan grew in a similar fashion, numbering two thousand Kluxers soon after the 1921 event. By the end of 1921, 3,200 of Tulsa's 72,000 residents were Klan members according to one estimate. In the early 20th century, lynchings were common in Oklahoma as part of a continuing effort to assert and maintain white supremacy.”
“The Oklahoma KKK was triggered by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The Massacre took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921. Mobs of white residents, some of them deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked Black residents and destroyed homes and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa.”
One year later, June 2, 1922, a Klan parade marched down Sapulpa’s Dewey Ave.
“Eighteen hundred Ku Klux Klansmen, clad in the white robes and helmets of their organization, paraded in the business district of this city last night before the largest crowds that has ever turned out for any event in Creek County.”
The City Manager was asked for permission for this event earlier that week. Many people from all over the county were present in the downtown district for Klansmen appearance. Spectators described the event as “long, silent line of white-cloaked [figures] appeared from over a hill at the western end of Dewey. Brilliant sky rockets and red and blue flares leaping far into the air from the unseen side of the hill appeared ahead of the Klan. Streaming rockets from the tops of business, houses, ignited by unknown parties, sailed above the thousands of spectators.”
Underneath some members' robes were hidden instruments; their band played as the members marched forth. “The parade proceeded east on Dewey, through the entire downtown, turned south to Lee at Oak, and thence west again out of the city.”
Other members without instruments carried signs bearing slogans. “‘Here Yesterday, Here Forever,’ ‘70,000 of Us in Oklahoma,’ ‘One Language for Americans,’ ‘No Hyphenated Americans,’ ‘Protect Our Public Schools,’ ‘We Are Behind Law-Enforcing Officers,’ ‘Lawbreakers Get Out,’ ‘You Can’t Fool Us,’ ‘Separation of Church and State,’ ‘We are in Every Walk of Life,’ ‘We are Pledged to Law and Order,’ ‘Law Abiding N-- Need Not Fear Us,’ ‘We Believe in Free Public Schools,’ ‘America for Americans, ‘Keep the Church Out of Politics.’”
The crowd and the Klan remained silent for nearly the whole program. The crowd would cheer or applaud “when they saw a banner which pleased them.”
More on Sapulpa’s Klan: To the white community, the Klan appeared to make efforts to help the town, its businesses and organizations, and its people. Ads were published in the Sapulpa Herald; bribery was the main reason for such ads - the Klan members would slip money in secret to the offices.
On one such occasion, two members of KKK, dressed in their white regalia, made an appearance at the Herald office, presenting 3 envelopes of money to the clerks. One envelope went to a former Sapulpan in need of help, one envelope to William E. Day (Principal of Booker T. Washington School), and the last envelope to another unknown Sapulpan. The money was accompanied by a letter addressed to the Herald: “It is our purpose to aid and assist, whoever and whenever possible, those persons who are worthy, regardless of race or color. Signed, Sapulpa Klan No. 106 (or 100), Realm of Oklahoma.” The Klan gave money for charity; but gave it to the papers first to get the publicity and to hide their own true biasness.
The Herald wrote an editorial about the Klan extolling their virtues. In 1922, Oklahoma City had started a women’s chapter called Cu Clux Clan; Sapulpa had a chapter called White American Protestants (W.A.P.) Study Club. The editorial stated that there were no objectionable features visible in their platforms. It mainly leaned toward law enforcement and white supremacy. Furthermore, it stated that if the Klan wanted to persecute the colored, then they would have during the previous year - this may have been referencing the Tulsa Race Massacre. With both female and male organizations keeping watch on the law enforcers, the law breakers better be on guard. “The eyes of the Ku Klux Klan and the Cu Clux Clan are upon all. It behooves the criminal element to beware.”
In 1923, the Oklahoma Legislature passed an anti-mask bill aimed at curbing Klan violence. Governor Walton wanted to diminish the Klan organization. Sapulpa made national news for the cross erected by the Ku Klux Klan in the northern section of the city. It was erected on North Heights’ Hill (“Klan Hill”), at 40’ tall with 62 bright red light bulbs. Due to the new law, however, members of the community sought to blow up the cross with dynamite. It is unknown who blow up the cross, however. Within a few days, another cross was rebuilt, smaller and without light bulbs.
From 1924 to 1928, the local papers often ran advertisements and editorials for the Klan.
