Trains and oil booms are what helped create some little communities in what is now West Tulsa. The trains carried oilfield workers and supplies to the oil fields. Red Fork, where the first strike occurred, was close enough to Tulsa that most workers came back on the train rather than stay there. The Glenn Fields, however, were far enough out that boom towns for these workers to live in shot up practically overnight. A little town called Praper consisted of a few railroad workers until the Glenn strike. Being the closest train depot to the Glenn Pool it virtually exploded and, by 1906 was home to hundreds of oilmen. The town changed its name just before statehood to Kiefer.
Another boomtown was Taneha, which was Creek for "oil under land". Located about four miles north of Sapulpa, Taneha was a typical rough and tough oil field community, one in which women did not go outside after dark. Structures were usually just wooden frames with clapboard sidings and tar paper roofs. Taneha boasted a grocery store, hotel and boarding houses such as Elizabeth Winter's Boarding House (below).
The Taneha Boarding House fed three shifts at each meal.
Another boarding house.
This was Sherman Smith's gasoline service station.
In 1909 a post office opened there and the town was re-named Bowden. The post office remained until 1957. But that wasn't the end of the Taneha name.
That same year, L.J. Weatherman platted a community a few miles north and east of Bowden called "Business Men's First Addition to Taneha". Six months later it was renamed New Taneha. The land changed hands and was re platted several times then sold to O.C. Graves in 1913. Graves, a speculator from St. Louis, began drilling for oil and soon oil derricks dotted the area.
He filed plats for New Taneha in 1915 and, in 1918-1919 began an aggressive marketing campaign to gullible easterners, selling 25-foot lots and practically promising an oil well in every back yard. A Main Street was laid out..
sidewalks were poured...
and natural gas-fed street lamps sprouted from them.
The entry into the neighborhood boasted brick pillars and matching canopied buildings on either side.
What Graves - and buyers- couldn't know was that the oil wells were drying up and the Great Depression loomed on the horizon. Most buyers never claimed their properties and lost their investments. And while it looked as though it would all dry up and blow away with the Oklahoma dust, another unknown factor came to light. The road in front of the entrance pillars would become Route 66 in 1929, and a new generation came down it. After losing jobs and surviving the Depression, the inexpensive houses were a draw. While it is unclear exactly when it happened, according to old-timers who lived there, the Frisco railroad later gave the community the name Oakhurst because it's mail drop was near a grove of oak trees. Click on the map below to enlarge:
Thanks to an observant reader who pointed out that the above building still stands, even though the pillars are long gone: