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City of Tulsa
—  City  —


Nickname(s): Oil Capital of the World, T-Town, The 918
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Coordinates: 36°07′53″N 95°56′14″W / 36.13139°N 95.93722°W / 36.13139; -95.93722Coordinates: 36°07′53″N 95°56′14″W / 36.13139°N 95.93722°W / 36.13139; -95.93722
Country United States
State Oklahoma
Counties Osage, Rogers, Tulsa, Wagoner
 - Type Mayor-Council
 - Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr. (R)
 - City 186.8 sq mi (483.8 km2)
 - Land 182.7 sq mi (473.1 km2)
 - Water 4.2 sq mi (10.9 km2)
Elevation 722 ft (194 m)
Population (2007)
 - City 385,635
 Density 2,152.0/sq mi (819.91/km2)
 Metro 916,079
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 918
FIPS code 40-75000[1]
GNIS feature ID 1100962[2]

Tulsa (pronounced /ˈtʌlsə/) is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With an estimated population of 385,635 in 2008,[3] it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 916,079 residents[4] projected to reach one million between 2010 and 2012.[5] In 2008, the Tulsa-Bartlesville Combined Statistical Area had a population of 966,531 residents.[6] The city serves as the county seat of Tulsa County, the most densely populated county in Oklahoma,[7] and extends into Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner counties.[3]

Tulsa was first settled in the 1830s by the Lachapoka Band of Creek Native American tribe. In 1921, it was the site of the infamous Tulsa Race Riot, one of the largest and most destructive acts of racial violence in the history of the United States.[8] For most of the 20th century, the city held the nickname "Oil Capital of the World" and played a major role as one of the most important hubs for the American oil industry.[9] Tulsa, along with several other cities, claims to be the birthplace of U.S. Route 66. Tulsa is also known for its Western Swing music.[10]

Once heavily dependent on the oil industry, economic downturn and subsequent diversification efforts created an economic base in the energy, finance, aviation, telecommunications and technology sectors.[11] The Tulsa Port of Catoosa, at the head of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, is the most inland river port in the U.S. with access to international waterways.[12][13] Two institutions of higher education within the city operate at the NCAA Division I level, Oral Roberts University and the University of Tulsa.

Located in Tornado Alley, the city frequently experiences severe weather. It is situated on the Arkansas River at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeast Oklahoma, a region of the state known as "Green Country." Considered the cultural and arts center of Oklahoma,[14][15] Tulsa houses two world-renowned art museums, full-time professional opera and ballet companies, and one of the nation's largest concentrations of art deco architecture.[16] The city has been called one of America's most livable large cities by Partners for Livable Communities,[17] Forbes,[18] and Relocate America.[19] People from Tulsa are called "Tulsans."



The Meadow Gold sign greeted Route 66 travelers in Tulsa for decades.

What was ultimately to become Tulsa was originally part of Indian Territory and was first settled by the Lochapoka and Creek tribes in 1836.[20] They established a home under a large oak tree at the present day intersection of Cheyenne Avenue and 18th Street, and named their new settlement "Tallasi", meaning "old town" in the Creek language, which later became "Tulsa".[20] On January 18, 1898, Tulsa was officially incorporated and elected its first mayor, Edward Calkins.[21]

A small town near the banks of the Arkansas River in 1901, Tulsa's first oil well, named Sue Bland No. 1,[21] was established that year. By 1905, the discovery of the large Glenn Pool nearby (site of the present day town of Glenpool) prompted a rush of entrepreneurs to the area's growing number of oil fields; Tulsa's population swelled to over 140,000 between 1901 and 1930.[22] By 1909, seven years after the discovery of oil in the area, Tulsa's population had sprouted to 18,000. Known as the "Oil Capital of the World" for most of the 20th century, the city's success in the energy industry prompted construction booms in the popular Art Deco style of the time.[9] Profits from the oil industry continued through the Great Depression, helping the city's economy fare better than most in the United States during the 1930s.[23]

Cain's Ballroom came to be known as the "Carnegie Hall of Western Swing"[10] in the early 20th century.

In the early 20th century, Tulsa was home to the "Black Wall Street," one of the most prosperous African American communities in the United States at the time.[8] Located in the Greenwood neighborhood, it was the site of the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the nation's costliest acts of racial violence and civil disorder.[8] Sixteen hours of rioting on May 31 and June 1, 1921 resulted in over 800 people admitted to local hospitals with injuries, an estimated 10,000 left homeless, 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences destroyed by fire, and $1.8 million in property damage.[8] Twenty-three black and 16 white citizens were reported killed, but estimates suggest as many as 300, mostly blacks, died.[8]

In 1925, Tulsa businessman Cyrus Avery, known as the "Father of Route 66,"[24] began his campaign to create a road linking Chicago to California by establishing the U.S. Highway 66 Association in Tulsa, earning the city the nickname the "Birthplace of Route 66."[citation needed] Once completed, U.S. Route 66 took an important role in Tulsa's development as the city served as a popular rest stop for travelers, who were greeted by Route 66 icons such as the Meadow Gold Sign and the Blue Whale of Catoosa. During this period, Bob Wills and his group The Texas Playboys began their long performing stint at a small ballroom in downtown Tulsa. In 1935, Cain's Ballroom became the base for the group,[10] which is largely credited for creating Western Swing music. The venue continued to attract famous musicians through its history, and is still in operation today.[10] For the remainder of the mid-20th century, a master plan called for the construction of parks, churches, museums, rose gardens, improved infrastructure, and increased national advertising.[9] The Spavinaw Dam, built during this era to accommodate the city's water needs, was considered one of the largest public works projects of the era.[25] In the 1950s, Time magazine dubbed Tulsa "America's Most Beautiful City."[9]

A national recession greatly affected the city's economy in 1982, as areas of Texas and Oklahoma heavily dependent on oil witnessed a freefall in gas prices and a mass exodus of oil industries.[26] Tulsa, heavily dependent on the oil industry, was one of the hardest hit cities by the fall of oil prices.[26] By 1992, the state's economy had fully recovered,[26] but leaders would attempt to expand into sectors unrelated to oil and energy.

In 2003, the "Vision 2025" program was approved by voters with the purpose of enhancing and revitalizing Tulsa's infrastructure and tourism industry. The keystone project of the initiative, the BOK Center, was designed to be a home for the city's minor league hockey and arena football teams, as well as a venue for major concerts and conventions. The multi-purpose arena, designed by famed architect Cesar Pelli, broke ground in 2005[27] and was opened on August 30, 2008.[28]

A 1909 panoramic view of Tulsa.

Law and government

The Tulsa City Hall serves as the base for most city government functions.

A mayor-council government has been in place in Tulsa since 1989 when the city converted from a city commission government deemed wasteful and less efficient.[29] Since the change, Tulsa mayors have been given more power in accordance with a strong mayoral system and have greater control of a more consolidated array of governmental branches.[29] Plurality voting is used to elect mayors, who serve a term in office of four years. The present mayor of Tulsa is Republican Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr. who won the 2009 election and took office on December 7, 2009.[30] Another notable Tulsa political figure, Jim Inhofe, who now represents Oklahoma in the United States Senate, served as the mayor of Tulsa early in his political career.[31]

A city councilor from each of the city's nine council districts is elected every two years, each serving a term of two years. Councilors are elected from their own respective districts based on a plurality voting system, and serve on the Tulsa City Council. Roscoe Turner of District Three currently serves as the council chairman along with Vice Chairman John Eagleton of District Seven. As a whole, the council acts as the legislative body of city government, which aims to pass laws, approve the city budget, and manage efficiency in city government. In accordance with the mayor-council form of government, the Tulsa City Council and the office of the Mayor coordinate in city government operations. A third body of the government, the city auditor, is elected independently of the city council and mayor to ensure that the auditor can act in an objective manner. The auditor is elected for a term of two years.[29] Phil Wood, a Democrat, held the position for 21 years before being defeated by Republican Preston Doerflinger in the 2009 election.[32] The city serves as the seat of county government for Tulsa County, and lies mostly within Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, with its far northwestern areas in southern Osage County in Oklahoma's 3rd congressional district.

Municipal and State laws are enforced in Tulsa by the Tulsa Police Department, an organization of about 770 officers as of 2006.[33] In 2004, Tulsa's crime rate was 7806.1 per 100,000 people, about 1.5 times the national average.[34] There were 58 murders, 1096 robberies, and 6,592 burglaries in 2004.[34]

Sister cities

In accordance with the Tulsa Global Alliance, which operates in conjunction with Sister Cities International, an organization that began under President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Tulsa has been given eight international sister cities in an attempt to foster cross-cultural understanding:[35]


The Tulsa skyline as viewed from Turkey Mountain.

Tulsa is located in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma, 99 miles (159 km) northeast of Oklahoma City; situated between the edge of the Great Plains and the foot of the Ozark Mountains in a generally forested region of rolling hills. The city touches the eastern extent of the Cross Timbers, an ecoregion of forest and prairie transitioning from the drier plains of the west to the wetter forests of the east.[37] With a wetter climate than points westward, Tulsa serves as a gateway to "Green Country", a popular and official designation for northeast Oklahoma that stems from the region's green vegetation and relatively high amount of hills and lakes compared to central and western areas of Oklahoma,[38] which lie largely in the drier Great Plains region of the Central United States. Northeastern Oklahoma is the most topographically diverse part of the state, containing seven of Oklahoma's 11 eco-regions[39] and more than half of its state parks.[40] The region encompasses 30 lakes or reservoirs[41] and borders the neighboring states of Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. The geographic coordinates of the city of Tulsa are 36°7′53″N 95°56′14″W / 36.13139°N 95.93722°W / 36.13139; -95.93722 (36.131294, -95.937332),[42] with an elevation of 213 meters (700 ft) above sea level.


As seen from space, most of Tulsa lies east of the Arkansas River.

