Tulsa, Oklahoma, Misc. – Route 66

Today I am driving on to Oklahoma City. I’ve been in Tulsa for the past four days. There are a couple things I did not cover in previous posts that may be of some interest to some of you.

Below is the Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa. Concerts of all types are held here throughout the year. The Green is across the street from the Woody Guthrie Center, which I did not have a chance to get to. It was advertised as being mostly a repository for his archives with some personal mementos on display. In that same block was a modern art museum and the downtown satellite of the Philbrook Museum, which I did go see. The entire area is being developed as the Brady Arts District. There are a few restaurants and bars popping up in the area and obvious new construction of apartment/condo buildings. Entire streets were torn up so I had trouble getting around and loss of parking was an issue so I didn’t stay in that area long.

The Gilcrease Museum had a special exhibit entitled Bob Dylan: Face Value and Beyond. It was displaying some of his artwork but it was also helping to advertise the fact that all of Bob Dylan’s archives are coming to Tulsa and will be contained in an area in the Brady Arts District near the Woody Guthrie Center. It will take awhile for all this to develop but in a couple of years this area should be THE place to go to study the development of folk music in the United States.

[And just because I can’t help passing on history I learn in my wanderings but had never been taught in school]. The Brady Arts District is next to and part of the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa. Before 1921 this area was the most affluent African-American neighborhood in the United States. But in 1921 there was a very violent race riot in which white Tulsa residents came into the Greenwood area and destroyed 35 blocks of Greenwood over an incident in which a black teen male was accused of attacking a white teenage female. The losses included: 191 businesses, a junior high school, several churches, the only black hospital in the area, 1256 homes burned and 215 homes were looted. Ten thousand people, mostly black were left homeless. Many of the prosperous, professional African-American families left the area. Loss of life estimates range so dramatically I won’t even put in a number here. No one talked about the incident after it occurred, the community cleaned itself up and moved on. Seventy-five years later Oklahoma legislators finally established the Tulsa Race Massacre Commission to investigate. Findings were issued, recommendations were made, an urban park was developed with a monument to Reconciliation and a street in the area was named Reconciliation.

As I was leaving Tulsa I made an attempt to locate a few of the roadside attractions from Route 66 going through Tulsa.