Tulsa is located in the Green County of the state, originally settled by the Ozark Bluff Dwellers. Native Americans came here in 1836 during the Indian Removal Act along the Trail of Tears. On the east side of the Arkansas River, they would hold their first town meeting at an oak tree that still stands today.
The Lochapokas were those Creek Indians, and they maintained their nightly ritual of burning embers that they brought from Alabama and re-lit their camp fires using those embers. It kept their memory of their home alive for them.
Development and Growth
The next few decades had a lot of development and growth in this untamed wilderness. In 1846, Lewis Perryman built a log cabin and opened a trading post. He would be credited with establishing a foothold with his business venture. Unfortunately, when the Civil War came into the area, many of those who had settled here fled.
Once it was declared the war was over, the area had a reconstruction period, and in 1879 it would see it’s Post Office with the railroad soon to follow. At the time, it was called Tulsey Town, and had trading post go along with the post office and railroad. It was the post office that changed the name to Tulsa.
By 1882, it is said that approximately 200 people were living in Tulsa and by 1898, there were move than 1,000 residents. Growth came to the area after the establishment of the Sue Bland No. 1 oil well struck, and the growth was on then.
Businesses were being established and houses were being built in the early 1900s, and this brought the attention to the need for a reliable water source. It was shortly afterward that businessmen saw the need for an airport and a group of them pooled their private money together to buy the land needed to build that airport, which is still there today.
There came issues for this booming town in the 1920s, one big one being that the Arkansas River couldn’t be used as a suitable water source. A multimillion dollar bond was set up by the citizens so that they could bring water in from the Spavinaw Hills.