The city is split by the prominent Arkansas River, which flows in a wide, sandy-bottomed channel. Its flow through the Tulsa area is controlled by upstream flood control reservoirs, but its width and depth can vary widely throughout the year, such as during periods of high rainfall or severe drought. However, a low-water dam maintains a full channel at all times in the area adjacent to downtown Tulsa. This portion of the river is known as Zink Lake.[43] Heavily wooded and with abundant parks and water areas, the city holds several prominent hills with names such as "Shadow Mountain" and "Turkey Mountain", which create varied terrain, especially in its southern portions. While its central and northern sections are generally flat to gently undulating, the Osage Hills extension into the northwestern part of the city further varies the landscape. Holmes Peak, the proposed future site of The American monument in the northwest corner of the city, is the tallest point in five counties at 1030 ft (314 m).[44] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 483.9 square kilometers (186.8 sq mi). 473.1 square kilometers (182.6 sq mi) of it is land and 10.9 square kilometers (4.2 sq mi) of it (2.24%) is water.


Tulsa is situated near the heart of Tornado Alley and has a temperate climate of the subtropical variety with a yearly average temperature of 61 °F (16 °C) and an average rainfall of 39 in (99 cm).[45][46] As is typical of temperate zones, weather patterns vary by season with occasional extremes in temperature and rainfall.[47]

Lightning over downtown Tulsa is common in the spring months.

Primarily in the spring and early summer months, the city is subjected to severe thunderstorms containing large hail, damaging winds, and, occasionally, tornadoes,[47] providing the area with a disproportionate share of its annual rainfall.[46] Severe weather is not limited, though, to this season; on December 5, 1975, and on December 24, 1982, for example, Tulsa experienced tornadoes.[47] Due to its potential for major flooding events, the city has developed one of the most extensive flood control systems in the nation.[48] A comprehensive flood management plan was developed in 1984 following a severe flood caused by a stalled weather front that dropped 15 inches (380 mm) of rain overnight, killing 14, injuring 288, and destroying 7,000 buildings totaling $180 million in damage.[48] In the early 1990s[48] and again in 2000,[49] the Federal Emergency Management Agency honored Tulsa as leading the nation in flood plain management.

Temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F) or higher are sometimes observed from July to early September,[50] usually accompanied by high humidity brought in by southerly winds.[47] Lack of air circulation due to heat and humidity during the summer months leads to higher concentrations of ozone, prompting the city to release "Ozone Alerts", encouraging all parties to do their part in complying with the Clean Air Act and United States Environmental Protection Agency standards.[51] The autumn season is usually short, consisting of pleasant, sunny days followed by cool nights.[50] Winter temperatures, while generally mild, occasionally experience extremes below -20 °C (0 °F) while annual snowfall averages about 9 inches.[45]

Climate data for Tulsa, OK
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 47
Average low °F (°C) 26
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.60
Snowfall inches (mm) 3.3
Source: The Weather Channel [52] January 2010
Source #2: Weatherbase[53] April 2007



The Philtower, built in the art deco style, is surrounded by contemporary office buildings.

A building boom in the early 20th century gave Tulsa one of the largest concentrations of art deco architecture in the United States.[54] Most commonly in the zigzag and streamline styles,[23] the city's art deco is dotted throughout its older neighborhoods, primarily in downtown and midtown. A collection of large art deco structures such as the Mid-Continent Tower, the Boston Avenue Methodist Church, and the Philtower, have attracted events promoting preservation and architectural interest. In 2001, Tulsa served as the host city for the International Art Deco Congress, a semiannual event designed to promote art deco architecture internationally.[55] Building booms in the 1970s and 80s gave the city a larger base of contemporary architectural styles. The BOK Tower, built during this period, is the tallest building in Oklahoma and the surrounding states of Missouri, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Kansas.[56] Tulsa also has the second-, third-, and fourth-tallest buildings in the state, including the Cityplex Tower, which is located apart from the city's central business district.[57] One of the area's unique architectural complexes, Oral Roberts University, is built in a Post-Modern Futuristic style, incorporating bright gold structures with sharp, jetting edges and clear geometric shapes. The BOK Center, Tulsa's new arena, incorporates many of the city's most prominent themes, including Native American, art deco, and contemporary architectural styles.[58] Intended to be an architectural icon,[59] the building was designed by César Pelli, the architect of the famous Petronas Towers in Malaysia.


Downtown Tulsa is an area of approximately 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) surrounded by an inner-dispersal loop created by Interstate 244, Highway 64, and Highway 75.[60] The area serves as Tulsa's financial and business district, and is the topic of a large initiative to draw tourism, which includes plans to capitalize on the area's historic architecture.[61] Much of Tulsa's convention space is located in downtown, such as the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and the Tulsa Convention Center, and the BOK Center. Prominent downtown sub-districts include the Blue Dome District, the Brady Arts district, and the Greenwood Historical District, the site of ONEOK Field, a new baseball stadium for the Tulsa Drillers, now under construction with a scheduled opening in 2010.[62][63][64]

The Arkansas River marks the division between West Tulsa and other regions of the city.

The city's historical residential core lies in an area known as Midtown, containing upscale neighborhoods built in the early 1900s with architecture ranging from art deco to Greek Revival. The University of Tulsa, the Swan Lake neighborhood, Philbrook Museum, and the upscale shopping districts of Utica Square, Cherry Street, and Brookside are located in this region. A large portion of the city's southern half was developed since the 1970s, containing low density housing and retail developments. This region, marked by secluded homes and suburban neighborhoods, contains one of the state's largest shopping malls, Woodland Hills Mall, as well as Southern Hills Country Club and Oral Roberts University. East of Highway 169, a diverse racial makeup marks the eastern portions of the city, with large Asian and Mexican communities and much of the city's manufacturing industry.

Areas of Tulsa west of the Arkansas River are called West Tulsa, and are marked by large parks, wilderness reserves, and large oil refineries. The northern tier of the city is home to a large percentage of Tulsa's African-American community. Included in the region is OSU-Tulsa, the Gilcrease Museum, the Tulsa International Airport, the Tulsa Zoo, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, and the nation's third-largest municipal park, Mohawk Park.[65]


The BOK Tower serves as the world headquarters for Williams Companies.
River developments such as the "Riverwalk Crossing" stem from recent economic initiatives.

Though the oil industry has historically dominated Tulsa's economy, efforts in economic diversification have created a base in the sectors of aerospace, finance, technology, telecommunications, high tech, and manufacturing.[11] The Tulsa International Airport (TUL) and the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, the nation's most inland seaport, connect the region with international trade and transportation. An American Airlines maintenance base at Tulsa International Airport is the city's largest employer and the largest maintenance facility in the world, serving as the airline's global maintenance and engineering headquarters,[66] while the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and the Tulsa International Airport house extensive industrial parks.[67][68]

Products from Tulsa manufacturers account for about 60% of Oklahoma's exports,[69] and in 2001, the city's total gross product was in the top one-third of metropolitan areas, states, and countries, with more than $29 billion in total goods, growing at a rate of $250 million each year.[70] In 2006, Forbes magazine rated Tulsa as second in the nation in income growth, and one of the best cities in the country to do business with.[71] Usually among the lowest in the nation in terms of cost of doing business, the Tulsa Metropolitan Area in 2005 was rated among the five lowest metropolitan areas in the United States for that category.[72]

A number of large financial corporations are headquartered in Tulsa, the largest being the BOK Financial Corporation. The semi-national convenience store chain QuikTrip, the national car rental companies of Vanguard (parent to National and Alamo) and Dollar-Thrifty, and Mazzio's semi-national pizza chain also call Tulsa home. Many international oil and gas-related companies have headquarters in Tulsa, including Williams Companies, SemGroup, Syntroleum, ONEOK, Samson and Excel Energy. Meanwhile, there are 30 companies in Tulsa that employ more than 1,000 people,[73] though small businesses make up more than 80% of the city's companies.[74]

Tulsa also has a IC Bus Factory

During a national recession from 2001 to 2003, the city lost 28,000 jobs.[69] In response, a development initiative, Vision 2025, promised to incite economic growth and recreate lost jobs. Projects spurred by the initiative promised urban revitalization, infrastructure improvement, tourism development, riverfront retail development, and further diversification of the economy. As of 2007, employment levels have surpassed pre-recession heights[69][75] and the city is in a significant economic development and investment surge.[76]


The McFarlin Library serves the University of Tulsa campus.

There are three primary public school districts in the city of Tulsa. Tulsa Public Schools, with nine high schools and over 41,000 students, is the 2nd largest school district in Oklahoma[77] and includes Booker T. Washington High School, a magnet school judged to be the 65th best high school in the United States by Newsweek Magazine in 2008.[78] Each with one upper high school, Jenks and Union schools are the city's two other primary districts, covering the southern portion of the city near the towns of Jenks and Broken Arrow. In 2006, there were more than 90,000 students attending Tulsa County's public schools.[79] The Catholic Diocese of Tulsa supports a system of parochial and diocesan schools, including Bishop Kelley High School. Another Catholic high school, Cascia Hall Preparatory School, is administered by Augustinians.[80] Most other private schools have religious affiliations with various Jewish and Protestant denominations, including Holland Hall School, affiliated with the Episcopal Church.

The largest library system in the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, the Tulsa City-County Library, contains over 1.7 million volumes in 25 library facilities.[81] The library is active in the community, holding events and programs at most branches, including free computer classes, children's storytimes, business and job assistance, and scholarly databases with information on a variety of topics.[79] The McFarlin Library at the University of Tulsa is a federal depository library holding over three million items.[82] Founded in 1930, the library is known for its collection of Native American works and the original works of Irish author James Joyce.[82] The Tulsa City-County Library and the University of Tulsa's Law Library are also federal depository libraries, making Tulsa the only city in Oklahoma with more than two federal depository libraries.[83]

Higher education

The Graduate Center houses Oral Roberts University's graduate college.

