City in northeast Oklahoma, USA, on the Arkansas River, 460 km/287 mi northeast of Oklahoma City; population (2000) 393,000. It is situated in a hilly area of artificial lakes, just east of the confluence of the Arkansas and Cimarron rivers. The city is an oil-producing and aerospace centre; other industries include mining and the manufacture of machinery, metals, cars, textiles, processed foods, and cement.
Tulsa was founded by members of the American Indian Creek people in 1836, and named after Tallasi, their former capital in Alabama. Oil was discovered by prospectors from Pennsylvania in 1901.
Catoosa, a major deepwater port on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation system, lies nearby. It is the westernmost inland port in the USA and head of navigation on the system which links the Tulsa region to the Great Lakes and Gulf of Mexico.
Architecture Tulsa's fine art deco architecture stems from its rapid expansion in the 1920s as a prosperous oil town. Examples include the 320 Boston Building, formerly known as the ‘Oil Bank of America’; the Philtower, a 1920s skyscraper; the Union Depot; and the Boston Avenue Methodist Church.
Features Educational foundations include the University of Tulsa (1894) and Oral Roberts University (1965). The city has orchestra, ballet, and opera companies, a zoological park, and numerous museums, including the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art and the Philbrook Museum of Art, both featuring displays of American Indian culture. The Rebecca and Gershon Fenster Gallery of Jewish Art contains one of the largest collections in the USA. The annual state fair is held at Expo Square.
Creek Council Oak commemorates the spot where Tulsa was founded; it remained a meeting site and ceremonial ground until 1896.