Okmulgee: Diverse Cultures/One Community

Posted on: July 1st, 2008 by Farin Salahuddin


img_3980.jpgWhat do you think of when you think of a small town in Oklahoma? Pioneers, American Indians, maybe a general store?  Well, you may find all this and more when you visit Okmulgee.  A town located 40 minutes south of Tulsa and home of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Benefitting from the oil industry, Okmulgee (winner of the 2002 annual Main Street Award) enjoyed prosperity in its past and was host to European settlers, Native Americans and African Americans alike. This rich social tapestry is evidenced through much of Okmulgee's preserved built environment.

img_3978.jpgBegin your history lesson at the Creek Nation Tribal Complex where you will meet a Muscogee Nation Supreme Court Judge.  Move on to the Creek Council House Museum and learn more about the culture of what is referred to as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" that are recognized  by Oklahoma. (The other four tribes are the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Seminole and Choctaw.)

Though there is much to be learned here regarding the relationship between the Native American and Eurpoean settlers, there was a strong African American presence in Okmulgee as well. Visit many of the buildings that were vital to their everyday life and how those buildings endure and function today.

Not only will this Okmulgee tour offer historic reenactments, colorful anecdotes and cultural insight...there will be tasty offerings as well.  Massey's BBQ restaurant is some of the best eatin' I've had in my time in Tulsa. They'll be catering the lunch offered at Okmulgee's first church, The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Notes from New Orleans: Charity Hospital Update

Posted on: July 1st, 2008 by Walter Gallas


Contractors examine the limestone cladding of Charity Hospital.The structural assessment of the Charity Hospital building is proceeding at a steady pace. The study, supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and under the direction of the Foundation for Historic Louisiana, is a response to the call from Louisiana legislators in a resolution passed in 2006. The mandate was unfunded, and the Foundation has been raising the money to ensure that the effort produces an independent report on the condition of this 1939 Art Deco landmark. I had the opportunity last week to visit the hospital site on Thursday. Sandra Stokes of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana and I were able to go up in the lift with one of the contractors to see how the exterior limestone cladding is attached to the building frame. Final results of the study are scheduled for release on August 21.

Contractors examine the limestone cladding of Charity Hospital.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Getting Kicks: Route 66 East to Galena, Kansas

Posted on: June 30th, 2008 by Lori Feinman


Ever see the movie Cars? It's an animated feature film done by the magicians at Pixar Studios, and it rocks Route 66. Everyone considering coming to Tulsa for the conference should go down to your (local, independent) video store and rent it, then sign up for the Route 66 West and Route 66 East field sessions. Because when I rode along last Monday with Kaisa Barthulli, the Park Service's Route 66 Empress (not her real title), I actually met people who inspired the Pixar team and influenced the characters, AND was able to see the real vehicle on which the character of Tow Mater was based (and met the colorful local resident who inspired its personality).

We saw the original roadbed, several excellent bridges, and heard from our tour guide, author of several Route 66 Travel Guides, Jerry McClanahan, the stories of the rise, fall, and resurgence of this only-in-America landscape.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Pillars of Preservation: Oklahoma's Federal Courthouse Buildings

Posted on: June 27th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation



Near the heart of downtown Tulsa sits the Federal Courthouse. Recently renovated, this small town gem has been returned to its former glory. Join Steven Kline, U.S. General Services Administration, and other members of the restoration team to learn about G.S.A.'s committment to reinvesting in downtowns across the United States. Steve will take you through the painstaking process of paint analysis as well as how 21st century security, life safety and technology requirements have been sensitively incorporated. Steve will also discuss the G.S.A.'s "Art in Architecture" program. In addition, there will be an opportunity to learn about other G.S.A. projects across Oklahoma - with your own view from the jury box! Don't miss this opportunity to learn about G.S.A.'s commitment to historic preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

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.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

North Tulsa: Past, Present and Future

Posted on: June 25th, 2008 by Farin Salahuddin


"North Tulsa: Greenwood and Beyond" is an important and interesting tour that explores both the African American and Native American experience in North Tulsa...and how the public institutions established by those communities continue to serve even today.

Begin your tour in the Greenwood Cultural Center and learn about the 1921 race riots which began with a seemingly harmless accident and ended with the destruction of 32 square blocks and over 600 businesses owned, operated, managed and patronized by an affluent African American Community. This piece of Tulsa's history has been long neglected and many of the event specifics is unknown by many local residents even today.

After you visit the many important cultural landmarks of North Tulsa (Black Wall Street, The GAP area, The Mabel House, The Kennedy Mansion, Owen Park...to name a few) you will have the pleasure of ending this session at the Gilcrease Museum, a must-see stop for anyone visiting the city of Tulsa. Learn about the Native American experience in Oklahoma and explore its impressive collection of fine art from "the Americas".

Prior to 1921 the mixed ethnic community of North Tulsa was uniquely left to progress on its own. The residents built a community with retail, commerce, governement, education....all that a thriving community needs to survive. However, beginning with the debilitating blow of the 1921 race riots and continuing with the urban redevelopment of more recent years, the North Tulsa neighborhood continues on its journey of both suffering and survival.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.