Tulsa has 15 institutions of higher education, including two private universities: the University of Tulsa, a school founded in 1894; and Oral Roberts University, a school founded by evangelist Oral Roberts in 1963. Tulsa also has a Tulsa branch of Langston University, the only HBCU in the state founded in 1897. The University of Tulsa has an enrollment of 4,192 undergraduate and graduate students[84] and is ranked 83rd among national doctoral universities in U.S. News and World Report's 2009 edition of America's Best Colleges and among the best 123 Western Colleges by the Princeton Review in 2007, which also ranks it in the top ten schools nationally for quality of life, overall happiness of students, and relationship with the community.[85] Oral Roberts University, a charismatic Christian institution with an enrollment of 5,109 undergraduate and graduate students,[86] was rated in 2007 by the Princeton Review one of the 123 best in the Western United States and among the West's top 50 Master's Universities by U.S. News and World Report in 2005.[87]

Rogers State University is the Tulsa area's only public four-year university, though Tulsa Community College has a partnership allowing students to complete four-year Bachelor's degrees through OU-Tulsa, OSU-Tulsa, LU-Tulsa and NSU-Broken Arrow.[88] The largest community college in Oklahoma, Tulsa Community College (TCC) operates four campuses spread across the area as well as a conference center in Midtown.[89] Oklahoma State University houses three campuses in the city, the OSU Center for Health Sciences, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, and OSU - Tulsa, accommodating upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses. The University of Oklahoma operates what is known as the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center, offering bachelors, master's and doctoral degree programs in conjunction with the main campus in Norman and the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. The OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center also houses the OU College of Medicine, Tulsa. The Spartan School of Aeronautics enrolls 1,500 students at its flight programs near Tulsa International Airport[90] and the city's vocational education is headed by Tulsa Technology Center, the oldest and largest vocational technology institution in the state.[91]


The Philbrook Museum, a former oil baron's estate, features extensive gardens and artwork.

Though Oklahoma is placed entirely in the Southern United States by the United States Census Bureau,[92] Tulsa is influenced by the nearby Midwest, Southwest, and Southern cultural regions, as well as a historical native American presence. These influences are expressed in the city's museums, cultural centers, performing arts venues, ethnic festivals, park systems, zoos, wildlife preserves, and large and growing collections of public sculptures, monuments, and artwork.[93]

Arts and theatre

Located in the former estate of oil pioneer Waite Phillips, Philbrook Museum is considered one of the top 50 fine art museums in the United States, and is one of five to offer a combination of historic home, gardens, and art collections.[94] The collections of Thomas Gilcrease are housed at the Gilcrease Museum, which also holds the world's largest, most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West.[95] With remnants of the Holocaust and artifacts relevant to Judaism in Oklahoma, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art preserves the largest collection of Judaica in the Southwest United States.[96] Other museums, such as the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Tulsa Geosciences Center, document histories of the region, while the Greenwood Cultural Center preserves the culture of the city's African American heritage, housing a collection of artifacts and photography that document the history of the Black Wall Street prior to the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.

Cyrus Dallin's Appeal to the Great Spirit in Woodward Park.

Since 1969, public displays of artwork in Tulsa have been funded by one percent of its annual city budget.[93] Each year, a sculpture from a local artist is installed along the Arkansas River trail system, while other sculptures stand at local parks, such as an enlarged version of Cyrus Dallin's Appeal to the Great Spirit sculpture at Woodward Park.[93] At the entrance to Oral Roberts University stands a large statue of praying hands, which, at 60 feet (18 m) high, is the largest bronze sculpture in the world.[97] As a testament to the city's oil heritage, the 76-foot (23 m) Golden Driller guards the front entrance to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds.

The iconic Golden Driller, built in 1953 for the 1966 International Petroleum Expo,[98] now stands at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds.

Tulsa contains several permanent dance, theater, and concert groups, including the Tulsa Ballet, the Tulsa Opera, the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra, Light Opera Oklahoma, Tulsa Signature Symphony, the Heller Theatre, American Theatre Company, which is a member of the Theatre Communications Group and Oklahoma's oldest resident professional theatre, and Theatre Tulsa, the oldest continuously operating community theatre company west of the Mississippi River.[99] Tulsa also houses the Tulsa Spotlight Theater, which shows the longest-running play in America (The Drunkard) every Saturday night. Large performing arts complexes include the Tulsa Convention Center, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Expo Square Pavilion, the Mabee Center, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center for Education, and the River Parks Amphitheater and Tulsa's largest venue, the BOK Center. Ten miles west of the city, an outdoor amphitheater called "Discoveryland!" holds the official title of the world performance headquarters for the musical Oklahoma!,[100] while Cain's Ballroom, considered the birthplace of Western Swing,[101] housed the performance headquarters of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys during the 1930s. The centerpiece of the downtown Brady Arts District, the Brady Theater, is the largest of the city's five operating performing arts venues that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[102] The city's film community hosts annual festivals such as the Tulsa United Film Festival and Tulsa Overground Film and Music Festival. The Blue Dome District is home to the annual Diversafest (DFest), an annual live event that showcases independent and emerging artists. Attendance at DFest in 2008 surpassed 60,000 people for the two days. DFest takes place in the last weekend of July.

Outdoor recreation

The City of Tulsa manages 140 parks spread over 6,000 acres (24 km²).[103] Most notably, Woodward Park, a 45-acre (180,000 m2) tract located in midtown Tulsa, doubles as a botanical gardens featuring the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden and more than 6,000 rose plants in 250 varieties.[104] Along the Arkansas River, a linear park system runs through more than 10 miles (16 km) of shore with 20 miles (32 km) of hard-surfaced biking and running trails.[105]

The river parks trail system traverses the banks of the Arkansas River.

An additional 30 miles (48 km) of unpaved trails run through Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area at the summit of Turkey Mountain featuring hiking, biking, horseback riding, and vistas overlooking downtown Tulsa.[106] The city's zoo, the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, was voted "America's Favorite Zoo" in 2005 by Microsoft Game Studios in connection with a national promotion of its Zoo Tycoon 2 computer game.[107] Doubling as a museum that documents the cultures and history of various climates in North America, the zoo encompasses a total of 78 acres (320,000 m2) with approximately 1,500 animals and 436 species.[108] The zoo is located in Mohawk Park, the third largest municipal park in the United States.[65][109]

Tulsa's River Parks contain many monuments and attractions, such as these fountains.

On the west bank of the Arkansas River in the suburb of Jenks, the Oklahoma Aquarium is the state’s only freestanding aquarium, containing over 200 exhibits, including a shark tank.[110]

The Tulsa State Fair, operating in late September and early October, attracts over one million people during its 10 day run,[111] and the city's Oktoberfest celebration was named one of the top 10 in the world by USA Today and one of the top German food festivals in the nation by Bon Appetit magazine.[112] The annual Mayfest arts and crafts festival entertained more than 375,000 people in its four day run in downtown during 2007.[113] On a smaller scale, the city hosts block parties during a city-wide "Block Party Day" each year, with festivals varying in size throughout city neighborhoods.[114] Tulsa has one major amusement park attraction, Big Splash Water Park, featuring multi-story water slides and large wave pools. Until 2006, the city also hosted Bell's Amusement Park, which closed after Tulsa County officials declined to renew its lease agreement.[115]


The centerpiece of the Vision 2025 projects, the BOK Center, opened in August 2008.

Tulsa supports a wide array of sports at the professional and collegiate levels. Currently, the city hosts two NCAA Division I colleges and five professional, minor league sports teams, playing in basketball, arena football, baseball, hockey, and soccer.[116] Beginning in 2010, Tulsa will host the Tulsa Shock in the WNBA; the team had previously played in the Detroit area as the Detroit Shock.[117] The city also contains one of the nation's top rated golf courses, Southern Hills Country Club, which is one of two courses that have hosted seven majors: four PGA Championships and three U.S. Opens, the most recent in 2007.[118] The course has held five amateur championships[118] and from 2001 to 2008 the LPGA had a regular tour stop, most recently known as the SemGroup Championship at Cedar Ridge Country Club.[119] The 18,000-seat BOK Center is the centerpiece of the Vision 2025 projects and was completed in August 2008. The BOK Center had the top ten ticket sales in the world for the first quarter of 2009. It is also the home for the city's minor league hockey and arena football teams,[120] and will also host the new WNBA team.[117] Until its last season in 1984, the city hosted the Tulsa Roughnecks, which played in the now-defunct North American Soccer League. Also in 1984, the city hosted the Oklahoma Outlaws for a single season, which belonged to the now-defunct United States Football League.[121]

Tulsa has two universities that compete at the NCAA Division I level: the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane, and the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles. The University of Tulsa's basketball program has reached the Sweet Sixteen three times, made an appearance in the Elite Eight in 2000, won the NIT championship in 1981 and 2001, and won the inaugural College Basketball Invitational in 2008.[122][123] Sixteen bowl games have been played by the school in football, including the Sugar Bowl (twice) and the Orange Bowl.[124] Oral Roberts University's basketball team reached the Elite Eight in 1974 and won the Mid-Continent Conference title three straight years, from 2005 to 2007.[125] At the secondary level, the Tulsa area is home to several high school athletic programs that are frequently ranked among the best nationally.[126]

In 2008 Tulsa funded 39.2 million to build a new ballpark for their minor league baseball team, Tulsa Drillers. The ground breaking was held on December 19, 2008. ONEOK bought the naming rights for 10 million for the next 25 years. ONEOK field is built in downtown and is set to open at the start of the 2010 season.

The city's running and cycling communities support events such as the Tulsa Tough cycling race, the Route 66 Marathon,[127] and the Tulsa Run, which features over 8000 participants annually.[128] Gambling is supported by a community of Indian gaming venues that have been allowed to expand gambling options. In 2005, compacts between the state and various tribes allowed facilities to offer table card games and slot machines.[129] Another popular gambling draw, Horse racing events are housed by the Fair Meadows Race Track and Will Rogers Downs in nearby Claremore.

The University of Tulsa football team competes at the NCAA Division 1 level.
Club Sport League Stadium
Tulsa Shock (from 2010) Basketball WNBA BOK Center
Tulsa Golden Hurricane Various NCAA Division I Various, including Chapman Stadium (football) and Reynolds Center (basketball)
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Various NCAA Division I Various, including Mabee Center (basketball)
Tulsa Drillers Baseball Texas League ONEOK Field
Tulsa Oilers Ice Hockey Central Hockey League BOK Center
Tulsa Talons Arena Football AFL BOK Center
Tulsa 66ers Basketball NBADL Tulsa Convention Center
Tulsa Revolution[116] Soccer NPSL Soccer City Indoor Sports Complex


Tulsa is known as a "Buckle of the Bible Belt" due to a large presence of Christian beliefs and establishments, such as Oral Roberts University and its symbolic Prayer Tower.
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 1,390
1910 18,182 1,208.1%
1920 72,075 296.4%
1930 141,258 96.0%
1940 142,157 0.6%
1950 182,740 28.5%
1960 261,685 43.2%
1970 331,638 26.7%
1980 360,919 8.8%
1990 367,302 1.8%
2000 393,049 7.0%
Est. 2007 384,037 −2.3%

As of the census[1] of 2006, there were 382,872 people, 165,743 households, and 99,114 families residing in the city, with a population density of 830.9/km² (2,152.0/sq mi). There were 179,405 housing units at an average density of 982.3/sq mi (379.2/km²). Of 165,743 households, 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. Of all households, 33.9% are made up of only one person, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 people and the average family size was 2.98.[131]

In the city proper, the age distribution was 24.8% of the population under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older, while the median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males, while for every 100 females over the age of 17 there were 90.4 males. The median income for a household in the city was $35,316, and the median income for a family was $44,518. Males had a median income of $32,779 versus $25,587 for females, and the per capita income for the city was $21,534. About 10.9% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.5% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over. In 2006, the racial makeup of the city was 70.09% white, 15.47% African American, 4.72% Native American, 1.82% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.45% from other races, and 4.40% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race formed at least 7.15% of the population with possibly more unregistered persons living within the city.

Religiously, Tulsa is overwhelmingly Protestant.[132] The city is located in a geographic strip of high church attendance and widespread beliefs in biblical Christianity often called the "Bible Belt", and its history as a hub for televangelists such as Oral Roberts along with a predominance of Christian beliefs and values often lead Tulsa to be considered the "buckle of the Bible Belt."[133][134] In 2000, the metropolitan area of Tulsa had 364,533 Protestant Christians, including 166,550 Southern Baptists and 78,221 Methodists.[132] Meanwhile, the area had 43,854 Catholics, 2,650 Jews, 2,200 Muslims, and 1,590 Unitarian-Universalists,[132] which includes the largest Unitarian Universalist one-church congregation in the world.[135]

Metropolitan area

The Tulsa MSA's location (red) in the state of Oklahoma with the Tulsa-Bartlesville CSA (pink)

The Tulsa Metropolitan Area, or the region immediately surrounding Tulsa with strong social and economic ties to the city,[136] occupies a large portion of the state's northeastern quadrant. It is informally known as "Green Country", a name derived from the state's official tourism designation for all of northeastern Oklahoma, though its usage in relation to the Tulsa Metropolitan Area can be traced to the early part of the 20th century.[137]

The United States Census Bureau defines the sphere of the city's influence as the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), spanning seven counties: Tulsa, Rogers, Osage, Wagoner, Okmulgee, Pawnee, and Creek. The 2007 US Census Estimate shows the Tulsa MSA to have 905,755 residents[4] with a population expected to reach one million between 2010 and 2012.[5] The Tulsa-Bartlesville Combined Statistical Area (CSA) is created by adding the nearby Bartlesville, Oklahoma micropolitan area, consisting of Washington County in Northeastern Oklahoma. In 2008, US Census Estimates show the Tulsa-Bartlesville CMSA to have 966,531 residents.[6]


The Tulsa bus network, operating from its main transit center, helps meet city infrastructure needs.

Transportation in Tulsa is aided by Tulsa Transit's bus network of 97 vehicles[138] and two primary airports, while the Tulsa Port of Catoosa provides transportation of goods and industry through international trade routes. Though internal transportation is largely dependent on automobiles, the city is consistently ranked in the five lowest metropolitan areas for average price of gas at the pump.[139] As reported by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in 2005, Tulsa's busiest freeway is US 169 with about 106,000 vehicles daily between 51st and 61st Streets, and its second busiest freeway is Interstate 44 with about 88,000 vehicles between Yale and Sheridan Avenues.[140] Currently, there are no mass transit rail lines in Tulsa, though the prospect of passenger rail lines from downtown Tulsa to the suburb of Broken Arrow is currently being studied.[141] Freight railways bisect the city in every direction, and include BNSF, UP, SK&O, and OSRR rail lines.

One of its four primary care hospitals, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America has its southwest regional facility in Tulsa.

The Tulsa International Airport, home to ten commercial airlines, seven cargo carriers, and several charter airlines, serves more than three million travelers annually with almost 80 departures every day,[68] contributing nearly $3.2 billion to the economy.[68] In 2007, the airport completed most of an expansion project, which included larger terminal sizes and the addition of restaurants and shops.[68] Riverside-Jones airport, a general aviation airport in West Tulsa, saw 235,039 takeoffs and landings in 2006, making it the busiest airport in Oklahoma and seventh busiest in the nation.[142] Its operations contribute over $3.2 million to the economy annually.[142] At the head of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, the Tulsa Port of Catoosa is the most inland ocean-going port in the United States[12][143] and connects barge traffic from Tulsa to the Mississippi River via the Verdigris and Arkansas rivers. The port is one of the largest in the United States[13] and contributes to one of the busiest waterways in the world via its course to the Gulf of Mexico.[144] Long distance passenger rail transportation serves Tulsa only through Greyhound bus lines, which provides bus connections to nearby cities with Amtrak stations.[145]

The Saint Francis Health System owns nine hospitals with a central location at Saint Francis Hospital in the southern part of the city. The facility contains 700 doctors and 918 beds,[146] and with more than 3,000 employees, the network is the second largest healthcare employer in the state.[147] The health system also operates a heart hospital, which was named by General Electric in 2004 one of the most advanced heart hospitals in the nation.[148] St. John Hospital, located in an 11-story midtown center, employs nearly 700 doctors.[149] Other networks, such as Hillcrest Health System, operate a number of facilities in varying sizes. Tulsa is also the site of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America's Southwest Regional Medical Center, one of only four such regional facilities and one of the largest cancer treatment hospitals in the nation.[150] Beginning in 2007, the city elected to renew a five-year contract with EMSA for ambulance service after a period of consideration to switch to the Tulsa Fire Department for providing such services.[151]


The Tulsa World operates primarily from its headquarters in downtown Tulsa.

Tulsa's leading newspaper is the daily Tulsa World, the second most widely circulated newspaper in Oklahoma with a Sunday circulation of 189,789.[152] Urban Tulsa, another large publication, is a weekly newspaper covering entertainment and cultural events. Covering primarily economic events and stocks, the Tulsa Business Journal caters to Tulsa's business sector. Other important publications include, the Oklahoma Indian Times, the Tulsa Daily Commerce and Legal News, the Tulsa Beacon, and the Tulsa Free Press. Until 1992, the Tulsa Tribune served as a daily major newspaper competing with the Tulsa World. The paper was acquired by the Tulsa World that year.[153]

Tulsa is also served by television and radio broadcasting networks. All major U.S. television networks are represented in Tulsa. Cable television service in the area is provided by Cox Communications. As in most major American cities, local radio stations in the Tulsa area are controlled by a small handful of large broadcasting companies. The late famous radio personality Paul Harvey was born in Tulsa and worked at local radio station KVOO in his early career.

Western Swing, a musical genre with roots in Country Music, was made popular at Tulsa's Cain's Ballroom. The Tulsa Sound, a variation of Rockabilly, Blues, and Rock 'n' Roll, was started and largely developed by local musicians J. J. Cale and Leon Russell in the 1960s and 1970s. The Tulsa Sound heavily influenced musician and songwriter Eric Clapton, among others.[154] Musicians from Tulsa or that started their musical careers in Tulsa include Garth Brooks, The Gap Band, Hanson, Caroline's Spine, Ronnie Dunn, Gene Autry, David Gates, Bob Wills,[155] and David Cook.[156]

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  140. ^ "2005 Annual Average Daily Traffic" (PDF). Oklahoma Department of Transportation. 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2006-04-15. 
  141. ^ Barber, Brian (2007-05-01). "Tulsa Commuters: Rail, Buss Mass Transit Studied: Take the BA train". The Tulsa World. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  142. ^ a b "Riverside Jones Airport". Tulsa Airport Authority. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  143. ^ "Live in Tulsa". Tulsa Chamber of Commerce. 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  144. ^ "What's new at the port?". Tulsa Port Authority. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  145. ^ "Amtrak's Thruway Bus Service". Ribbon Rail Productions. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  146. ^ "Saint Francis Hospital". Saint Francis Health System. 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-07. 
  147. ^ "Saint Francis Health System". Health Executive. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  148. ^ "GE Healthcare Announces Preview of Latest Advanced All-Digital Heart Hospital". The Healthcare Sales and Marketing Network. 2007-01-13. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  149. ^ "About St. John". Saint John Healthcare System. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  150. ^ "Southwestern Regional Medical Center". Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  151. ^ Lassek, P.J (2007-01-12). "Tulsa mayor chooses to stick with EMSA". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  152. ^ "2006 Top 100 Daily Newspapers in the U.S. by Circulation" (PDF). BurrellesLuce. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  153. ^ "The Tulsa Tribune". Soylent Communications. 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-07. 
  154. ^ downing, Jim. "Tulsa Rocks Part Two: The Tulsa Sound". Tulsa Today. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  155. ^ "Famous Musicians from Tulsa". Tulsa City-County Library. Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  156. ^ Cary Aspinwall (2008-05-10). "David Cook: Back in Blue Springs". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tulsa [1] is in the Green Country region of Oklahoma. It is also called “T-town” by the locals and has been called the "Oil Capital of the World". The city had about 386,000 people and the metro area had about 916,000 people as of 2008 from the US Census Bureau estimates.


