Hello mamas! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted on here but I hope you all are doing well during this quarantine, getting plenty of outside time and fresh air! A sweet mama named Alissa posted this amazing scavenger hunt in a Facebook group that I am in and I thought it was SO fun and knew I just HAD to share with you! She was so generous to let me! Thank you Alissa!
This scavenger hunt takes about 2-3 hours to complete (depending on if you picnic at Woodward park or do a rolling picnic.) The preferred route order is included too, but can be adjusted to start closest to where you live.
TULSA LANDMARK SCAVENGER HUNT
Scavenger Hunt by Alissa Adams
Join us for a Photo Scavenger Hunt around Tulsa, Oklahoma! Take pictures at each of these historic Tulsa landmarks to remember our 2020 Coronavirus Quarantine Adventures!
We are going to start our historic Tulsa landmark scavenger hunt on Route 66. U.S. Route 66 (also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the “Main Street of America”, or the “Mother Road” was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. It was established on November 11, 1926 with road signs added the following year. The highway became one of the most famous roads in the United States and originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in Santa Monic, California. The whole Route 66 was fully paved by 1938. Route 66 is known for iconic and memorable landmarks and roadside attractions. Several of Tulsa’s landmarks are along the famous Route 66. There are many unique and quirky attractions along the route and landmarks – some of the most famous are in Tulsa and made this historical landmark list!
Turn on Spotify and listen to Nat King Coles, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” as you travel to our first roadside attraction on Route 66, The Blue Whale of Catoosa.
1.) THE BLUE WHALE OF CATOOSA
Location: 2600 Route 66, Catoosa, OK 74015
The Blue Whale of Catoosa is a waterfront structure in Catoosa, Oklahoma and has become one of the most recognizable attractions on old Route 66. Hugh Davis built the Blue Whale in the early 1970s as a surprise anniversary gift to his wife, Zelta, who collected whale figurines. The Blue Whale and its pond became a favorite swimming hole for both locals and travelers along Route 66. It was originally intended as a family use only, but many locals began to come and enjoy the waters. Mr. Davis brought in sand, built picnic tables, hired life guards and opened to
the public. By 1988, the Davises were not able to continue managing the attraction, so they closed it to the public.
2.) DOWNTOWN TULSA SKYSCRAPERS
Location: Downtown from 1st to 8th Streets between Denver and Cincinnati
In the early 1920s, thanks to the major oil boom, residents began building skyscrapers, churches, industrial buildings, homes. Many of Tulsa’s high rises were done in the popular Art Deco style of that time, which is why Downtown Tulsa from 1st to 8th streets between Denver and Cincinnati is called the “Deco District.” Tulsa became a city of great wealth and the businessmen wanted a city around them that would show off their wealth. They built skyscrapers that rivaled those in the major cities. The Tulsa businessmen of that time spend 1 million dollars a month developing downtown.
Art Deco often has famous “zig zag” designs…see if you can spot Art Deco style architecture in downtown Tulsa! Gargoyles acted to protect the buildings they were on both symbolically (warding away evil spirits) and practically (due to them being rain spouts that directed water away from the buildings stone walls). See if you can spot the gargoyles up high on top of some of the downtown Tulsa buildings.
Philtower Building, 427 South Boston Avenue
The Philtower building was completed in 1928, designed by Edward Buehler Delk and financed by renowned oilman and dedicated philanthropist Waite Phillips. The building represents the Gothic Revival architecture style. A notable feature is the illuminated sloping tiled roof. This
building was originally built as a high-rise office building. Waite Phillips worked at an office penthouse located on the 21st floor.
Philcade Building, 427 South Boston Avenue
The Philcade Building is across the street from the Philtower was designed by Leon B. Senter, for oilman Waite Phillips in 1931. Waite Phillips secretly brought miners in to dig underground so he could create a tunnel from his office to his home. During this time period there had been many kidnappings by bandits seeking ransom of prominent and wealthy people across the country. Waite used this tunnel to go safely between his residence in the Philcade to his offices in the Philtower.
Did you know that Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art was actually the original home of Waite Phillip? He lived in the three-story mansion (he named it Villa Philbrook) with his wife Genevive, built in 1926 on 25 acres of beautiful gardens. The Philbrook was donated to the City of Tulsa by Waite Phillips in 1938 and became the Philbrook Museum of Art. The interior of the Philbrook mansion had 72 rooms! He was a very generous philanthropist and gifted many of his properties to Tulsa and the Boy Scouts of America.
