Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Suburban Sprawl

When Tulsa WWII veterans returned from Europe and the Pacific they found great housing from which to choose from here. $300 down would get them into a cute $7,000 bungalow. These cookie-cutter homes directed at the GI market became synonymous with Brookside.
(click on photos to enlarge)

Shopping in Brookside was a casual alternative to downtown shopping.Merchants introduced Shorts Day in 1951 and held Miss Brookside contests as well.

Family-owned Pennington’s Drive In opened in 1951. Located at 4235 S. Peoria they were known for their fried shrimp and blackbottom pie. It was a hang-out for many high school students, including myself. This is the way I remember it in the 1970’s:There was the Brookside Market located at 3620 S. Peoria that had fancy food and home delivery: And the Brookside Coliseum catered to the roller-skating mania that lasted until 1963:Vernon Mudd was a refinery worker-turned builder and became the first major developer of South Tulsa. He built Bellaire Village in the early 1950s and was told it was “too far out in the country” (at 51st and Peoria) to succeed:Shopping centers were the newest rage in the 1950’s. Here is a view from the top of St. Johns Hospital in 1929, looking down on what would later become ...... Utica Square in 1952:

Also opening at this time was Ranch Acres
The Mayo Meadow Shopping Center had a “contemporary California motif” layout:I spent the first 5 years of my life a few blocks over from Mayo Meadow (don't think our house is quite in this picture) and remember being allowed to ride my bike over to the shopping center and all around without causing my mother any duress. Then my dad, who was involved in the real estate world, decided it was time to head South and had a home built by Vernon Mudd, just outside of the city limits at 51st between Sheridan and Memorial. Sungate was a huge field, as I recall. A field with roads and sidewalks. It was 1964 and my parents’ house was the 3rd one on the block. Walking to the brand new school, Salk Elementary, was sort of an adventure down these sidewalks in fields. We saw lots of jackrabbits and Meadowlarks. Here is 51st and Memorial, looking east, in 1964. You can see Memorial Park Cemetery on the right:
Back in 1956 Mr. Mudd purchased 100 acres of farmland from a Tulsa pioneer named Lou North, who was then 90 at that time. The farmland, located at what is now around 51st and Harvard, would become Woodland Acres. Mr. North reminisced once that when he had homesteaded this property in 1904, the city was a ½ day buggy ride, one way. My how we’ve grown.

(photos courtesy of Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society)


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I read about your blog on Bateline and clicked over to check your blog out. I love this stuff. I have been in Tulsa "only" 17 years but I love this city and its history.

Nancy said...

Thanks so much!

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Anonymous said...

Wow! A picture of the old skating rink! Thanks. My mom and dad owned Brookside Coleseum and we were just talking the other day about not having any photos of the place.
Thank you so much - I have saved it.
Dr. Suzanne Huckett - Horne

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting these pictures. I was born in Tulsa in 1949. We lived on 36th Place just three houses behind the Brookside Market. The market was owned by a father and son. The father's name was Israel and I believe their last name was Cohen. When I was 13, I broke my arm roller skating at the Brookside Coliseum. BTW, it was originally a Safeway. Great memories!
Betty Reed Groth

Anonymous said...

Nancy, I lived in Sungate, too from 1963 until my folks moved out of state in 1973. I remember attending Salk Elementary (I was in 4th) the day it opened---and walking to school! Did we know each other??? Kim Nail Little (

Shane Hood said...

In 1954, $99 down would get you into a $10,000-$15,000 Lortondale home at 26th and Yale, Tulsa's most awarded neighborhood.

Unknown said...

I lived in Sungate from 1970 (I was only 3) to 1978. I seem to remember a car exploded in someone's driveway. Maybe on E 52nd or E 53rd St? I can't seem to find anything about that online and all I can seem to remember is someone told me it was a case of mistaken identity. Any chance you remember that or know were to find any information online?

Nancy said...

Now that you mention it, I do vaguely remember something like that happening.