Tulsa County, Oklahoma

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Tulsa County, Oklahoma
Tulsa County Courthouse.jpg
Tulsa County Courthouse
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Tulsa County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Named forcity of Tulsa
Largest cityTulsa
 • Total587 sq mi (1,520 km2)
 • Land570 sq mi (1,477 km2)
 • Water17 sq mi (43 km2), 2.85%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013)622,409
 • Density1,091/sq mi (421/km²)
Congressional district1st
Time zoneCentral: UTC-6/-5
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Tulsa County, Oklahoma
Tulsa County Courthouse.jpg
Tulsa County Courthouse
Map of Oklahoma highlighting Tulsa County
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Map of the United States highlighting Oklahoma
Oklahoma's location in the U.S.
Named forcity of Tulsa
Largest cityTulsa
 • Total587 sq mi (1,520 km2)
 • Land570 sq mi (1,477 km2)
 • Water17 sq mi (43 km2), 2.85%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013)622,409
 • Density1,091/sq mi (421/km²)
Congressional district1st
Time zoneCentral: UTC-6/-5

Tulsa County is the second most populous county in the U.S. state of Oklahoma behind Oklahoma County. As of the 2010 census, the population was 603,403.[1] Its county seat and largest city is Tulsa, the second-largest city in the state.[2]

Founded at statehood, in 1907, it was named after the previously established city of Tulsa. Before statehood, the area was part of both the Creek Nation and the Cooweescoowee District of Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory.

Tulsa County is notable for being the most densely populated county in the State. Tulsa County also ranks as having the highest-income as well.[3]

History of Tulsa County[edit]

The history of Tulsa County greatly overlaps the history of the city of Tulsa. This section addresses events that largely occurred outside the present city limits of Tulsa.

Old Fort Arbuckle[edit]

The U. S. Government's removal of Native American tribes from the southeastern United States to "Indian Territory" did not take into account how that would impact the lives and attitudes of the nomadic tribes that already used the same land as their hunting grounds. At first, Creek immigrants stayed close to Fort Gibson, near the confluence of the Arkansas and Verdigris rivers. However, the government encouraged newer immigrants to move farther up the Arkansas. The Osage tribe had agreed to leave the land near the Verdigris, but had not moved far and soon threatened the new Creek settlements.[4]

In 1831, a party led by Rev. Isaac McCoy and Lt. James L. Dawson blazed a trail up the north side of the Arkansas from Fort Gibson to its junction with the Cimarron River. In 1832, Dawson was sent again to select sites for military posts. One of his recommended sites was about two and a half miles downstream from the Cimarron River junction. The following year, Brevet Major George Birch and two companies of the 7th Infantry Division followed the "Dawson Road" to the aforementioned site. Flattering his former commanding officer, General Matthew Arbuckle, Birch named the site "Fort Arbuckle."[4][5]

According to Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, the fort was about 8 miles (13 km) west of the present city of Sand Springs, Oklahoma.[6] Author James Gardner visited the site in the early 1930s. His article describing the visit includes an old map showing the fort located on the north bank of the Arkansas River near Sand Creek, just south of the line separating Tulsa County and Osage County. After ground was cleared and a blockhouse built, Fort Arbuckle was abandoned November 11, 1834. The remnants of stockade and some chimneys could still be seen nearly a hundred years later.[5]

Battle of Chusto-Talasah[edit]

Main article Battle of Chusto-Talasah

At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, many Creeks and Seminoles in Indian Territory, led by Opothleyahola, retained their allegiance to the U. S. Government. In November, 1861, Confederate Col. Douglas H. Cooper led a Confederate force against the Union supporters with the purpose of either compelling their submission or driving them out of the country. The first clash, known as the Battle of Round Mountain, occurred November 19, 1861. Although the Unionists successfully withstood the attack and mounted a counterattack, the Confederates claimed a strategic victory because the Unionists were forced to withdraw.[7]

The next battle occurred December 9, 1861. Col. Cooper's force attacked the Unionists at Chusto-Talasah (Caving Banks) on the Horseshoe Bend of Bird Creek in what is now Tulsa County. The Confederates drove the Unionists across Bird Creek, but could not pursue, because they were short of ammunition. Still, the Confederates could claim victory.[7]

Coming of the railroads[edit]

The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company had extended its main line in Indian Territory from Vinita to Tulsa in 1883, where it stopped on the east side of the Arkansas River. The company, which later merged into the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway (familiarly known as the Frisco), then built a steel bridge across the river to extend the line to Red Fork. This bridge allowed cattlemen to load their animals onto the railroad west of the Arkansas instead of fording the river, as had been the practice previously. It also provided a safer and more convenient way to bring workers from Tulsa to the oil field after the 1901 discovery of oil in Red Fork.

Oil Boom[edit]

A wildcat well named Sue Bland No. 1 hit paydirt at 540 feet on June 25, 1901 as a gusher. The well was on the property of Sue A. Bland (née Davis), located near the community of Red Fork. Mrs. Bland was a Creek citizen and wife of Dr. John C. W. Bland, the first practicing physician in Tulsa. The property was Mrs. Bland's homestead allotment. Oil produced by the well was shipped in barrels to the nearest refinery in Kansas, where it was sold for $1.00 a barrel.[8]

Other producing wells followed soon after. The next big strike in Tulsa County was in the vicinity of Glenn Pool.

