Sapulpa, the heart of Route 66.

Posted on: June 26th, 2008 by Lori Feinman

img_2129.jpgSapulpa is a very close-in suburb of Tulsa, but when you get there it's like you're in another time. It's a classic Main Street community, with shops and cafes along the main drag, which is Route 66. We parked in Sapulpa and opened the car door and we heard... music? We weren't crazy, the Chamber of Commerce pipes music that you can hear all up and down the boulevard. Pretty cool, and really heightened that otherworldly feeling. Our tour guide Janet showed us how this small community is revitalizing their downtown using tax credits and other incentives to encourage investment by current owners as well as new investment in the community. One of the anchors of the street is an apartment for seniors (or, rather, 55 and up, it's debatable whether being 55 should qualify you for senior housing!) in a adaptive use of an office building. You'll get to see one of the sunny, comfortable apartments in the building and hear the building's story.

Another stop is the Sapulpa Historical Society, a surprisingly large museum with all sorts of interesting artifacts, but its strength is its collection of town models. A local resident lovingly recreated Sapulpa in different eras, so you can clearly see the evolution of the town - its growth following the upward trajectory of the oil industry and the railroad.

Look at my pictures to see the cross truss bridge, one of the great icons of Route 66, as well as all the other treasures. The video gives you a funny glimpse at the Sapulpa home of the founders of Frankoma Pottery, designed by Bruce Goff. I am a fan of mid-century architecture, and I love Goff stuff for it's personality and quirkiness. This house shows how he worked closely with the Frank family and used the house to showcase their business (the bricks are pottery) and their style. It by itself - and the tour guide, one of the family's daughters - is worth the trip.

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