For the Salvation Army: “The Klan asks no questions as to race, creed, or political affiliation, all we ask is the opportunity to serve humanity in the name of the meek and lowly Nazarene.”
For the Young Women’s Christian Association (Y.W.C.A.): “$25 donation from the local Klan to be used to furnish a room for women who were temporarily out of work.” The Klan held a public initiation and barbecue on “Klan Hill” north of Sapulpa.
Arrangements from the local W.A.P. were made for a Mrs. Block for a new washing machine for her business: Mrs. Block stated that she had turned out 8 loads of washing in a week as compared to normally doing five. Additionally, Sapulpa had one of the first known Junior Ku Klux Klan (or “Ku Klux Kiddies”) organization meetings.
Over the rest of the decade, the Klan slowly declined in allegiance and power. Anti-Klan organizations began forming to oppose the reign of the invisible empire. Threats and counter-threats of violence and retaliation became a common occurrence between 1923 and 1926. Internal disputes also weakened the Klan. Charges of greed and graft greatly diminished Klan membership. Nationally, a series of scandals reduced membership to a small core. Despite a brief resurgence of membership in the 1930s, and despite many isolated incidents of Klan activity, the Ku Klux Klan remained weakened and fragmented, having negligible power in Oklahoma since 1928.
(Sapulpa Light, March 8, 1907; Sapulpa Herald: May 1, 1922; June 3, 1922; February 2, 1923; December 26, 1923; August 26-27, 1924; October 9, 1926; October 15, 1926; February 12-16, 1929; December 21, 1961; San Bernardino, Evening Telegram, September 20, 1923; Oklahoma Historical Society; Greenwood Cultural Center; Oklahoma History Center; Tulsa Historical Society)
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Sapulpa High School Baseball Championship Controversy
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, the Sapulpa High School baseball team took their Oklahoma Championship down to Texas and challenged the Texas Champions. The Waxahachie vs Sapulpa three-game series which would determine whether Oklahoma or Texas to be the two-state champion for 1921.
In 1920, the two teams faced off during the two-state competition. The champion was Waxahachie, winning two of the three games. In 1921, the two teams agreed to meet up again for the clash of Oklahoma-Texas games. The agreement was that the first game was to be held in Sapulpa, and the last two games of this series on Waxahachie turf, south of Dallas.
May 19, 1921: Mayor J. Wade Bone issued a proclamation for everyone to take a half holiday for the game opener in Sapulpa. The crowd overflowed the grandstand and bleachers until “hundreds had to stand, dozens of cars were parked inside the grounds, filled with spectators.” Unfortunately, Sapulpa lost the first game, 11-to-9. Then the teams had to travel to Texas to finish the series.
May 23, 1921: “Twenty-five hundred people saw Sapulpa High School and Waxahachie High School play a ragged game of baseball here in Sapulpa, with the Sapulpans taking the long end of a 7-to-4 score.” Sapulpa took the second game, tying the series 1-to-1.
May 24, 1921: The third game went to an extra inning, with the winning scores in the 10th frame. “Sapulpa fans went wild with delight when the word finally came that Coach Virgil Jones’ Sapulpa High School baseball team made themselves the champions of Oklahoma and Texas, by decisively defeating the fast Waxahachie team by a score of 4 to 2.” Sapulpa scored two in the extra inning, declaring them champs. Sapulpa was the Southwestern Champion.
May 25, 1921: Although the newspapers never explained why, but another agreement for an exhibition was scheduled for the Sapulpa team on their way back from Texas. It is unclear if this game had already been planned, or if this was spontaneous agreement between each team. The Sapulpa newspapers had already claimed Sapulpa as State Champs prior to this game. “The Sapulpa champions play Wetumka today in an exhibition game and will arrive home this evening.”
The team arrived in Wetumka ready for the match. An eye witness stated, “in the first half of the initial inning it looked as if the game would be all Sapulpa. The boys from Creek County hammering in four runs, one of which was a homer. Then the Wetumka pitcher tightened and most of the Sapulpa bats went out by the strikeout.”
The witness further stated that he was not from Wetumka, but had traveled a great distance to watch a “good, clean game of ball between teams fairly evenly matched.”
“Along about the fourth or fifth inning, the Wetumka squad fell on the Sapulpa pitcher…” and hit-after-hit, run-after-run, the Wetumka players began pulling away.
And then, the game abruptly ended in the fifth inning.
