I love my neighborhood. I live north of downtown Tulsa in an area built largely from 1905 to the mid-1920′s. While I technically live in an addition coined Grandview Place II, I consider my neighborhood the area south of Pine Street, west of Cincinnati, north of Fairview (or the IDL) and east of the LL Tisdale Expressway (area highlighted by dotted turquoise line).
I wasn’t searching for a new place to live in Tulsa, but found myself leaving work downtown and driving up Denver to wander around Reservoir Hill (another much-loved neighborhood for a future post) and came across this house. Let me tell you, there was not much to look at, the yard was hidden under 4′ of debris and overgrown and the house similarly held lots of collections and various items. It had been in a somewhat dis-assembled state with no kitchen and various other “remodeling” projects. And we went for it. The neighborhood that is. We felt a possibility here that I have not encountered in many other parts of Tulsa. It was here that I felt we could truly make a difference. When it is all said and done, we may end up only saving a handful of properties, but I will be proud of that.
I have trouble writing about my dreams for this place. There is so much potential in this small space. We are within 10 minutes of Tulsa Country Club, OSU Tulsa, River Parks, Blue Dome District, Brady Arts District, Driller’s Stadium, the BOK Center, Gilcrease Museum, the Osage Hills and the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Gardens. Most of these are within 2 minutes or less. I haven’t even started to mention things like this but I have to stop here or you won’t even read to the good stuff.
Olsen Ranch in Osage Hills, Image from Ron Shufflebarger
A little about Brady Heights Historic District. It encompasses parts of the following neighborhood districts which are in the southwest section of the outlined area above. Hail, North Tulsa, Burgess, Brady Heights and Pouder and Pomeroy. Grandview Place II is one block north. The district is bordered to the east by parts of Hail and North Tulsa but most of the land is now vacant lots and is owned by University Center and Tulsa Authority. I think this is our lost link for providing a true pedestrian and biking experience to downtown. Talk about potential, I only wish I could show you how it appears in my dreams – a mixed use zone with residential, retail, and grocery markets.
The Historic District includes a variety of architectural styles including Folk Victorian, Foursquare, Georgia Revival, Folk Queen Anne, Italian Renaissance Revival, Prairie School, a Neoclassic Mansion, Dutch Colonial and Craftsman Bungalow. The variety can be found throughout my neighborhood, although outside of the district may not be quite as grand or preserved, yet certainly attainable (meaning: come buy one!). I do appreciate and understand the convenience of living in a newly built house, but yearn for the diversity these homes provide. If you haven’t driven through this area in awhile, take a spin. You’ll pass 4 churches, a community garden, a couple of commercial buildings (one of which hopes to be a grocery store someday) and all of the architectural styles I mentioned above.
The history here is rich and although some sad and disappointing, quite fascinating and enlightening. We still have a chance to save these places and be the city we were on the path to be, to enjoy our city to the full potential. I believe we are still that first-tier boom town city, and are finding our way back.
I apologize for lack of pictures of my neighborhood. Please explore starting from the Brady Heights website and if local, take a drive in and around downtown. I think many Tulsans would be surprised by their findings.