Atlas Life Building, 415 S. Boston Avenue
The Atlas Life Building is a historic twelve-story building designed by the firm Rush, Endacott and Rush. The building was originally built for Atlas Life Insurance Company and was completed in 1922. The company’s logo incorporated a figure of Atlas, a Titan of ancient Greek mythology, carrying the world on his back. It is currently home to the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, the Tulsa Press Club and the New Atlas Grill.
See if you can spot Atlas at the top of the building holding the world above him. This is one of the landmarks that is used in the Tulsa mural that you will see later!
BOK Tower, One Williams Center
The BOK Tower is a skyscraper in downtown Tulsa that is the tallest Tulsa skyscraper. It is 667 feet in height and has 52 stories. It was built in 1976 and designed by Minoru Yamasaki & Associates, the same architect who designed the World Trade Center in New York City. The structure is very similar to the World Trade Center Towers, but is exactly half the size in height. Did you know that the Bank of Oklahoma tower is exactly half size replica of the World Trade Center Towers? Also, a little secret… BOK employees call the red BOK Logo “The
meatball”…do you see the “meatball” at the top of the tower?
Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, 1301 South Boston Avenue, Tulsa
The Boston Avenue United Methodist Church was completed in 1929 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of ecclesiastical Art Deco architecture in the United States and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is disputed who actually designed, but is credited to two individuals Adah Robinson and Bruce Goff. Robinson was an art teacher at Central High School and Goff was her student. At the top of the tower, as well as on many other high points of the tower are sculptures that represent two hands raised in prayer. Do you see the hands?
3.) TULSA MURAL, BRADY DISTRICS
Location: 211 North Boulder Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74103
The Tulsa Postcard Mural was painted by the well-known “Greetings from Austin” postcard mural. Artist Billy Brakhage designed and painted the mural in 2015 in the same style as the famous Austin, Texas mural. The Tulsa mural includes various symbols, landmarks and messages from the city, hidden inside the letters spelling out TULSA. The mural includes the Appeal to the Spirit statue, a former motel, the BOK tower and the Center of the Universe. Brakhage also painted the old Tulsa Drillers stadium and Atlas with four stars, representing the four solar eclipse patterns that will occur in the next 25 years. Brakhage stated that the inspiration for the Atlas image comes from the fact that in 2045, a solar eclipse will take place right above Tulsa at noon on August 12th.
4.) THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
Location: 1 South Boston Avenue, Tulsa (Park on the East side of the road before the walking bridge that is next to the BOK Employee parking lot.) The “Center of the Universe” is in downtown Tulsa and marked by a small concrete circle in the middle of a larger circle of bricks. The “Center of the Universe” is a little-known mysterious acoustic phenomenon. If you stand in the middle of the circle and make a noise, the sound is echoed back several times louder than it was made. Many people have studied the anomaly of this location, but there is no clear consensus on the cause of this natural sonic distortion.
The Artificial Cloud was created for the 1991 Mayfest by Native American Artist Robert Haozous. The sculpture is seventy-two and one-half feet tall, the work was created on the premise that more people would look at a naturally rusting steel cloud than at the real thing. The surface of the sculpture has been allowed to rust, to show the effect of time and the atmosphere (and that we are polluting the earth and need to take care of our environment.). Shackles on the lower base of the statue are meant to symbolize the shackles that were placed on the Indians of early America. The long, center section illustrates humans without hands among a mass of airplanes.
5.) EAST MEETS WEST
Location: Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, 760 W 13th Street, Tulsa OK 74127
East Meets West: Symbolic Route 66 Midpoint has beautiful sculptures that is an artistic representation of the use of automobiles and highways spreading across the country in the late 1920s and 30s. The scene of this landmark consists of two statues, one of a horse-drawn carriage and one of a family in a car. They were unveiled in 2012 and honor Cyrus Avery, one of the creators of the national highway system. The family depicted in the car is none other than Avery’s family. He, his wife, his daughter and their pet cat are all in the Model T traveling down Route 66. They suddenly come across an oil field waggoneer whose team of horses are scared by the new sounds of a combustion engine. The statues span 40 feet and weigh 10 tons. Almost 1,000 pieces of bronze were put together to create the scene. In the end, this plaza cost $1.2 million and took six years to complete. The statues are also right by a large bridge spanning over the highway that proclaims it as Route 66.