“Jones called his men off the field.” The witness stated that the crowd became anxious and excited. Due to overcrowding, the stands did not occomederate for such a large crowd, and many spectators were along the sidelines. “A few who crossed the line immediately recrossed it.”
Later that night, when the team arrived home, Jones and the Sapulpa team told tales of the crowd mobbing the diamond, interfering with the game. “The crowd rushed onto the field when Wetumka made two [more] hits in the fifth inning. Jones, completely disgusted, declared he would forfeit the game, and started to leave the field.”
Jones was fuming, and had also declared that bats were stolen from their dugout. Jones told Sapulpa papers and Tulsa papers “a wild mob of 500 to attack a team of high school players, hurling vile epithets, bricks and other missilen at them.”
Jones would also describe that “the Wetumka militia was out in uniform. One of them put the bayonet of his gun against his stomach, and threatened to kill him.” Jones stood firm and declared, “‘You haven’t got the nerve to use it, you tin soldier. You see, I’ve got on an American Legion button. Where’s yours?’”
The team was able to get back to their hotel, and the boys locked themselves away in their rooms, barricading the doors with furniture, Jones described. “Jones then made a speech to the mob from the hotel balcony and said he would concede the state championship if they would only let his team get out of town.”
The eye witness did not describe the aftermath, but had added his two-cents. When Jones called his men off the field to protest the overcrowding, “no kind of persuading could induce him to send them back. His excuse was that the crowd overran the diamond…the way it looked to an outsider, Coach Jones, after winning the class A state championship of Oklahoma and then defeating the Texas state champions, could not bear the thought of seeing his banner trailing in the dust at the hands of a class B team.” The eye witness wanted an outsider perspective to be heard.
When the team made home safely that night, banquets and parades were waiting for the team that had just defeated Texas. The city welcomed the team home, but were also introduced to the horrific tales of the Wetumka game. “For this reason, the entire city feels that the Sapulpa team was in no way to blame for the Wetumka outrage.”
Sapulpa, Drumright, and Tulsa papers were the first to publish the incident that occured in Wetumka, taking Sapulpa’s side. The towns agreed that Wetumka’s baseball team needed to be “barred for several years to come.”
Wetumka, Okemah, and Weleetka papers responded to the allegations. In each town’s paper, the headline included the statements that “Sapulpa forfeits to Wetumka,” and had lost their championship title. In each paper, Wetumka witnesses replied “both sides of the controversy have appeared in the city dailies.”
Furthermore, “we regret very much that his happened and that the game was not finished. However, we do not feel that we are responsible for the unsportsmanlike conduct of the Sapulpa coach.” The town agreed that the coach “called his team from the field, after Wetumka had started a rally which seemed impossible to stop.”
Wetumka stated what they witnessed as the downward spiral of the state champions. “This was too much for Coach Jones who called his team from the field, claiming that his men were unable to play on account of the large crowd…”
Okemah papers seemed to be more neutral in their storytelling, however. “Wetumka wins ball game and bad reputation.” Jones had also explained that they had simply stopped by for an exhibition, but Wetumka advertised it as the state championship affray. “‘I explained as a class A team, we were not mingling with class B clubs in championship tilts, but we started the game anyhow.”
It further stated that in the fifth inning, one of Wetumka’s singles reached the outfield and the ball was lost in the crowd. This resulted in a two-run score. These are the two runs that upset Jones the most. Jones told the umpire to get the crowd off the field and they would resume play. Umpire Lucas stated that he couldn’t get them off, and if Sapulpa doesn’t return, they forfeit the game*.
*Note: the eye witness stated that Sapulpa had 4 runs to Wetumka’s 9 (when Coach Jones forfeited). Okemah’s papers stated when the umpire declared the forfeit, the score was 0-to-9.
Tulsa papers would later retell the story in a more neutral tone. However, for the next week, Sapulpa papers would print their dislike of the Wetumka baseball team.
It is unknown if the allegations were true, nor if there was any reprimanding for each team. The incident slipped out of the news by the end of the second week. It is also unknown if Sapulpa kept their title or due to the forfeit, Wetumka did.
That game would be known as the “Wetumka Affair.”
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – The Beginning of Sapulpa Auxiliary Police
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, the Sapulpa Auxiliary Police would be formed. The “primary purpose of the organization is to provide a policing group in case of emergency, such as possible bomb attacks here or on Tulsa, tornadoes, large-scale fires, or other disaster cases.” The discussion had begun back in March of 1955, but it would officially be formed this week in May 1955.