Tulsa lies in northeastern Oklahoma, at the convergence of the Great Plains and the Ozark Plateau, and receives an average of 40 inches of precipitation each year, both of which account for its abundant beautiful rolling green terrain. As a result, Tulsa breaks the Oklahoma stereotype of being nothing but a flat, arid dust bowl. Summers can be very warm and with the cold wind across the plains it can get very cold in the winter, but it does not last long. The winters are considered to be very mild. There is not much snow, just a few inches each year, typically, although in 2007 and again in 2008 there were rather large "ice storms". Tulsa has over 225 days of sunshine annually.

In Tulsa you will find old west charm as well as a cosmopolitan atmosphere. You will find the people of Tulsa love their city and they have that southern charm, so they are willing to help you find your way around. Tulsa has one of the largest concentrations of Art Deco in the nation, having been a booming city during the 1920s when the architecture was first built by rich oil barons who built stately mansions and turned the Downtown area into a treasure trove of art.

  • Tulsa International Airport (IATA: TUL) [2] in the northern part of Tulsa. It has major airlines with direct flights to major cities in the U.S. It is a small but nice airport with sofas and chairs all around and a very laid-back feel. The car rental area and parking is well integrated. The airport offers free short term parking (first half-hour free).
  • Richard L. Jones, Jr. Airport (IATA: RVS) [3] (often called the "Riverside Airport") is south of downtown and is a general aviation airport.

By train

There is no real passenger train service to Tulsa, but there are two Amtrak bus routes into the city [4]. One leaves Kansas City (Missouri) nightly at midnight, the other Oklahoma City nightly at 11PM.

By car

Most Tulsans drive almost everywhere, although bus, bike, and pedestrian routes are starting to catch on.

From the North/Kansas - US-75 South from Bartlesville, OK, or US-169 South from Coffeyville, KS.

From the Northeast/Missouri - I-44 West, aka the "Will Rogers Turnpike." The world's former largest McDonalds spans the roadway near Vinita, OK.

From the East/Arkansas - US-412 West, aka the "Cherokee Turnpike."

From the Southeast/Arkansas - The "Muskogee Turnpike."

From the South - US-75 from Okmulgee, OK, aka the "Okmulgee Beeline."

From the Southwest/Oklahoma City - I-44 East, aka the "Turner Turnpike."

From the West - US-412 East, aka the "Cimarron Turnpike."

For the slow scenic route from Northeast or Southwest come in on old Route 66.

  • Greyhound Bus Lines [5] +1 918 584-4428, 317 S Detroit Ave. (downtown).

Get around

Thanks to urban planning, the major city streets are placed in a grid layout. Almost all major intersections are one mile from each other, and exactly in a straight line. That makes it much easier to find places than in cities where streets go every which way. The major exception is downtown, which is slanted at almost a 45 degree angle to the rest of the grid.

By car

Several freeways and bypasses can be used to easily get around the Tulsa Metro area: I-244, I-44, US 169 (Mingo Valley Expressway, aka "Pearl Harbor Memorial Expressway"), US 75, Hwy 51 (Broken Arrow Expressway), Creek Turnpike.

The streets and avenues are planned on a 1 mile by 1 mile grid system, with the main arterials running on each mile. In the core of the city, named avenues run north/south and are named after US cities, generally in repeating alphabetical order (for example, Winston-Yale-Allegheny-Braden). In the mid-town area the names are taken from colleges and college towns. North/South is divided by Admiral Blvd. Name streets East of Main are cities east of the Mississippi River, vice versa for name streets west of Main. In the parts of the city farther from downtown, north-south streets are numbered. It is important to recognize that the specific format of the north-south numbered street names is North/South 145th East/West Avenue.

Numbered streets run East/West with Main Street and the Arkansas River as the dividing line. Watch out for Place, Street, Avenue designation, e.g. 47th Place, 47th Street, or Florence Place, Florence Avenue. It is important to recognize that the specific format of the east-west numbered street names is West/East 71st Street North/South. In some parts of the city, numbered streets intersect, so the distinction is important. Although rare, one east-west numbered street may even intersect with a street of the same number running north-south.

Downtown streets were originally platted parallel to the Frisco railroad tracks. When Tulsa expanded beyond the bounds of its original plat, the expanded areas were platted in alignment with the points of the compass. Thus the "twisted" area down-town represents the original extent of Tulsa ca 1907.

By bus

Tulsa Transit [6] provides bus service for the Tulsa Metro area. Cities served are Tulsa, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Jenks, and Broken Arrow. The central station is at 319 S. Denver (downtown). They do not run that often, especially to the outer towns like Broken Arrow. Unlike major cities in the Northeast, the city bus is not a major form of transportation in the city. It is usually a means of travel for those who are without their own motor vehicle.


Tulsa has an extensive interconnected paved bike trail system. Rivertrail follows the Arkansas River from downtown Tulsa south to the suburbs. The Katy Trail runs west to Sand Springs. The Osage Trail is a rails-to-trails route that begins at the OSU-Tulsa campus and travels north 15 miles to Skiatook. The Creek Trail connects Rivertrail and continues east through Broken Arrow to the NSU-Broken Arrow campus. Riders accustomed to flat terrain may find Tulsa's rolling land to be a bit more challenging, particularly during the heat of summer. If you are looking for a good workout, the Creek Turnpike Trail follows the land's original contours. Rivertrail is probably be best choice for the rider seeking an easy route.

Four bike loan depots, located along Rivertrail, allow riders to borrow a bike for free for up to twenty-four hours.

Tulsa has an active bicycling community.

