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Tulsa Basics


Perched along the banks of the Arkansas River, Tulsa was first settled by Native Americans in 1836 who traveled there by the famous Trail of Tears. Many chose a site underneath an oak tree along the river valley to settle down and named it Tallahassee, meaning “old town,” which was shortened to Tallasi and eventually turned into Tulsa.

Until the 1900s, Tulsa was a crossroads for ranchers, traders and outlaws. Then the city struck liquid gold. Tulsa earned the nickname “Oil Capital of the World” and the city’s oil barons began to build financial empires, and a sophisticated city over the cattle-herding town and the population began to boom.

The wealthy oilmen left visible marks on Tulsa’s history that helped define the city. With their ornate taste, they commissioned building after building built in the 1920s art deco style, leaving Tulsa with one of the nations top five collections of art deco buildings such as the Tulsa Union Depot, the Oklahoma Natural Gas building and the world famous Boston Avenue Methodist Church.

These same oil barons left a passion for the arts behind, marking the city as the center of culture in Oklahoma. Tulsa is home to the Philbrook Museum of Art, ranked among the top 100 art museums in the country, and the Gilcrease Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of art from the American West. The performing arts of the city boasts such a large range of performers, from a world-class ballet to the local opera, that there’s never a lack of shows to see.

The city is constantly renovating, and reinventing itself while holding on to its historic roots. The downtown area is filled with fabulous restaurants such as Lucky’s, an assortment of entertainment that ranges from pubs such as The White Owl to The Cain’s Ballroom concert hall. Tulsa has all the warm and welcoming feel of a small, Old West town with all of the features of a big city.

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