Tulsa Mythbusters

by Kim Goodin, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 19th 2010 05:58 PM

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Tulsa, Oklahoma started life as an Old West town, but when oil was discovered on its border, the city rushed headlong into the next century. Until the Great Depression, Tulsa was wealthy and growing at a phenomenal rate. Our Tulsa mythbusters include a range of fun and unusual facts and trivia, from the "concrete" to the supernatural. Can you separate truth from urban legend in Tulsa?


1. Oklahoma has an official state cartoon, drawn by a Tulsa weatherman.


TRUE. The first state to have such a thing, the animated symbol was created by Tulsa weatherman Don Woods. He used 'Gusty' in his broadcasts for years, and the character was dubbed official in 2005.

2. Tulsa is the center of the universe.


TRUE. Well, sort of. It's actually an "acoustic anomaly." A brick circle on the Boston Street pedestrian bridge marks the spot. If you stand in the center of the circle and call out a word, you'll hear it echoed back to you (and much louder), but people outside the circle will not. It's a much discussed Tulsa urban myth that something magical will happen if you speak certain words in the circle.

3. One half of The Odd Couple went to Tulsa Central High School.


TRUE. Tony Randall, the finicky half of television's "The Odd Couple," (which was based on the play by Neil Simon), was born in Tulsa in 1920, and spent his formative years here.

4. At one time, Tulsa had the most productive oil fields in the world.


TRUE. This is no urban myth. Oil was discovered in Tulsa in 1901, and by 1907 the city was known as the oil capital of the world. The Glenn Pool oil field produced more oil in 1907 than any other oil field in the world.

5. Tulsa is home to "The Golden Driller," a large statue made of gold.


FALSE. Tulsa is home to "The Golden Driller," which is a large statue, but the statue is not made of gold. The statue, a 76-foot tall oil man, which welcomes folks to Expo Square, is actually constructed of concrete and is painted yellow. The name originates from the original statue which was made of metal and painted gold.

Expo Square
4609 E. 21st Street
Tulsa, OK 74114
918-744-1113
http://www.exposquare.com

6. Tulsa produces what many consider to be the finest Cajun meats in the U.S.


TRUE. A classic among Tulsa mythbusters. You wouldn't expect landlocked Tulsa to be a big market for Cajun foods, but Hebert's makes some of the country's most popular Cajun meats, including boudin, andouille and tasso ham.

Cajun Ed's Hebert's Specialty Meats
2101 E. 71st Street South
Tulsa, OK 74136
918-298-8400
http://www.hebertsmeats.com
Mon-Wed 10AM-7PM, Thu-Sat 10AM-8PM

7. Tulsa resident Cyrus Avery was known as the "Father of the U.S. highway system."


FALSE. Cyrus Avery was actually known as the "Father of Route 66," which is almost as good. Avery was instrumental in getting a coast-to-coast road built, and in fact argued successfully for the creation of a national highway system. The former 11th Street Bridge in Tulsa is now known as The Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge, in honor of the man's contributions.

8. Tulsa has about as much Art Deco architecture as New York City, Miami and Los Angeles.


TRUE. Although Miami Beach probably wishes it weren't so, this is one of those odd Tulsa mythbusters that is based on fact rather than urban legend. Tulsa has a surprising amount of Art Deco architecture, from the 1929 Boston Avenue Methodist Church (1301 S. Boston Ave.) to the 1931 Tulsa Union Depot (3 S. Boston Avenue). Unfortunately, the city lost about half of its architectural gems during the parking-lot-construction craze of the 1970s, but there are plenty of fine examples of the style still standing.

9. The ghost of Enrico Caruso haunts a theater in Tulsa.


UNDECIDED. Here's the story. We know that famed tenor Enrico Caruso performed at the Brady Theater in 1920. Tulsa urban legend says that J. Paul Getty took Caruso to see an oil well outside of town. The party was in a caravan of three cars, all of which broke down. Caruso was forced to walk back to Tulsa in the pouring rain in order to give his performance. Supposedly, Caruso believed that the infection that would eventually kill him was a direct result of his time in the cold rain, and placed the blame squarely on the theater. His vengeful ghost is said to haunt it to this day.

Brady Theater
105 W. Brady Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma
918-582-7239
http://www.bradytheater.com
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