The earliest Oklahoma settlers date back to the Ozark Bluff Dwellers. They lived in the northeastern part of Oklahoma known as Green Country. The Native American population came to the area in 1836 by way of the infamous Trail of Tears. Their journey ended beneath the branches of the Council Oak Tree, located on the east side of the Arkansas River. It was here that many decided to make their home. They called their settlement Tallahassee. Today this spot is located at 18th and Cheyenne near Downtown Tulsa. The “Five Civilized Tribes” – Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Seminoles – all came to the area. They brought with them their ideas of trading and commerce. These ideas influenced and shaped the Tulsa area as well as the state of Oklahoma.
For the next decade, the area remained untamed wilderness, with only a few settlers and mostly Native Americans. In 1846, Lewis Perryman built a log cabin trading post near what is now 33rd Street and South Rockford Avenue. Perryman, who was part Creek, established a business foothold in the rugged frontier until the Civil War, which war forced many residents to flee the area.
Fortunately, the reconstruction period after the war contributed to the growth of the area. In 1879 the first Post Office opened, followed by the arrival of the railroad. By this time, the area became known as Tulsey Town as it grew into a trading post and cattle town.
It wasn’t until the establishment of the Post Office in March 1879 that the name Tulsa was adopted as the growing city’s name. In 1882, Tulsa’s population was about 200. By the time the city was incorporated on January 18, 1898, the population had grown to 1,100.
In 1905, Tulsa began to build houses, businesses, and water systems to prepare for the arrival of the people who would harvest the reward of the discovery of oil. During this time period, Tulsa became known as the Oil Capital of the World.
It was not until after World War II that an increase in offshore drilling operations affected the petroleum industry. Fortunately, the aircraft and aerospace industry was beginning to blossom. American Airlines built a major maintenance center and SABRE reservation system relocated from New York to Tulsa. To date, there are more than 300 aviation-related companies in Tulsa.
Another major means of transportation arrived in Tulsa in 1970, when the Tulsa Port of Catoosa opened. This linked Tulsa with the rest of the world via river navigation to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. Such advancements have made Tulsa a diverse city full of opportunity. Several national corporations and international corporations have proudly made Tulsa their home.