6.) APPEAL TO THE GREAT SPIRIT, WOODWARD PARK
Location: 2435 S Peoria Avenue
Appeal to the Great Sprit, a sculpture by Cyrus Dallin. The sculpture portrays a Native American on horseback facing skyward, his arms spread wide in a spiritual request to the Great Spirit. Dallin stated that in this work, he was attempting to capture the moment when the chief made his “final appeal to the Great Spirit for peace with the white man” after “his signal of peace…had been rejected.”
There are four full size casts of the sculpture. The City of Tulsa contains the most recent full- size installment which was cast in 1985 by American Artbronze Fine Arts Foundry under the direction of Howard R. Kirsch.
Did you know that smaller editions of this statue (21 inches) were produced in 1922. One of these statuettes is at the white House and even sat in the Oval Office during Bill Clinton’s presidency!
7.) BUCK ATOM SPACE COWBOY
Location: 1347 E 11th Street, Tulsa OK 74120
The Buck Atom Space Cowboy is a “Muffler Man” statue on Route 66. He is a 21-foot space cowboy that was installed as the newest Tulsa landmark! The shop owner, Mary Beth Babock had him installed at Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios shop at 11th and Peoria. She wanted to give Route 66 another roadside attraction and used a repurposed PEMCO Gas Station, which features vintage curios and Route 66 memorabilia. Statues along Route 66 were called “Muffler Men.” They were giganitic statues that were all similar with square jaws and always holding something, often a car’s muffler, which is why they are known as “Muffler Men.”
8.) THE GOLDEN DRILLER
Location: Tulsa Expo Center, 4145 E 21st St, Tulsa, OK 74114
The Golden Driller is a 75-foot-tall, 43,500-pound statue of an oil worker, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is the sixth-tallest statue in the United States. The 2nd tallest statue is the Statue of Liberty (over twice the size of the Golden Driller at 151 feet tall!) Mid-Continent Supply Company donated the statue to the Tulsa County Fairgrounds Trust Authority which had it anatomically redesigned and permanently installed in front of the Tulsa Expo Center for the 1966 International Petroleum Exposition. The statue’s right-hand rests on an oil derrick which had been moved from a depleted oil field in Seminole, Oklahoma. An inscription at the base of the statue reads: “The Golden Driller, a symbol of the International Petroleum Exposition. Dedicated to the men of the petroleum industry who by their vision and daring have created from God’s abundance a better life for mankind.” His stats are said to include: Belt size – 48 ft in circumference, Shoe size- 393DDD, and Hat size- 112 hard hat. His belt originally read “MID-CONTINENT”, but was changed in 1979 to the current buckle that says “TULSA”.
9.) THE PRAYER TOWER
7777 S. Lewis Avenue, Tulsa
Another landmark on ORU property is the Oral Roberts University Prayer Tower. The prayer tower has Christian Symbolism throughout the design. The Prayer Tower is located at the center of the campus to symbolize prayer’s central role in the goals of the university. The disc and spindle design take on the look of a cross when you look at it horizontally; the disc and spindle design take on the look of the Star of David from the air. The tower’s “upward spiral” is intended to mirror one’s relationship with God. The latticework which surrounds the observation deck is meant as a semi-literal representation of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross, with the red coloring for the blood Christ shed in death. The tower’s peak features an eternal flame representing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
10.) THE PRAYING HANDS
7777 S. Lewis Avenue, Tulsa
The World’s Largest Praying Hands can be found at Oral Roberts University. These mighty hands stand 60 feet high and weigh 30 tons. It is the largest bronze sculpture in the world. The Oklahoma artist, Leonard McMurry, used a neighbor as his model and had the huge casting accomplished in Mexico in 1980. The hands were originally called “The Healing Hands” and stood in front of the “City of Faith” medical center devoted to faith healing. The hands were then moved to the entrance drive of Oral Roberts University.
Woo Hoo…You finished the Tulsa Landmark Scavenger Hunt!
Did you have fun in our Tulsa Landmark Scavenger Hunt?
Some of the Tulsa landmarks are known as “kitsch”, which means that it is art that is nostalgic, garish. quirky, ironic and of souvenir culture.
• What types of landmarks did we look at that you would you describe as “kitsch”? (Blue
Whale, Tulsa Driller and Buck Atom Space Cowboy)
• Some people believe kitsch is really cool, while others believe it is in poor taste. What do
What was your favorite Tulsa landmark and why?
If you were to make a Tulsa landmark what would it be?