Nestled among the trees, just west of Tulsa, this picturesque little city with rolling hills and a quaint downtown is getting ready to celebrate. May 2012 marks Sand Spring’s 100th birthday.
But the town’s roots go back further. The earliest known settlement in the Sand Springs area dates back to 1826 when the Cherokee Indians came through on the Trail of Tears. White settlers subsequently pushed them out, and only their small burial ground was left behind. It now stands in the middle of the Keystone Plaza.
The “modern” history of Sand Springs began in 1908, making it the newest town in Tulsa County. Wealthy oilman Charles Page bought a 160-acre tract of land on which he built a home for orphaned children. Because the site was hard to reach due to the hilly terrain, Page built the Sand Springs Railway. In 1911, it was decided to make use of the railway and turn Sand Springs into a suburb of Tulsa. Page laid out the original town site of over 160 acres west of his home property. He designated the flat land for industrial uses and the hilly land for living purposes. Sand Springs was incorporated in 1912 with a population of 400.
In a few short months, Sand Springs had become a major industrial and manufacturing town. By 1927, Sand Springs was known as the leading industrial city in Oklahoma.
Over the years, Sand Springs has continued to grow and now encompasses a population of more than 17,000 residents. While there are still some manufacturing plants left, Sand Springs is largely focused on promoting small businesses and has a very active Chamber of Commerce.
A centennial committee is busily preparing for the next May’s birthday observance.
“We wanted to start early to have enough time to put on a celebration worthy of our town,” says Sand Springs economic development director Terry Walters.
“Our citizens are proud of Sand Springs and we want as many people to be involved as possible.”
The celebration will take place during the month of May 2012, and the committee is currently deciding on a logo.
“We hosted a community-wide call for logo ideas,” says Walters. “As of today, we have more than 100 submissions.”
The committee is hoping that all community groups, such as youth sports, churches and organizations, will each host their own “celebration” at some point during the year to honor Sand Springs turning 100.
Walters says they are working on getting a group of “notable citizens,” such as Sam Harris, to perform during the ceremonies. They are also working with Discoveryland to organize some special activities as well.
Although the committee is already hard at work, Walters says the more the merrier.
“To put on an event of this magnitude, it will take hundreds of volunteers,” he says.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering for the celebration or serving on the committee should contact Terry Walters at 918.246.2504.