— Tulsa's Historic Route 66 —
Settlements on the west side of the Arkansas River
proliferated following completion of the railroad bridge in
1883. After the Red Fork oil strike in 1901 scores of people
moved to the area and it was annexed into Tulsa in
September 1907. In addition to those working directly in the
oil industry, other individuals were drawn to the area to
provide the collateral services needed to support the new
community. The vehicular bridge across the Arkansas River
aligned with S. Quanah Avenue (now Southwest Boulevard),
which was one block west of the street early residents
thought would be the town center (Phoenix Avenue).
Quanah Avenue and West 17th Street became the
commercial core of West Tulsa. General stores, grocers,
and drug stores provided necessities; hotels, and rooming
houses provided temporary and semi-permanent housing;
movie theaters and bars provided entertainment.
Quanah Avenue was renamed Southwest Boulevard in 1957.
As expected along Route 66, during the mid-1930s the
1600 block of S. Quanah Avenue (Southwest Boulevard)
provided services targeted toward motorists. There were
three auto repair shops, three used car and auto salvage
businesses, and three filling stations, as well as two
restaurants, a laundry, and the headquarters of the
West Tulsa News. The 1700 block contained the variety of
present in a typical small town commercial
center. In addition to the barber shops, cleaners, drug
stores, and lodge halls, West Tulsa could boast of two
movie theaters and two billiard halls.