On May 15th and 16th, 1955, it was decided that the police auxiliary would be under the direction of the civil defense organizations, and would operate on a city, county, and state level. Furthermore, it would be governed by three board members appointed by the mayor of Sapulpa. The mayor at the time was Mayor Fred Cowden, from 1954 to 1956.
The announcement was made that the membership for the auxiliary police is a voluntary position. Additionally, the organization would be systematized on a “semi-military basis, with both a direct line authority and a distinct, specialized staff group.”
With Woody Cooper, a teacher and coach at Sapulpa High School, as the first Commanding Officer. Over the next month, volunteer applicants were screened, accepted, and assigned. “More than 60 Sapulpans registered to take an active part in the newly formed Sapulpa Auxiliary Police force,” announced by Police Chief R.C. Bradford.
Members of the new unit and their office follows: Bob Vaughn (Executive Officer); Jim Sarver (Adjutant); John McCrory (Medics); LeRoy Adams and Ed Coplin (Supply); Hobart Robertson, Sr. and Walt Kyser (Director of Operations); Merle McPherson, Bud Collins, Kenneth Bristow, James Skaggs, and Jack Doudican (Communications); Bill Gierhard and Max Batchelder (Public Relations); Charles Rupert (Office of the Chief of Police).
For Company A: Bob Powers (CO); J.R. Warfield (2nd Lt); W.B. Mullins (1st Sgt). And for Company B: Allen Wallace (CO); Olen D. Jones (1st Lt); W.T. Moore (2nd Lt); J.L. Rush (1st Sgt).
Unassigned personnel were: Bill Owens, George Montgomery, Melvin Roberts, Robert Stroup, Clarence Asher, Benjamin Smith, Roy Rainwater, Albert Bradley, Jr., Ed Wells, Ira Hardee, Pat Bradley, C.W. Hampton, Robert Stewart, L.D. Beebe, H.C. Walker, Leonard Garner, C.H. Ashton, Thomas Herzer, B.J. Turley, Bob Lucas, Wesley Smith, B.F. Wooden, Jr., Bob Bassinger, Bob Jones, Leo Blake, Earnest Crabtree, James Greenwood, Jimmy Green, Kenneth Harrison, Rex Claude Maples, Fred Phillips, and Dick McCaig.
Additionally, “each member may buy a regulation uniform which runs around $15*. This includes khaki trousers, green shirt, officers type cap, tie, belt, patches, and rank.” By July 1955, the members of the Sapulpa Auxiliary Police would order their badges for the newly organized task force.
*Note: $15 in 1955 would be roughly $160 in today’s money.
“They may be called to duty at any time of the day or night to function directly, as a unit, or to take the place of regular officers in their normal duty, so as to relieve them for emergency work, whatever the case may be.” The Sapulpa Auxiliary Police also was subject to the office of civil defense, the chief of police of Sapulpa, and the sheriff of Creek County.
Overall, the volunteers were not assigned sidearms, necessarily. “Wearing of sidearms will be permitted when on a specific duty and assignment with another law agency or when so directed by the commander.” Rules and regulations were enforced and monitored.
As with every new organization, there were bumps in the road ahead as the year went on, and meetings were held to correct any potholes in the organization. One of these meetings was held on December 29th, 1955. Dissension among the ranks in the Sapulpa Auxiliary Police was high during the meeting at the Court House. Several members and ex-members of the Auxiliary voiced complaints, questions, and concerns that they thought they were under the County, instead of City control.
John S. Egan, head of both City and County Civil Defense, stated that the organization recited the City Ordinance before they were sworn in. The volunteer members, however, were under the impression that it was part of the overall Civil Defense, and that memberships had dropped drastically because it was for the City only.
However, until this meeting, no complaints had reached Egan’s office. Arguments began in the meeting, igniting other topics of discussion. “At one point in the meeting, Egan offered to step aside as Civil Defense Director of either the County or City or both. ‘This thing is too important to be botched up because of possible personal differences.’”
One volunteer officer had resigned due to not being allowed to carry a sidearm. “Member wanted to carry a gun with his uniform at a football game, and had resigned when he was not permitted.” The resigned-member had stated “‘I haven’t any gripe. I just think we shouldn’t wear uniforms and stick our necks out without guns.*’”
*Note: the original decision back in May about sidearms was upheld.
