Images of America - Tulsa: Where Streets Were Paved with Gold
Tulsa, Oklahoma, "the oil capital of the world," has a long and varied history. Evidence of a possible Norse presence dates to 1000 AD. An ancient people known as the Mound Builders populated the area, then disappeared just prior to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors in the 1540s. Osage Indians, as well as other members of the Five Tribes, called this part of Oklahoma home. French trappers made a brief appearance. Finally, outlaws like "Pretty Boy" Floyd and "Machine Gun" Kelly cooled their heels in Tulsa while running from the law in the 1930s. What Tulsa is really known for, however, is oil. The discovery of oil fields in Tulsa at the turn of the century caused an economic and social revolution. The formerly small town became a center of power, and fortunes worth millions of dollars were gained and lost. J. Paul Getty got his start in Tulsa along with his father, who was one of the first to ride Tulsa's tsunami-like oil wave. The town boomed through the 20s and 30s, and oil money built the town of Tulsa into the city it is today. Tulsa currently hosts a population of 380,000 people, and, in honor of its oil legacy, is home to one of the most prominent petroleum schools in the world.