Penguin sculpture
Penguin sculpture
  • Creek Council Oak Tree, 18th St. and Cheyenne Ave.. It was under the Creek Council Oak Tree in 1836 that the Lochapoka Creek Indians kindled a ceremonial fire using live coals they had carried from their Alabama homeland. This oak was Tulsa’s first town hall, first conference room, first church and first court of law. This tree symbolizes the spirit of Tulsa's early settlers.  edit
  • Geo Science Center, 8801 S Yale, +1 918-497-5555 (fax: +1 918-497-5557), [7].  edit
  • Gilcrease Museum, 1400 N Gilcrease Museum Rd., +1 918-596-2700, [8]. Daily 10AM-5PM, tours at 11AM and 2PM. One of the world's largest collections of Western and Native American art and artifacts. Free, charge for special exhibitions; donation optional.  edit
  • Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N Greenwood Ave., +1 918-596-1020, [9]. M-Sa 9AM-5PM. Serves to promote the history of Tulsa’s Greenwood District. Was home to one of the worst race riots in American history. Special performances are often held at this center.  edit
  • The Ida Dennie Willis Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys, 627 N Country Club Dr., +1 918-584-6654. W-Sa 11AM-4:30PM. Over 2000 dolls, dollhouses and other miniatures.   edit
  • Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, 111 E 1st St., +1 918-596-1001, [10]. M-F 9AM-5PM. In the beautiful Art Deco-style Union Depot. Donations.  edit
  • Oriental Museum, (on Harvard near 49th St. S). (Closed Indefinitely due to lack of Cultural Awareness)  edit
  • Penguins on Parade. There are dozens of 6' tall penguin sculptures scattered throughout the city. It is a local art project to raise funds for the Tulsa Zoo. (Fundraiser ended a long time ago)  edit
  • The Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S Rockford Rd. (1 block E of Peoria Ave. at 27th Pl.), +1 918 749-7941, [11]. Tu-W, F-Su 10AM-5PM; Th 10AM-8PM. Native American, Renaissance, European, American, African, and Southeast Asian art.  edit
  • Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, 2021 E 71st St, (918) 492-1818, [12]. M-F 10AM-5PM. The largest collection of Judeica in the American Southwest, flagship of The Fenster/Sanditen Cultural Center. As an arts education institution, and the only American Jewish museum in the region, utilizes both art and history to preserve and present Jewish culture. Adults $5.50; Seniors age 55+ $4.50; Student age 6-21 $3; free admission to teachers with school ID.  edit
  • Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 3624 N 74th E Ave., +1 918-834-9900, [13]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM; Su 1PM-5PM.  edit
  • BOK Center, 200 N Denver Ave., +1 918-894-4200, [14]. Tulsa's new sleek, and modern center is the pride of the city. Opened in September 2008, it has already hosted such acts as The Eagles, Celine Dion, Elton John, Billy Joel, and many more are on the way. Starting in summer 2010, the arena will also be the new home of the city's yet-to-be named WNBA (women's basketball) team, which moved from Detroit after the 2009 season. With fine dining nearby and numerous hotels to stay at, this center is the centerpiece of Vision 2025, a plan to revitalize Downtown and certain parts of the city. Depends on act/performance.  edit
  • The Center of the Universe is at the top of a pedestrian bridge in Tulsa. The bridge goes over the railroad tracks from Archer St. to First St., West of the Jazz Depot and immediately north of the Williams Center Tower. If you stand on the opposite side of the brick circle from someone else, you hear their echo, but not your own. If you stand at the center of the brick circle and talk, you will hear yourself echo, but others will not hear any echo.
  • The Expo Building (QuikTrip Center), 4145 E 21st St., [15]. Contains what was once the largest unobstructed indoor area in the world. The "Golden Driller" in front is still pretty impressive. Hosts numerous shows including home and garden shows, boat show, gun and knife shows.  edit
  • Oxley Nature Center, 5701 E 36th St. N, +1 918 669-6644 , [16]. Hidden in the woods behind the Tulsa Zoo. Open almost all year. Has a few different habitats built up, such as a mini-prairie, a marsh with a walkover, ponds, woods, and plenty of opportunity for bird-watching.
  • The Performing Arts Centerlocated Downtown, the "PAC" (pronounced pee-ay-see) shows the annual presenation of the Nutcracker, in addition to various operatic, musical, and dramatic shows throughout the year. Tickets and scheduling available online.
  • River Parks There is a lovely cafe down around 21st and they have live music from time to time when it is warm out. There is a new complex, Riverwalk Crossing at 101st in Riverside. It has a movie theatre and many restaurants, with a wonderful atmosphere.
  • Route 66, 11th St., [17]. Renovated in 2005. The University of Tulsa is located nearby, and Tulsa Promenade mall is 2 mi S of the Expo Square, State Fairgrounds and several hotels, all of which provide shuttle service for shoppers.  edit
  • The Spotlight Theater located on Riverside Drive between 15th and 21st, has shows every Saturday night of "The Drunkard"-America's longest running show-followed by "Olio", an old-fashioned vaudeville affair. Family friendly and very fun, The Drunkard is a must for any Tulsa visit!
  • Tulsa Zoo, 6421 E 36th St. N, +1 918-669-6600, [18]. Daily 9AM-5PM. Has zebras, giraffes, elephants, penguins, and reptiles, in addition to a Children's Zoo, Tropical American Rain Forest, Wildlife Carousel, and Zoo Train. $8/$6/$4/Free (Adults/Seniors 55+/Children 3-11/Children under 3).  edit
  • Woodward Park, (SE corner of 21st and Peoria). See the park in the spring when the roses are blooming in the Tulsa Rose Garden.  edit
  • Blue Dome Arts Festival. Running the same weekend as the critically acclaimed Mayfest. This festival showcases local Tulsa County area artists and lets them show their colors. Parking is limited, so be prepared to walk a few blocks.  edit
  • Conestoga, [19]. Oklahoma's largest literary science fiction and fantasy convention. Late July.
  • Cherry Street Farmer's Market, 15th and Peoria, every Saturday 'til the frost is on the pumpkin from about 7AM-11AM.
  • Mayfest, (In the middle of Downtown Tulsa). 10;00 AM - 5:00 PM. If you're looking for that Unique Gift or piece of art you can't find elsewhere, You won't go away Empty-handed From here. with artists from all over the country, Mayfest is Truly the Cultural Highpoint of Tulsa's Yearly Calendar. (Middle of May, Same as Blue Dome Arts Festival)  edit
  • Oklahoma Scottish Games & Gathering [20], Recently moved to River West Festival Park. It's always the third weekend in September.
  • Tulsa Oktoberfest, [21], which some people say is the largest Oktoberfest in the world outside of Germany.
  • Tulsa State Fair, at the Expo Fairgrounds (near 21st and Yale), [22]. It's the last full week in September. "Funnel cakes" are a tradition.
  • Tulsa Trek Expo, [23]. The largest Star Trek convention in the central U.S.
  • Wanenmacher's Tulsa Arms Show, [24]. The world's largest gun show. Twice a year. April and October.


Tulsa is just about the largest US city that has no major state/public university. There are two 4 year private universities and a plethora of smaller 2 year commuter colleges and limited-degree-option branches of statewide 4 years colleges such as NSU, OU, OSU, etc. There are also truck driving schools, welding schools, a Vo-Tech, and other technical colleges.

Universities in or near Tulsa:

  • Oklahoma State University [25] Tulsa branch
  • Oral Roberts University [26] Tulsa is home to educational complex founded and named in honor of televangelist Oral Roberts. The Cityplex Tower there is the second-largest skyscraper in Oklahoma and the architecture and layout of the campus has somewhat of a resemblance to the Government Buildings in Brasilia.
  • Spartan School of Aeronautics [27]
  • Tulsa Community College [28] (4 campuses)
  • Tulsa Technology Center [29]
  • University of Oklahoma [30] Tulsa branch
  • University of Tulsa [31] Private four year University.
  • Gardner's Used Books, Music & Comics, Inc. Oklahoma's largest used book store [32]
  • Nam Hai Vietnamese Supermarket, 21st and Garnett. Laid out in what resembles an old IGA Store, Nam Hai is the closest you'll come to the marketplaces of Asia in Tulsa, Just look for the lion out front.  edit
  • The Farm, 51st and Sheridan. A farm country-themed shopping center with some of the more unique shops and restaurants in Tulsa County.  edit
  • Utica Square, 21st and Utica (Across from St. John Medical Center). Quite notably the most upper-crust shopping area in the city.  edit
  • The Tulsa Promenade, 4107 S Yale Ave., +1 918-627-9282, [33]. M-Tu 9AM-10PM, W 8AM-6PM, Th: Closed. F 8AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su noon-6PM.. Renovated in 2005. The University of Oklahoma is located nearby, and the mall is approximately 2 miles south of the Expo Square, State Fairgrounds and several hotels, all of which provide shuttle service for shoppers.  edit
  • Woodland Hills Mall, 7021 S Memorial Dr. (corner of 71st St. and S Memorial Dr., less than 2 mi from Hwy 169 and 4 mi from I-44.), (918) 250-1449, [34]. M-Sa 10AM-9PM; Su noon-7PM. 2-level, 1.2 million square-foot, super regional shopping center. The center features more than 165 stores, including over 80 stores you won't find anywhere else in Tulsa. Children's play area, a glass elevator and a food court.  edit


The major dining corridors can be found along 15th Street South ("Cherry Street") near downtown, along 71st Street South near Woodland Hills Mall, in the Brookside district near midtown, the Blue Dome district, and in the Utica Square shopping area.


  • Desi Wok, 3966 S Hudson Ave. (near I-44 and E 41st St.), +1 918-621-6565. Serves both traditional and fusion Indian / Chinese cuisine, Alternate Location in Broken Arrow.  edit
  • Pie Hole, (just west of the 15th and Delaware). New York Style slices at a good price. Amazing specialty pizzas.  edit
  • Rib Crib, 1601 S Harvard (Midtown), +1 918-742-2742, [35]. Remarkably successful joint from midtown. Opened in '92, but has managed to franchise into 8 states. The original location burned down a few years back, but they rebuilt this in its place.  edit
  • Souper Salad, 61st and Memorial (SE corner of the intersection in the shopping center behind Hooters). Not what it used to be.  edit
  • Umberto’s Pizza, 21st and Harvard. Has a "college" atmosphere--not upscale but friendly. Motto: "We toss ‘em, they’re awesome." Consistently voted best pizza in Tulsa.  edit


  • Albert G's, 2748 S Harvard Ave. (Midtown), +1 918-747-4700, [36]. M-S 11AM-9PM. Tasty BBQ run out of an old gas station.  edit
  • Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant, 6634 S Lewis Ave., +1 918-499-1414. Vietnamese and Chinese food made with faux meats and faux fish.  edit
  • Bangkok Thai, 3313 E 32nd Pl., +1 918-663-4880. Thai buffet with lots of vegetarian options.  edit
  • Cosmo Cafe, (on Memorial just N of 71st, across from Woodland Hills Mall). Gourmet sandwiches and salads, very cool place to hang out. Wi-Fi, open floor plan, and decent bar & wine list. Outdoor patio is a great place to relax.  edit
  • Daily Grill, 100 E Second St. (on the main floor of the Downtown Crowne Plaza hotel).  edit
  • The Downtown Buffeteria (formerly Nelson's Buffeteria), 514 S Boston Ave.. Famous for chicken-fried steak.  edit
  • Hideaway Pizza, (2 Locations) 15th and Cherry Street, 51st and Memorial. Since 1957, Possibly Tulsa's Best Pizza!  edit
  • In The Raw, 33rd and Peoria (Brookside) and 61st and Sheridan. Not an Asian person in the joint, but tasty sushi.  edit
  • Legend's BBQ, Memorial (Owasso, N of I-44 at about 27th Street). You won't need the sauce for the pork spareribs.  edit
  • Sushi Train, (SE corner of 51st and Harvard). Closed Sundays.. Toy train delivers sushi.  edit
  • Tulsa's Incredible Pizza Company 8314 E 71st St., +1 918 294-8671, [37]. It has 96,000 square feet and is both a restaurant and amusement park, includes an all-you-can-eat pizza and salad buffet, indoor go-kart races, bumper cars, miniature golf, bowling, and a game arcade.
  • Zio's, 2 or 3 locations across town: 71st and Mingo, 81st and Lewis. Italian restaurant with very good pasta, family oriented  edit