The sheriff stepped in stating, “‘I am satisfied with the setup as it is now. I can call the group through channels or by calling them individually as deputies.’” Other city authorities such as the mayor and city manager agreed that the Sapulpa Auxiliary Police has been very impactful and necessary.
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Cleaning Out Crooked Creek County
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
This week in Sapulpa history, the mayor had to address the problems growing in the town. Mayor Whedon B. Stone had a tough road ahead of him due to the liquor, bootlegging, gambling, and prostitution in city limits. The clean out of “crooked” Creek County began in 1916.
On May 9th, 1916, Mayor Stone listened to a case in court about a married man named Mr. Harry Webber, who lived at the Lee Hotel at 106 E Lee, who became involved with prostitutes in Sapulpa. The man was charged with lewd conduct and associating with lewd women. The mayor “made his plea for greater decency and self control. ‘This thing has been called a necessary evil, but I want to tell you that the madams of these houses and other people who have brought me reliable information to the effect that it is not the single men supporting these evil houses, but the married men.’”
The mayor was further surprised that “four-fifths of the revenues of these places is contributed by married men who have wives and children at home.”
The man in court pleaded guilty, but the mayor did not want to sentence him to jail; however, the mayor only fined him so it’ll make him a better man for his wife and children. The man stated, “I intend to support my children.” The mayor then fined him $100*.
*Note: in 1916, $100 was around $2,500 in today’s money.
Before Mayor Stone took office earlier that year, the Sapulpa Herald had the podium to discuss the issues in Sapulpa. The Herald ran an article, back in February 1916, about how Creek County had more licensed liquor joints than any other county in Oklahoma.
The month of January 1916 showed sixteen licenses issued in Creek County. Five were in Sapulpa, seven in Drumright, two in Shamrock, one in Kiefer, and one in Oilton. The licenses had to be Federal Liquor Licenses since Oklahoma state did not issue licenses for it was a dry state. With the use of Federal licenses, it kept some bootleggers from getting into trouble. However, this did not stop the Herald from publishing liquor holders’ names of Creek County.
The names from this article from Sapulpa were: John Gorman at 28 N Main, Ed Hayes at the upstairs room of 102 N Main, William Hedden at 8 N Water, Elam Gray at the Lee Ave Cafe of 108 E Lee, William Weaver at the Turner Building of 9 N Water, and Elmer Payne just outside Sapulpa city limits.
The article further mentions what happens at each location. “In Sapulpa, John Gorman heads the list for the old Blue Goose Cafe which has had more continuous history of booze dispensing than any other building in town unless it is the Ripley [Hotel]. Ed Hayes also takes out one for upstairs, a good stand, judging by those who go in and out and where at least two of the necessary evils are supposed to be in full blast. William Hedden appears for the license for the Booth building which probably means the drug store? William Weaver, brother-in-law to Hedden has a license for the Turner building but (and this is the sad, sad part*) he can’t use anymore because the owner of the building got wise and won’t let him. Unfortunately these licenses are not transferable and can’t be used.”
*Note the sarcasm by the Sapulpa Herald.
The Sapulpa Herald had more to say in the upcoming election for city officials. The campaign for the election was becoming hot and heavy in March 1916. The Herald ran their article about how it wishes to have reform in the city. The reform ticket held Whedon B. Stone for mayor. The other local newspaper, Sapulpa Argus, was supporting the current mayor Mr. Sandy J. Smith.
The reform candidates won the election. The Herald was pleased with the results that “clean men were elected” and that “with an organization superior to that even of the bootleggers, the good citizens and taxpayers of Sapulpa went to the polls and registered their protest against the kind of government Sapulpa had had for the last four years. It elected to office three clean men who will do their duty and give Sapulpa two years, at least, of a clean business administration.” The new City Administration was sworn in: Mayor W.B. Stone, Public Affairs Officer W.S. Brown, and Head of Finance Don McMasters.
Right away, Mayor Stone began working on the vices of town. Mayor Stone was in favor of an ordinance making a curfew for young men joy riding around town with young ladies after nine o’clock without written consent of the lady’s parents. He stated that more girls were going to be destroyed by the automobile route than in any other way.
A case of smallpox had broken out, too, during the cleanup of Sapulpa. Smallpox hit the town with twelve patients being quarantined in the Lee Building*. A report in early May 1916, stated that the smallpox spread due to the “booze joints, gambling rooms, and everything from the cellar to the garrett.” One report stated that a man jumped out of a back window in order to get away when police began investigating the gambling hideouts.
