— Tulsa's Historic Route 66 —
Amusement parks became popular in the early 1900s.
Building on the array of entertainment options offered by the
traveling circus, the typical amusement park featured a midway
full of games, sideshows, and exhibits; mechanical rides and
indoor spaces for dancing, watching performances, and eating.
Tulsa's first amusement park, Orcutt Park, opened on the
southeast side of the city in 1907. Electric Park opened in
Red Fork near the intersection of Sapulpa Road (Southwest
Boulevard) and West 43rd Street in 1921. Strategically located
along the western course of the Interurban line, Electric Park
offered rides, concessions, and a swimming pool with a
man-made beach for lounging.
William Falkenberg established a second amusement park,
Crystal City, next to Electric Park in 1929, a location then
enhanced by the designation of Sapulpa Road (Southwest
Boulevard) as part of Route 66. As he expanded Crystal City
with new rides and entertainment, it eventually absorbed
Electric Park, creating a 30-acre wonderland. At its peak,
patrons enjoyed thrills on 22 rides, including a Ferris wheel,
Tilt-a-Whirl, Loop-a-Plane, and "Dodgem" cars, as well as Zingo,
one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the state.
There was also a bath house and what was then the largest
swimming pool in Oklahoma. A miniature golf course, a
train and station, and the famed Casa Loma dance
hall rounded out the experience.
During its heyday in the 1940s, as many as 15,000 people
a day visited Crystal City on holidays and special occasions.
As its popularity waned after World War II, owner John C.
Mullins closed Crystal City in 1948. Fires during the off season
proved fatal to the once-vibrant amusement park. After the
bath house and Casa Loma burned in 1956, Crystal City closed
for good. Some of the rides were saved and moved to Lakeview
Amusement Park (4100 N. Harvard). Bell's Amusement Park on
Tulsa's east side named its roller coaster Zingo in honor of its
Crystal City predecessor. Investors quickly purchased and
cleared the site, preparing it for construction of the
Crystal City Shopping Center.