Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tulsa Photo Tour by Bike

Old streets of Tulsa I used to ride--here I go to 36th and Riverside Dr. to take the old bike path.

I would ride for hours all over Tulsa, where I could--and that was mainly the River Parks.

Oil Man's House...

Oil Man's oil fields across the Arkansas River.

The old Gaslight Theatre still playing "The Drunkard" since about 1921. Its the story of a family man that turns to drink and card playing, leaving his wife and children to the streets and penniless--but he finds redemption, etc etc etc--still pretty popular in this part of the Bible Belt. I saw it once and only once--its very campy and fun! Lots of cheap beer and you get shit-faced...

Hwy 66 is now a pretty big deal, and this is the old bridge that brought Hwy 66 into Tulsa from the West and across the Arkansas River. The old bridge is crumbling but pretty historic.

Hwy 66 into Tulsa!

Just past that historic intersection, I take this bike and running bridge across the tracks into the old North Side of Tulsa--used to be called "Colored Town"

West of Tulsa's "Wrong Side of the Tracks" if you were a Cracker, like me--is Sand Springs, where the rough and blue collar oil field workers lived.

Tulsa had a Race Riot in 1921 and just about all of North Tulsa, that is Tulsa North of the rail road tracks where the black people lived, burned down. And the recovery money sent to help the black people was used instead to cement over and run a highway though that once thriving black community. It was the Greenwood District and called "The Black Wall Street" back in the 1920's as it was booming, and rivaled white businesses in Downtown.

Tulsa is still an oil town.

This is an old rail line now bike path that I'm taking into the old North Side of Tulsa.

Downtown is coming into view!

Not much left of old downtown oil boom days of the teens and 20's.

This is the Old Lady on Brady, as we Tulsans call the Brady Theatre on Brady Ave. The theatre dates from 1918, and in the Race Riot of 1921, there was a major gun battle here between blacks and whites.

Just a few parts of those old days remain.

Tulsa was an oil boom town!

Oil in the 1920s brought a lot of wealth--resentment from whites when they saw Black Tulsa businesses growing fueled the Race Riot. Most of North Tulsa was burned down and the business and homes of the Black residents sacked.

Very little survived that Riot. Just a few blocks of that section of town. What a waste all that hatred and racism--sad to say that its still there in the mindset of people--a lot of Red Necks in Oklahoma and in Tulsa. They hate Obama because he's Black and a Muslim and not even an American. I just keep quiet as some in my family think that kind of shit.

Hey! On to a better note! Cain's Ballroom--still cool and fun after all these years!

Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys! Icons of Western Swing music since the 1920s! Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys are revered as Gods here in T-Town. I'm like at a shrine to Country and Western Music!

Ticket Booth inside Cain's Ballroom.

I only saw one show here, many years ago--like sometime in 1977.

Smashing Pumpkins is playing here tonight and fans are starting to show up this morning to buy tickets.

"Take me back to Tulsa, I'm too young to marry. Take me back to Tulsa, I'm too young to wed." That's the hit song for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s and even today.

These buildings were abandoned for years and now there's life back in them again.

The old train depot, an iconic symbol of Art Deco, was derelict and a ruin when I was growing up in Tulsa. After the Race Riot of 1921, these areas of Tulsa were abandoned. The last few years things are changing for the good. The depot is now a Jazz Museum.

The BOK Tower. Bank of Oklahoma Tower which was once the Williams Tower (an oil company) this building was designed by the same guy who designed the Twin Towers in NYC.

This is new--built on old burned out riot land--after almost 90 years. I hope Tulsa people shed their out-dated views about race and religion. Time to move ahead and an arts center is a good start.

Okay I'm back on the River bike path. This is the old rail bridge across the Arkansas River. It dates from 1908 and remarkably it is still standing. I had ridden across this bridge even back in high school. You would have seen me riding that old 1977 Raleigh Super Grand Prix--which as you know I still have and use as my commuter bike in Tucson, Arizona.