*The Lee Building, Lee Ave Cafe, and Lee Hotel were all the same building at 100-106 E Lee Ave, the same building now is the Sapulpa Historical Museum.
The new administration cracked down on the liquor, gambling, and prostitution. Mayor Stone had been in office for only one month. Then Mayor Stone was hit by a taxi cab on S Main and was killed.
A little over a year later, Mayor J. Wade Bone learned that the War Department had sent a secret service agent to Sapulpa to investigate vice within town. A letter was sent to the mayor on the investigation. The agent said that he found that liquor, gambling, and prostitutes were easily obtained in all five of our leading hotels*.
*It didn’t mention which hotels, but based on “five leading hotels,” it is safe to assume at least: St James Hotel ( 26 S Main), France Hotel (221 E Hobson), Norwood Hotel (107 E Hobson), Sapulpa Hotel (25 S Main), and the last one could be Cacy Hotel (18 N Maple) or Lee Hotel (106 E Lee).
The letter stated that any bellhop or porter could provide you with a prostitute any time of the day or night. Liquor could be had at $10 a quart and gambling of some kind was found in every hotel in town. The letter continued to discuss what happens to the military men. “Venereal disease disables more men than any other factor with which the surgeon general of the army has to deal with in this country.” The city, in order to comply with the letter, planned to round up the prostitutes and hold a detention camp.
City Commissioner Fred Fowler had a special meeting with every police officer in town. Both he and Chief of Police John Willard said to “raid, raid, raid and be on his toes or give up his badge.” A temporary place to house the women was to be the women’s restroom at the Court House. It was thought it could hold a dozen women.
Most women had already left town ahead of the raids.
Many tales of the crimes of early day Sapulpa still are told and wondered about if they were real stories or just wild imaginations and exaggerations…
Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – Two Nights of Tornadoes, Back-to-Back
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
The National Weather Services defines a tornado as “a violently rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm down to the ground. Tornadoes are capable of completely destroying well-made structures, uprooting trees, and hurling objects through the air like deadly missiles. Tornadoes can occur at any time of day or night and at any time of the year.”
Oklahoma, and other Central Plains areas, know all too well about tornadoes. Many of us have witnessed these storms first hand; and some of us have witnessed multiple tornadoes in one night. This week in history, Sapulpans witnessed two cyclones within two nights in May 1960.
Wednesday, May 4, 1960 (Morning): “Scattered showers and thunderstorms and cooler weather in forecast for this area Wednesday night and Thursday…The weather bureau warned of severe thunderstorms producing tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds.”
(Evening): A small tornado hit the southeast part of Sapulpa Wednesday evening. The damage was in the area of the 1200, 1300, and 1400 blocks of East Lincoln, McKinley, Fairview, Bryan, and Cleveland. Several homes were damaged and trees were uprooted. Only one person was injured that night.
It was reported that no one in Sapulpa had seen the funnel, but a small twister-like winds caused hefty damages. “Only one-storm connected injury was reported; this being a broken arm sustained by a Sapulpa man who slipped on his front porch as he raced into his home at the height of the storm.”
The Keeton family had planned to move to their new home in the coming weeks. However, due to the late night tornado, the move became immediate. “The A.L. Keeton family was planning to move to 201 East Murphy from their rented home at 1021 East Bryan, but expected to be moving today. Their furniture is water soaked…” He and his family went to a nearby cellar, taking refuge as the storm hit at 9:30 that evening.
Thursday, May 5, 1960 (Morning): “Tornadoes ripped across all of Oklahoma last night in a skipping fashion and tornado-like winds dipped across a part of Sapulpa, demolishing one house, damaging another, and inflicting considerable damage to other homes in its path.”
(Evening): A similar situation occurred in the direct opposite area of the previous night. Another tornado hit the northwest part of town at 6:30 that evening. “The tornado ripped through the northwest part of town, crossing the Sapulpa Golf Course and traveling up U.S. 66 to Wickham Packing Co. and then jumped back to the housing area. The path of the storm then is near the Turnpike entrance and continues northeastward, with a large number of homes on the Sand Springs Highway destroyed.”
The storm destroyed hundreds of homes, killing three people, and injuring dozens. In an unofficial estimate, 100 homes were completely destroyed, and another 100 homes had severe damages; and at least another 100 homes with minor damages.