Ironically, while the city of Tulsa claimed to be "Oil Capital of the World" for much of the 20th Century, a city ordinance banned drilling for oil within the city limits.

Tulsa County Court House[edit]

In 1910, Tulsa County built a court house in Tulsa on the northeast corner of Sixth Street and South Boulder Avenue. Yule marble was used in its construction. The land had previously been the site of a mansion owned by George Perryman and his wife. This was the court house where a mob of white residents gathered on May 31, 1921, threatening to lynch a young black man held in the top-floor jail. It was the beginning of the Tulsa Race Riot. See Yule marble.

The building continued to serve until the present court house building (shown above) opened at 515 South Denver. The old building was then demolished and the land was then sold to private investors. The land is now the site of the Bank of America building, completed in 1967.

Geography and climate[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 587 square miles (1,520 km2), of which 570 square miles (1,500 km2) is land and 17 square miles (44 km2) (2.85%) is water.[9]

The Arkansas River drains most of the county. Keystone Lake, formed by a dam on the Arkansas River, lies partially in the county. Bird Creek and the Caney River, tributaries of the Verdigris River drain the northern part of the county.[6]

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Rec High °F79909610296103112110109988780
Norm High °F46.552.962.472.179.68893.893.284.1746049.6
Norm Low °F26.331.140.349.55967.973.171.262.951.139.329.8
Rec Low °F-8-11-32235495152351810-8
Precip (in)1.61.953.573.956.114.722.962.854.764.053.472.43
Source: USTravelWeather.com [3]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major highways[edit]


Historical population
Est. 2013622,4093.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2013 Estimate[1]

As of the census[11] of 2010, there were 603,403 people, 241,737 households, and 154,084 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,059 people per square mile (409/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 69.2% White, 10.7% Black or African American, 6.0% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.8% from other races, and 5.8% from two or more races. 11.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race (8.8% Mexican). 14.2% were of German, 12.3% Irish, 8.8% English, 8.5% American, 2.3% French, and 2.3% Scottish ancestries according to the Census 2010. 88.3% spoke English, 8.1% Spanish, and 0.4% Vietnamese as their first language.[12][13]

There were 241,737 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.3% were non-families. 29.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 22% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.30% under the age of 18, 10.00% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 21.60% from 45 to 64, and 11.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 94.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,005, and the median income for a family was $60,093. The per capita income for the county was $27,425. About 11.0% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.6% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.[14][15] Of the county's population over the age of 25, 29.2% held a bachelor's degree or higher, and 88.2% have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of January 15, 2012[16]
PartyNumber of VotersPercentage


Presidential election results[17]
201263.68% 145,06236.32% 82,744
200862.23% 158,36337.77% 96,133
200464.43% 163,45235.57% 90,220
200061.34% 134,15237.34% 81,656


Cities and towns[edit]


a Bixby is primarily in Tulsa County, but extends into Wagoner County.

b Broken Arrow is primarily in Tulsa County, but extends into Wagoner County.

c Liberty is primarily in Tulsa County, but extends into Okmulgee County.

d Owasso is primarily in Tulsa County, but extends into Rogers County.

e Sand Springs is primarily in Tulsa County, but extends into Osage County.

f Sapulpa lies mostly in Creek County, but extends into Tulsa County.

g Skiatook is primarily in Tulsa County, but extends into Osage County.

h Tulsa is primarily in Tulsa County, but portions extend into Osage, Rogers and Wagoner Counties.

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Former communities[edit]

NRHP sites[edit]

The following sites in Tulsa County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Per capita income in Tulsa County highest in state | Tulsa World
  4. ^ a b Carter, Sandi and Marlene Clark. "Old Fort Arbuckle." Accessed April 10, 2011.[1]
  5. ^ a b Gardner, James E. Chronicles of Oklahoma, Volume 11, No. 2. June, 1933. "One Hundred Years Ago in the Region of Tulsa."
  6. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture "Tulsa County." Accessed April 8, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Civil War Academy.com Website. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
  8. ^ [digital.library.okstate.edu/chronicles/v030/v030p312.pdf Clinton, Fred S. Chronicles of Oklahoma. "First Oil and Gas Well in Tulsa County."] Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  13. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  14. ^ American FactFinder - Results
  15. ^ Tulsa County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  16. ^ http://www.ok.gov/elections/documents/reg_0112.pdf
  17. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  18. ^ Alsuma website. Retrieved September 30, 2011
  19. ^ "Alsuma: The Town That Disappeared From Southeast Tulsa." Arnett, David. GTR Newspapers. March 30, 2007. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  20. ^ a b Website: "Early History of Southwest Tulsa" by Southwest Tulsa Planning Team, Southwest Tulsa Historical Society and Tulsa Planning Department.
  21. ^ Tulsa City Council. "A History of Tulsa Annexation."2004. Accessed January 20, 2011. [www.tulsacouncil.org/media/79331/Annexation%20History.pdf]
  22. ^ Tulsa Preservation Commission. "Urban Development {1901–1945) Accessed May 5, 2011.[2]>
  23. ^ Gregory, Carl N.Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, "Sand Springs"] Accessed May 6, 2011.
  24. ^ Tulsa City Council. "A History of Tulsa Annexation."2004. Accessed January 20, 2011. [www.tulsacouncil.org/media/79331/Annexation%20History.pdf]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 36°07′N 95°56′W / 36.12°N 95.94°W / 36.12; -95.94