Tulsa, Oklahoma, the seat of Tulsa County. It is on the Arkansas River in the northeastern part of the state and is Oklahoma's second-largest city.
Tulsa is a commercial, financial, and industrial center lying in one of the nation's earliest petroleum-producing regions. Although petroleum production in the Tulsa area has declined over the years, the city is still the site of offices for several hundred oil companies and associated firms, as well as a number of petroleum research and engineering centers. The aerospace and aviation industries are also of major importance; there are large manufacturing, maintenance, data-processing, and telecommunications facilities in the city.
Tulsa is the principal processing, wholesale, and shipping point for an agricultural area that produces livestock, grains, and cotton. It is also a regional transportation hub, served by three toll roads, including an Interstate highway; several major railroads; an international airport; and the navigable Verdigris-Arkansas river system.
In the downtown business district are the Civic Center (a cluster of federal, state, and local government buildings) and the Performing Arts Center, site of symphony, ballet, and opera performances. The Boston Avenue Methodist Church, with its 225-foot (69-m) tower, is a city landmark. Educational institutions include the University of Tulsa and Oral Roberts University.
Outstanding exhibits of American Indian art and history are displayed at the Philbrook Museum of Art and the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art. In nearby Claremore are the Will Rogers Memorial and the Davis Gun Museum. Mohawk Park has a zoo, two golf courses, picnic grounds, and boating facilities. The Tulsa Garden Center includes an arboretum and extensive dogwood and azalea plantings. Nearby are the Tulsa Rose Garden and the city's conservatory. Expo Square, east of the business district, is the site of the annual Tulsa State Fair.
Tulsa was part of the territory originally claimed for France by trader Bernard De la Harpe in 1719. It became a United States possession as a result of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
In the 1830's, Tulsa was a part of the land designated the Indian Territory by the federal government. Creek Indians, who had been removed from Alabama, founded a settlement at the site in 1836. The small trading village that arose was called Tulsey Town (after Tallasi, their Alabama settlement).
In 1879 a United States postal station was established here and given the name Tulsa. The first white settlers came after 1882, when the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway reached the settlement. It was incorporated in 1898. In 1900 Tulsa had only 1,390 residents. Discovery of oil in the area in the early 1900's launched a development boom. With the completion in 1971 of the Arkansas River Navigation System the city gained access to shipping from the Mississippi River. In the 1970's and 1980's the city experienced an oil boom, but by the 1990's the boom had largely ended.