Lee Birmingham, Lillie Wright, and George Thomas were listed as the three victims of the tornado*.
*Note: the original report named a Mr. George Thomas, however, it was discovered that the deceased was a Mrs. Ora Thomas.
The City declared this section of Sapulpa a disaster area, and condoned onlookers, sightseers from trespassing the heavily damaged area. “Organized search parties including Highway Patrol, Civil Defense Auxiliary police, National Guard” and aids from Salvation Army and the Red Cross would arrive Friday morning.
Friday, May 6, 1960 (Morning): “An ugly, death-bearing tornado leaped from the skies…The cold, gray light of dawn Friday signaled the start of a search through the mass of rubble and mud for five persons unaccounted for. As late as 1PM Friday, reports were received that a fourth fatality had been recorded here, but this is not confirmed officially.”
(Afternoon): The City Manager, Add Ellyson, reported that the storms had knocked out all the power lines at the pump station, keeping the city from either pumping water from lakes or filtering the water. By the end of the day power and water should’ve been restored to most of Sapulpa.
Another loss to the city of Sapulpa were the two buildings of Booker T. Washington High School and Mount Olive Baptist Church. “Noel Vaughn, Superintendent of Schools, said that Booker T. Washington School was a total loss, and students there would start attending classes in the new high school on Monday.” It was estimated at the time the school damages would be over one-hundred thousand in damages.
The Aftermath (May through September, 1960): The School Board, Superintendent, teachers and staff, and students had to readjust after the devastating loss of the school. The City also had to find relief, and a way to support its citizens.
(City): Still by May 8th, little to no water was restored. The restriction of the disaster area had been lifted at that point, however. The treatment plant’s large motors that ran the pumps were being dried out in hopes that they could be put back into operation.
“Gov. Howard Edmondson inspected the storm by plane and declared Sapulpa to be a disaster area. Steps are being taken to compute the loss and applications will be made to the federal government for assistance.”
A little over a week later, on May 16th, the City Manager reported that the city had applied for $70,000 in Federal Funds for repair to various facilities the city owned. The worst was the pump house at the water treatment plant; it would need to be replaced. Other damages included all electrical lines were down at the plant, 225 bags of chemicals ruined, the filter plant cracked, and other miscellaneous items.
At the city park, damages to the ballpark, the golf pro’s building, and the swinging bridges were destroyed. Over 250 trees were also down in the park. By September, the City began remodeling the old swimming pool bath house for the golf pro shop.
June 6th, 1960, the City received notice that the Federal Government had rejected the request for funds in Oklahoma from the May tornadoes. Senator Robert Kerr asked the government to reconsider the proposal again. In early August, the City received word that the Federal Government had approved $14,000 for the building of a new pump house at the water treatment plant.
“Recent storm damage to public owned property in Oklahoma has been estimated at $736, 696.29, likely reaching $900,000; with Creek County’s loss being set at $73,500, not including damage to Booker T. Washington High School.” A later report was stated that the city would rebuild Booker T. Washington with the estimated cost of $100,000.
(Booker T. Washington High School): The School Board held an emergency meeting to discuss the rebuilding of Booker T. Washington School. Noel Vaughn thought the gymnasium and ten classrooms could be salvaged.
“The new high school is all set to receive Booker T. Washington students who will be housed there beginning Monday. Noel Vaughn said about 90% of the desks have been salvaged and taken to the new high school. Many school books were destroyed and students in some classes will have to share their books. Nearly all library books at Booker T. Washington School were lost. The Home Economics room was the hardest hit at the school.”
In the meantime, all students from all grades would have school in the new high school. Since Sapulpa schools were still separate schools, Booker T. Washington School students would be the only students in the new school. Then graduation began to change the Sapulpa school system.
The following couple of weeks, both Sapulpa High School and Booker T. Washington High School had to prepare for graduation. Sapulpa High held graduation exercises in the evenings; the Baccalaureate on May 22, and the Commencement on May 23. Booker T. Washington High held graduation exercises before and after the other school’s programs; the Baccalaurate on the afternoon of May 22, and the Commencement on the evening of May 24.
Both graduations held their graduations at the new high school auditorium.
After this school year, the agreement was that once a new Booker T. Washington School building was rebuilt, students from grade one to nine would return to Booker T. Washington School. The high school students, however, would remain at the new high school.
This would begin the process of integration of all students in Sapulpa schools for the next couple of decades.
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.