  • Atlantic Sea Grill, 8321 E 61st St. #A, +1 918-252-7966. A can't-miss, upscale, intimate seafood restaurant with great wine list and elegant bar.  edit
  • Atlas Grill, 415 S Boston Ave. #20 (downtown). Great lunch.  edit
  • The Chalkboard, 1324 S Main (in the Hotel Ambassador, just N of 15th). Fantastic bistro cuisine.  edit
  • Elmers BBQ, Peoria and 34th (Brookside). Expertly smoked meat and fabulous BBQ sauce (you can buy in mason jars). Switches between OU/OSU football memorabilia and blues/jazz themes.  edit
  • Flavors, (71st, just W of Sheridan). Excellent chef-owned bistro.  edit
  • India Palace, (Lewis, just N of 71st, buried in a shopping center on the E side of the street). This little hole-in-the-wall is probably Tulsa's best Indian restaurant. Try any of the dishes here, you can't go wrong.  edit
  • Jamil's, 2833 E 51st St., +1 918-742-9097. Tulsa's oldest steakhouse. Known for Lebanese style appetizers (Tabouli, hummus, cabbage rolls, etc.) and desserts, along with traditional steakhouse fare.  edit
  • Jazmo'z Bourbon Street Cafe, 1542 E 15th St, +1-918-583-5555, [38].  edit
  • Lanna Thai, (Memorial, just S of 71st). Thai Food with live band some nights.  edit
  • Mahogany Prime Steakhouse. Some of the largest and best steaks. Very upscale and some of the best food in town. A great place to take an expense account.  edit
  • Palace Cafe, 1301 East 15th Street (Northeast corner of 15th and Peoria), 918-582-4321, [39]. Fine dining restaurant featuring freshly prepared, local cuisine. Lunch Tuesday through Friday 11am-2pm Dinner Tuesday through Saturday 5pm-10pm Sunday Brunch-made to order 9am-2pm  edit
  • The Wild Fork, 21st and Utica (Inside Utica Square Shopping Center). Consistently Rated Tulsa's Best!  edit
  • Arnie's Bar, 318 E 2nd St. (Blue Dome). Tulsa's Irish Bar Since 1956.  edit
  • Crow Creek Tavern, 3534 S. Peoria Avenue. A popular hangout with the biker crowd, look for the motorcycles lined up front.  edit
  • Kilkenny's Irish Pub, 1413 E 15th St (Cherry Street), +1-918-582-8282, [40]. Has a nice selection of beers, nice atmosphere and good food. Pours the best Guinness. A little more upscale than McNellie's.  edit
  • McNellie's Public House, 409 E 1st St (Blue Dome), [41]. An Irish pub with over 60 beers on tap.  edit
  • Mercury Lounge, 1747 S Boston (18th and Boston), [42]. Rockabilly music with a $5 beer and shot special.  edit
  • Cafe Cubana, 1328 E 15th St (Cherry Street).  edit
  • Cafe el Salvador, 115 W 5th St (Downtown), +1-918-592-9090, [43].  edit
  • Coffee House on Cherry Street (Cherry Street), 1502.  edit
  • DoubleShot Coffee Company, 1730 S Boston Ave (18th & Boston), [44]. Local coffee roaster and barista, DoubleShot caters to Tulsa's coffee snobs and neighborhood residents. Be sure to ask the staff about their trips to origin.  edit
  • Gypsy Coffee House & Cyber Cafe, 303 North Cincinnati Avenue (Brady), 295-2181, [45]. 11a-12a. Tulsa only late night coffee house downtown , great desserts and the best espresso.Good deli style food Free wi-fi  edit
  • Kokoa Kabana, 507 S Boston Ave (Downtown), +1 918 592-5656, [46]. M-F 8AM-2PM. Coffee shop associated with Kokoa Chocolatier, offering sandwiches, fine chocolates and espresso drinks.  edit
  • Nordagio's, 8156 S Lewis Ave (South Tulsa), +1-918-296-5288, [47].  edit
  • Shades of Brown, 3302 S Peoria Ave (Brookside), [48]. Su-Th 8AM-11PM F-Sa 8AM-12PM. Offers quality coffee in a friendly environment. They feature local art on display, with a different artist every month. They also have live music in the evenings.  edit
  • Days Inn Central, 4724 S Yale, +1 918 496-9300, Fax: +1 918 495-1760, [49]
  • Howard Johnson Inn, 8525 E. 41st Street, Tulsa, OK 74145, 918-627-0030, [50].  edit
  • Microtel Inn & Suites - Admiral Place, 16518 East Admiral Place, +1 918 234-9100, [51]
  • Microtel Inn & Suites - Expo Center, 4531 East 21st Street, +1 918 858-3775, [52]
  • Super 8 Motel - Downtown, 3211 South 79th East Avenue, +1 918 660-8080,


  • AmeriSuites Tulsa/Hyde Park, 7037 S. Zurich Avenue, +1 918 491-4010, [54].
  • Crowne Plaza Tulsa, +1 866 915-9429, [55]. Adjacent to Williams Towers and the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, and 8 miles from the airport.
  • Doubletree Hotel - Downtown, 616 W 7th Street, +1 918 587-8000, Fax: +1 918 587-1642, [56].
  • Doubletree Hotel - Warren Place, 6110 S Yale, +1 918 495-1000, Fax: +1 918 495-1944, [57].
  • Hawthorn Suites Tulsa, 3509 South 79th East Ave., +1 918 663-3900, [58].
  • Hotel Ambassador, 1324 S. Main Street, +1 918 587-8200, Fax: +1 918 587-8208 [59] also housing the excellent Chalkboard restaurant.
  • The Mayo Hotel, 15 West 5th Street Tulsa, OK 74103, +1 918 582-6296, [60]. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Radisson Hotel, 10918 East 41st Street, +1 918 627-5000, Fax: +1 918 627-4003, [61].
  • Central Library is across the street from Denver Station, the central city bus station. There's usually a few free Internet terminals you can use there or at any of the 24 other public libraries. [62]
  • The tornado sirens are tested at noon on Wednesday, but they are not tested if it is rainy, stormy, or very windy. You might want to check the Tornado safety page if you are visiting Tulsa. Tornado season is normally in the spring and early summer, but they can occur anytime during the year.
  • Swimming in the Arkansas River is inadvisable due to the large amounts of pollution and the currents created by the dams near downtown. (NOT A GOOD IDEA).
  • The Canebrake 40 minutes east off SH51 in Wagoner Fine dining, full bar, daily yoga, spa services, rooms & suites, conference center, ropes course[63]
  • Oklahoma Aquarium Just south of Tulsa in the suburb of Jenks [64]
  • Renaissance Fair In Muskogee. Last of April and first part of May.
  • Rhema Bible Church Christmas Light Tour in Broken Arrow -- free admission.
  • Safari's Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary [65] Located in the suburb of Broken Arrow.
  • Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prarie Preserve 2 hours north of the city, near Pawhuska, You can drive around and spot buffalo and walk 3 miles of prarie trail. It's not on a national park level; there are still oil derricks and some farms in the area, but everyone tries to cooperate. (Note: buffalo are dangerous. Stay alert.)
  • Catoosa is home to the Cherokee Casino Resort, whose operators state that it will be the largest in Oklahoma following the renovations and expansions to be completed in 2009.
  • Claremore, the birthplace and hometown of Will Rogers, is about 30 minutes away. A wonderful museum about Will Rogers is located there.
Routes through Tulsa
Oklahoma CitySapulpa  W noframe E  CatoosaJoplin
Oklahoma CitySapulpa  W noframe E  CatoosaJoplin
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TULSA, a city (and co-extensive township) and the countyseat of Tulsa county, Oklahoma, U.S.A., on the Arkansas river, about 110 m. N.E. of Guthrie. Pop. (1900), 1390; (1907), 7298 (638 negroes); (1910) 18,182. Tulsa is served by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, the St Louis & San Francisco, the Midland Valley, the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, and the Arkansas Valley & Western railways. The city is situated on the old boundary line between Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory, where the boundaries of the Cherokee, Creek and Osage nations intersected. It is on an elevation from the rolling prairie, which commands a fine view over the valley of the Arkansas. Tulsa is the seat of Henry Kendall College (Presbyterian, 1894), removed hither from Muskogee in 1907; it was named in honour of Henry Kendall (1815-1892), who from 1861 until his death was secretary of the board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church. The city is a trading centre for a rich oil, gas and coal region and a grain, cotton and live-stock country. Natural gas is used for manufacturing purposes; among the manufactures are glass and cotton-seed oil products. Tulsa was founded in 1887, was first chartered as a city in 1902, and in 1908 adopted a commission form of government.

Tulsi Das (1532-1623), the greatest and most famous of Hindi poets, was a Sarwariya Brahman, born, according to tradition, in A.D. 1532, during the reign of Humayun, most probably at Rajapur in the Banda District south of the Jumna. His father's name was Atma Ram Sukal Dube; that of his mother is said to have been Hulasi. A legend relates that, having been born under an unlucky conjunction of the stars, he was abandoned in infancy by his parents, and was adopted by a wandering sadhu or ascetic, with whom he visited many holy places in the length and breadth of India; and the story is in part supported by passages in his poems. He studied, apparently after having rejoined his family, at Sukarkhet, a place generally identified with Sorofl in the Etah district of the United Provinces, but more probably the same as Varahakshetra 1 on the Gogra River, 30 m. W. of Ajodhya (Ayodhya). He married in his father's lifetime, and begat a son. His wife's name was Ratnawali, daughter of Dinabandhu Pathak, and his son's Tarak. The latter died at an early age, and Tulsi's wife, who was devoted to the worship of Rama, left her husband and returned to her father's house to occupy herself with religion. Tulsi Das followed her, and endeavoured to induce her to return to him, but in vain; she reproached him (in verses which have been preserved) with want of faith in Rama, and so moved him that he renounced the world, and entered upon an ascetic life, much of which was spent in wandering as a preacher of the necessity of a loving faith in Rama. He first made Ajodhya (the capital of Rama and near the modern Fyzabad) his headquarters, frequently visiting distant places of pilgrimage in different parts of India. During his residence at Ajodhya the Lord Rama is said to have appeared to him in a dream, and to have commanded him to write a Ramayana in the language used by the common people. He began this work in the year 1574, and had finished the third book (Aranya-kand), when differences with the Vairagi Vaishnavas at Ajodhya, to whom he had attached himself, led him to migrate to Benares, where he settled at Asi-ghat. Here he died 1 This is the view of Baijnath Das, author of the best life of Tulsi Das. At Soron there is no tradition connecting it with the poet. Varahakshetra and Sukar-khet have the same meaning (Varaha Sukara, a wild boar).

in 1623, during the reign of the emperor Jahangir, at the great age of 91.

