— Tulsa's Historic Route 66 —
The Arkansas River was a major obstacle for cattle drivers
leading herds from grazing fields in Texas to slaughter houses
in Kansas. Before construction of the Frisco Railroad bridge in
1883, crossing the river was a complicated task, compounded by
unexpected rains that occasionally caused flooding. Multiple
herds, each with hundreds of cattle, waited their turn to ford the
river in the area that would become Red Fork, some four miles
southwest of the actual crossing. When the Frisco established a
railhead on the west side of the river, it gave the newly designated
Red Fork area a sense of purpose. No longer a stopping point on
the way to somewhere else, Red Fork developed as the end point
of the line for both cattlemen and railroad workers. It soon
boasted general stores and a railroad depot. Although Red Fork
listed its status as a railhead, two years later the Frisco line was
extended to Sapulpa. The community however was too
established to disappear completely.
When the discovery of oil at Sue Bland No. 1 brought scores of
prospectors and entrepreneurs to Red Fork, the government
sought to establish order by laying out 160 acres for a town site.
Red Fork incorporated in 1902. New buildings soon housed city
hall and a library. The interurban line passed through the corner
of the town, providing public transportation
to the Glenn Pool oil
fields and to offices and shopping in Tulsa. Red Fork was officially
annexed by the City of Tulsa in 1927, shortly after Sapulpa Road
(Southwest Boulevard) was designated as part of Route 66.
Red Fork Corner developed a dense concentration of businesses
that catered to the needs of local residents as well as travelers
passing through on the Mother Road.