Oklahoma Route 66

Tulsa Town

Oklahoma Route 66

Tulsa was founded in 1879 with the establishment of its first post office. The town has deep Native American roots. The Creek Indians from Alabama were relocated here in the 1880s. In fact the town was originally called Tulsey Town for this Indian community. The railroad came to town in 1882 insuring Tulsa's economic growth. I guess the real clincher for an up and coming Oklahoma town was the oil boom brought on by the first commercial well located across the river in Red Fork in 1901.

Tulsa 1896
Tulsa 1896

Tulsa 1909
Tulsa 1909

In 1896 Tulsa was a sleepy frontier town along the Arkansas River. That was about to change. In 1901 oil was discovered here and created a boomtown with many new millionaires. With all the oil money, Tulsa became a town to be reckoned with. Compare the 1896 picture of Main Street Tulsa on the left to the 1909 picture of Main Street on the right. The town had changed in 12 short years! Tulsa now had a reputation to uphold and the building boom that resulted produced some of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco Architecture to be found anywhere in the United States. Art Deco generally comprises the time period between the two World Wars. It is a fanciful style that uses geometric designs and shapes from nature. With Art Deco "line and shape" is everything.


Route 66 Side Trip to Tulsa's Art Deco:


Avery Family Crest

This Was Cyrus' Town

Cyrus Avery is known as the Father of Route 66 and he was instrumental in the routing and naming of this celebrated highway. Because of Cyrus Avery, Route 66 crossed through Oklahoma following the little known "Gold Road" and brought an economic boost to his home state. Tulsa, Oklahoma was Cyrus Avery's hometown. The Avery Family Crest is pictured at left and is one of many fascinating mementos that Joy Avery, Cyrus Avery's granddaughter, showed me when the Route 66 Caravan was in Tulsa.


Cyrus Avery (third from left) with the Ozark Trails highway commission. The Ozark Trail would soon become a part of Route 66.

Cyrus Avery and the Ozark Trail Organization

Joy Avery

Joy Avery: Granddaughter of Cyrus Avery

I had the special honor of spending some time with Joy Avery, Cyrus Avery's granddaughter. She had some pretty interesting stories to tell about her grandfather that makes me realize what a special man he was indeed. Sitting down and talking to Joy makes me feel like I'm surrounded by living breathing Route 66 history and you know what? I was.


The 11th Street Bridge

The famous 11th Street Bridge over the Arkansas River was completed in December 1915. When Route 66 became a reality this was the bridge used to channel a nation on the move west. Tulsa's expansion into the west bank of the Arkansas River was due in large part to this wonderful bridge. The design and detail of the 11th Street bridge is a beautiful example of early Art Deco style. This bridge was used from 1916 through 1972 then it was discontinued when the Interstate bypassed it.

11th Street Bridge in 1915

11th Street Bridge Detail

11th Street Bridge Art Deco Design


Not too long ago the 11th Street Bridge was almost forgotten, but the resurgence of interest in Route 66 has brought about a revival in everything Route 66 and the 11th Street Bridge is no exception.


Forgotten Route 66


Tulsa's Route 66 Harley

Route 66 Harley-Davidson

Larry Wofford is a Tulsa Route 66 hero. He owns the Route 66 Harley Davidson Shop and promotes the Mother Road whenever he can. His store is Route 66 themed all the way. The shop floor is a road map of Route 66 that starts in Chicago and ends in Los Angeles.

Michael Wallis, author of "Route 66 the Mother Road" and a Harley owner himself, is a customer.

"Route 66 goes through eight states but we say it should be nine ~ the ninth being a state of mind!"

Route 66 Harley Art Deco Micheal Wallis and Larry Wofford at Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Tulsa.

Michael Wallis and Larry Wofford


Photographs Taken May, June 2003

Click on an area or city of Route 66 on the map below to take a cyber tour of that section of the  Mother Road

Travel Cyber Route 66 in Oklahoma

Go West on Route 66

NAVIGATION NOTE: Buckle up and hold on to your mouse! These pages are arranged like the map above, from the western state border to the eastern state border. I have set up this site as if you were traveling from EAST to WEST, much like the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath. You can click on the Route 66 shields to "travel" the Mother Road in either direction though. Or you can select any shield below to take you to that specific state.

Go East on Route 66

To Central
OK Route 66

To Catoosa &
the Blue Whale


Select the Route 66 State to Visit



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