The period of his greatest activity as an author synchronized with the latter half of the reign of Akbar (1556-1605), and the first portion of that of Jahangir, his dated works being as follows: commencement of the Ramayan, 1574; Ram-satsai, 1584; Parbati-mangal, 1586; Ramagya, 1598; Kabitta Ramayan, between 1612 and 1614. A deed of arbitration in his hand, dated 1612, relating to the settlement of a dispute between the sons of a land-owner named Todar, who possessed some villages adjacent to Benares, has been preserved, and is reproduced in facsimile in Dr Grierson's Modern Vernacular Literature of Hindustan, p. 51. Todar (who was not, as formerly supposed, Akbar's finance minister, the celebrated Raja 'radar Mall) was his attached friend, and a beautiful and pathetic poem' by Tulsi on his death is extant. He is said to have been resorted to, as a venerated teacher, by Maharaja Man Singh of Jaipur (d. 1618), his brother Jagat Singh, and other powerful princes; and it appears to be certain that his great fame and influence as a religious leader, which remain pre-eminent to this day, were fully established during his lifetime.

Tulsi's great poem, popularly called Tulsi-krit Ramayan, but named by its author Ram-charit-manas, " the Lake of Rama's deeds," is perhaps better known among Hindus in upper India than the Bible among the rustic population in England. Its verses are everywhere, in this region, popular proverbs; an apt quotation from them by a stranger has an immediate effect in producing interest and confidence in the hearers. As with the Bible and Shakespeare, his phrases have passed into the common speech, and are used by every one (even in Urdu) without being conscious of their origin. Not only are his sayings proverbial: his doctrine actually forms the most powerful religious influence in present-day Hinduism; and, though he founded no school and was never known as a guru or master, but professed himself the humble follower of his teacher, Narhari-Das, 2 from whom as a boy in Sukar-khet he heard the tale of Rama's doings, he is everywhere accepted as an inspired and authoritative guide in religion and conduct of life.

The poem is a rehandling of the great theme of Valmiki, but is in no sense a translation of the Sanskrit epic. The succession of events is of course generally the same, but the treatment is entirely different. The episodes introduced in the course of the story are for the most part dissimilar. Wherever Valmiki has condensed, Tulsi Das has expanded, and wherever the elder poet has lingered longest, there his successor has hastened on most rapidly. It consists of seven books, of which the first two, entitled "Childhood" (Bul-kand) and "Ayodhya" (Ayodhya-kand), make up more than half the work. The second book is that most admired. The tale tells of King Dasarath's court, the birth and boyhood of Rama and his brethren, his marriage with Sita, daughter of Janak king of Bideha, his voluntary exile, the result of Kaikeyi's guile and Dasarath's rash vow, the dwelling together of Rama and Sita in the great central Indian forest, her abduction by Ravan, the expedition to Lanka and the overthrow of the ravisher, and the life at Ajodhya after the return of the reunited pair. It is written in pure Baiswari or Eastern Hindi, in stanzas called chaupais, broken by dohas or couplets, with an occasional soratha and chhand - the latter a hurrying metre of many rhymes and alliterations. Dr Grierson well describes its movement: "As a work of art, it has for European readers prolixities and episodes which grate against occidental tastes, but no one can read it in the original without being impressed by it as the work of a great genius. Its style varies with each subject. There is the deep pathos of the scene in which is described Rama's farewell to his mother: the rugged language depicting the horrors of the battlefield - a torrent of harsh sounds clashing against each other and reverberating from phrase to phrase; and, as occasion requires, a sententious, aphoristic method of narrative, teeming with similes drawn from nature herself, and not from the traditions of the schools. His characters, too, live and move with all the dignity of an heroic age. Each is a real being, with a well-defined personality. Rama, perhaps too perfect to enlist all our sympathies; his impetuous and loving brother Lakshman; the tender, constant Bharat; Sita, the ideal of an Indian wife and mother; Ravan, destined to failure, and fighting with all his demon force against his destiny - the Satan of the epic - all these are characters as lifelike and distinct as any in occidental literature." A manuscript of the Ayodhya-kand, said to be in the poet's own hand, exists at Rajapur in Banda, his reputed birthplace. One of the Bal-kand, dated Sambat 1661, nineteen years before the poet's I See Indian Antiquary, xxii. 272 (1893).

2 Narhari-Das was the sixth in spiritual descent from Ramanand, the founder of popular Vaishnavism in northern India (see article Hindostani Literature).

death, and carefully corrected, it is alleged by Tulsi Das himself, is at Ajodhya. Another autograph is reported to be preserved at Malihabad in the Lucknow district, but has not, so far as known, been seen by a European. Other ancient MSS. are to be found at Benares, and the materials for a correct text of the Ramayan are thus available. Good editions have been published by the Khadga Bilas press at Bankipur (with a valuable life of the poet by Baijnath Das), and by the Nagari Pracharini Sabha at Allahabad (1903). The ordinary bazar copies of the poem, repeatedly reproduced by lithography, teem with interpolations and variations from the poet's language. An excellent translation of the whole into English was made by the late Mr F. S. Growse, of the Indian Civil Service (5th edition, Cawnpore, 1891).

Besides the "Lake of Rama's deeds," Tulsi Das was the author of five longer and six shorter works, most of them dealing with the theme of Rama, his doings, and devotion to him. The former are (I) the Dohabali, consisting of 573 miscellaneous doha and soratha verses; of this there is a duplicate in the Reim-satsai, an arrangement of seven centuries of verses, the great majority of which occur also in the Dohabali and in other works of Tulsi; (2) the Kabitta Ramayan or Kabittabali, which is a history of Rama in the kabitta, ghanakshari, chhappai and sawaiya metres; like the Ram-charitmanas, it is divided into seven kands or cantos, and is devoted to setting forth the majestic side of Rama's character; (3) the GitRamayan, or Gitabali, also in seven kands, aiming at the illustration of the tender aspect of the Lord's life; the metres are adapted for singing; (4) the Krishnawali or Krishna gitabali, a collection of 61 songs in honour of Krishna, in the Kanauji dialect: the authenticity of this is doubtful; and (5) the Binay Pattrika, or "Book of petitions," a series of hymns and prayers of which the first 43 are addressed to the lower gods, forming Rama's court and attendants, and the remainder, Nos. 44 to 279, to Rama himself. Of the smaller compositions the most interesting is the Vairagya Sandipani, or "Kindling of continence," a poem describing the nature and greatness of a holy man, and the true peace to which he attains. This work has been translated by Dr Grierson in the Indian Antiquary, xxii. 198-201.

Tulsi's doctrine is derived from Ramanuja through Ramanand. Like the former, he believes in a supreme personal God, possessing all gracious qualities (saguna), not in the quality-less (nirguna) neuter impersonal Brahman of Sankaracharya; this Lord Himself once took the human form, and became incarnate, for the blessing of mankind, as Rama. The body is therefore to be honoured, not despised. The Lord is to be approached by faith (bhakti) - dis- interested devotion and surrender of self in perfect love, and all actions are to be purified of self-interest in contemplation of Him. "Show love to all creatures, and thou wilt be happy; for when thou lovest all things, thou lovest the Lord, for He is all in all." The soul is from the Lord, and is submitted in this life to the bondage of works (karma); " Mankind, in their obstinacy, keep binding themselves in the net of actions, and though they know and hear of the bliss of those who have faith in the Lord, they attempt not the only means of release. Works are a spider's thread, up and down which she continually travels, and which is never broken; so works lead a soul downwards to the Earth, and upwards to the Lord." The bliss to which the soul attains, by the extinction of desire, in the supreme home, is not absorption in the Lord, but union with Him in abiding individuality. This is emancipation (mukti) from the burthen of birth and rebirth, and the highest happiness.' Tulsi, as a Smarta Vaishnava and a Brahman, venerates the whole Hindu pantheon, and is especially careful to give Siva or Mahadeva, the special deity of the Brahmans, his due, and to point out that there is no inconsistency between devotion to Rama and attachment to Siva (Ramayan, Lankakand, Doha 3). But the practical end of all his writings is to inculcate bhakti addressed to Rama as the great means of salvation - emancipation from the chain of births and deaths - a salvation which is as free and open to men of the lowest caste as to Brahmans.

The best account of Tulsi Das and his works is contained in the papers contributed by Dr Grierson to vol. xxii. of the Indian Antiquary (1893). In Mr Growse's translation of the Ram-charit-Manas will be found the text and translation of the passages in the Bhaktamala of Nabhaji and its commentary, which are the main original authority for the traditions relating to the poet. Nabhaji had himself met Tulsi Das; but the stanza in praise of the poet gives no facts relating to his life.; these are stated in the Oka or gloss of Priya Das, who wrote in A.D. 1712, and much of the material is legendary and untrustworthy. Unfortunately, the biography of the poet, called Gosain-charitra, by Benimadhab Das, who was a personal follower and constant companion of the Master, and died in 1642, has disappeared, and no copy of it is known to exist. In the introduction to the edition of the Ramayan by the Nei gari Pracharini Sabha all the known facts of Tulsi's life are brought together and critically discussed. For an exposition of his religious position, 3 The summary given above is condensed from the translation by Dr Grierson, at pp. 229-236 of the Indian Antiquary, vol. xxii., of the fifth sarga of the Yatsai, in which work Tulsi unfolds his system of doctrine.

and this place in the popular religion of northern India, see Dr Grierson's paper in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, July 1903, PP. 447-4 66. (C. J. L.)

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  1. Second largest city in the state of Oklahoma with a population of 387,807 (887,017 metro).
  2. A county in the state of Oklahoma.


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