The Tulsa skyline from the rail road bridge. Wow--this is burned in my memory forever.

The Arkansas River is cleaner and in better shape these days. From when I was riding here 30 years ago, it stank of oil and sulphur--from the refineries up the river in Sand Springs.

Holy Crap! No visit to Tulsa is complete without seeing the City of Faith!

I'm heading south on the Bike Path, mes amis, and what once was old Indian swamp land, the Creek Nation have built a Casino. Its big! Not my thing--but there was a lot of traffic this morning as I rode past!

The headliner tonight--remember their lead singer who wore that stupid headband? White boy trying to look all cool--on MTV back in the 80's...

No way! Its the old bridge that we used to take to see my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in Jenks. There's a new bridge and they saved the old one. Jenks is now pretty affluent--it used to be a shit hole I always thought--filled with red necks.

The City of Faith--Oral Roberts University. The Reverend Oral Roberts recently died in 2009. He was a big deal for a long time--up there with Billy Graham. But he got greedy and stole a lot of poor suffering folks money. Oh well, Rest in Peace, Preacher Man.

I'm taking in the healing vapors of the muddy, oily Arkansas River--graced by the City of Faith. I have come home, Gentle Readers of This Blog!

The River as I've always known it--wild, green, oily stenchy, and indifferent. Just flowing like an old man without a care.

Tulsa Boy

The River Park is very nice--it makes me glad to see these great changes. People are running and walking and biking, and staying fit! I see runners and walkers out on their lunch hour.

Back when the River Park was a little more rustic, this was my landmark on the trail to head back home. This is 36th and Riverside drive. The oak is still there right at the base of the power line tower. I'll be heading up the street for home.

Heading West up 36th Street. This is now designated as Tulsa's cross town bike route--for me 30 years ago, it always was. Still a bit narrow and dangerous but a bike route just the same.

The old house on 37th Pl., Tulsa, Oklahoma. My mom still lives here--actually she rented out this place for many years. Mom and Dad built a large home out in the suburbs but after Da passed away, the house was too big to keep up, so Mom sold it and moved back to our little place by Whiteside Park.

The neighbors still all live around, and Mrs. Gordon who lives next door, is now 94. She loved Callie and seeing me on the bike, like the old days. Her husband, Mr. Paul Gordon, was a Marine and veteran of WWII and the Pacific Theatre--Batan, Iwo Jima, and those other battles--he was a young Captain then, and by young I mean 21 years old. He was like a grandfather to my brother and me, and all the kids I grew up with on the block. I miss him terribly!

Thanks for riding along! Now back to home to Tucson in a few days, mes amis!

Cheers! Bruce

Friday, September 24, 2010

To the Pub

I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA--back home to see my family for a few days. My cousin, Sally was in town from Hawaii and it was great to see her! As it was my mom's and her's Birthday--we went to the "Pub" in Tulsa.

My Mom and Sally at the pub.

About the only thing British about the pub we went to, Gentle Readers of This Blog, is my cousin Sally. She grew up in Houndslow, outside London. To make a long story short, all the Chandlers living in England visited Hawaii. This was just after WWII. Sally's father Collin Butement, was actually from New Zealand. Anyway, they liked Hawaii so much that they decided to stay. As they're island people, Hawaii suited them fine--I actually find Oahu too crowded and Hawaii claustrophobic--nice to visit but I could never live there, mes amis.

Sally is the last of the family still living in Oahu--all the rest moved to New Zealand for jobs and education and not the Mainland (US) I've not met them but I believe there's a few cousins my age in Perth and Auckland and it would be fun to visit. Sally come to the Mainland US about every two years and then on to England to visit friends.

Some of the family--Mom, don't drink my Guinness!

Sally and Yours in the pub.

My Sis and Niece, Olivia...

God Bless the Queen and Cousin Sally!
Well, I hope you've enjoyed some of my vacation pictures!

Cheers! Bruce