Fast Facts

James L. Henkle, associate professor of the school of art at the University of Oklahoma designed the screen on commission from the Tulsa Historical Society.  In the center of the screen is a stylized turtle, made of oxidized copper.  Surrounding it, in braised brass, polished brass and copper, are flame forms representing the sacred fire of the Creek Indians, Tulsa’s first citizens.  The screen weighs more than 500 pounds and is currently located on the second floor of the Central Library.
The bronze plaque mounted on the oak leaves of the screen was originally placed on the Council Oak Tree (18 Street and South Cheyenne Avenue) by the Tulsa D.A.R. chapter in 1923.  In 1965 the plaque was given to the Tulsa Historical Society for fear of it being vandalized.    On July 1, 1965, the plaque and “Place of the Turtles” screen was dedicated on the 3rd floor of the Central Library to identify the then  location of the Tulsa County Historical Society headquarters and archives.

Source: Tulsa World, May 1, 1965; p. 1; Tulsa County Historical Society Dedicatory Program, July 1, 1965.

In May 2013, the American Indian Resource Center moved from Central Library to Zarrow Regional Library (2224 W. 54th ST, Tulsa). Central Library closed in August 2013 for a two-year major renovation. In March 2014 the ‘Place of the Turtles’ screen was erected at Zarrow Regional Library. The American Indian Resource Center and its Turtle screen will remain at Zarrow Regional Library.


The following words are imbedded in the wall at the head of the staircase on the second floor of the Central Library and were written by American author, Clarence Day.  The Central Library opened in June 1965.

The World of Books…
Is the most remarkable creation of man
nothing else that he builds ever lasts
monuments fall
nations perish
civilizations grow old and die out
and after an era of darkness
new races build others
but in the world of books are volumes
that have seen this happen again and again
and yet live on
still young
still as fresh as the day they were written
still telling men’s hearts
of the hearts of men centuries dead.

Clarence Day
Dedicated June 1965

Source: Tulsa Tribune, May 22, 1965; Tulsa Tribune, June 29, 1965

“Twenty –first at Riverside”, the city’s first inner urban mural, was designed by Herb Robb, an artist of the Chilton Group.  Located on the 4th Floor of the Central Library in the Research Center, the design is in the form of a mosaic, with 38,400 squares that form the bridge and its surroundings.    Macs Abney volunteered to apply paint to each square – a task that took about eight months working nights and weekends – after his regular job which was painting outdoor signs.  The mural was first introduced at a public viewing at 4pm on Tuesday, March 3, 1981.  Contributors included: Ed Sutherland, Don-Rey Outdoor Advertising Company and Ben Floyd, Fourth National Bank.

Source: Tulsa World, February 27, 1981.


“Blue Lift 1999” was designed by Tulsa artist Linda Allen.  Created on the north wall adjacent to the ground-level, south elevator, the mosaic is made up of tesserea, a blue, Italian glass tile.  Allen received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in art from the University of Tulsa, and she began her career in ceramics and clay in 1981.  Allen, who was assisted by her daughter-in-law, Katheryn Allen, also created mosaics for the Mayo Demonstration School, Woodland Hills Mall, Tulsa Community College – West Campus, Utica Plaza Building, the Tulsa Zoo, and the Littlefield Office Building.

Source: Tulsa World, December 15, 1999, Midtown Tulsa Zone section, page 1.


Central Library and the regional libraries, i.e. Hardesty Regional, Martin Regional, Rudisill Regional and Zarrow Regional will open on Sunday, September 9, 2012, and will be open from 1 to 5 on Sundays through May 19, 2013 with the exception of December 16, 23 and 30, 2012, and March 31, 2013.
The summer 2013 schedule is as follows: Hardesty Regional, Martin Regional, Zarrow Regional and Rudisill Regional will be open Sundays June 2- August 25 from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Source: Tulsa City-County Library Director's Office. 

Bixby - 20,884
Broken Arrow - 98,850
Collinsville - 5,606
Glenpool - 10,808
Jenks - 16,924
Owasso - 28,915
Sand Springs - 18,906
Skiatook - 7,397
Sperry - 1,206
Tulsa - 391,906
For additional Oklahoma demographic information, please search the Department of Commerce's website under - Data & Research, Demographic & Population Data.

Source: Oklahoma Department of Commerce, 2010 Census. Verified, 6/12. 

Access to Tulsa County Land Records is available to anyone for a subscription fee. Through the Tulsa County Clerk's Office one can arrange a subscription. The phone number is (918)596-5206.
It is possible to view some Land Records information for free using this web link: Just click on one of the links listed under "Tulsa County Land Records".
Source Tulsa County Clerk's Office and The Research Center of the Tulsa City County Library, Verified, 5/11. 


Library supporters and a few distinguished guests dedicated NatureWork's wild turkeys monument which was placed near Central Library's Plaza Entrance at 5th and Denver. NatureWorks, a Tulsa-based group, provided funding for this project and dedicated the monument in honor of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The large bronze sculpture - named "Rio Grande Turkeys" and sculpted by Montana artist Ron Lowery - depicts three wild turkeys moving together through tall grass. The monument was dedicated on May 7, 2009, and the cost was roughly $45,000, plus another $8,000 for the work to erect the statue.
Source Library Staff; "Bear sightings getting closer", TW, 5/19/09, p.B3. 

At the northeast corner of Central Library near the north entrance is a memorial walk-way and small garden area in honor of Charles Norman, a local attorney and long-time library supporter. Mr. Norman donated hours of legal service to the library and was one of the architects of the "1% for art" ordinance that requires new public building budgets to include 1% of construction costs for the purchase of art. The memorial was designed by Carl Szafranski of Szafranski-Pugh & Associates, Inc., with the middle piece of the mosaic showcasing the letter N for Norman. The blue tile paving pieces create a terrazzo walkway that matches blue tile inside Central Library.
Source Library staff; "Timeless Contribution", TW, 1/10/09; Verified, 9/11. 

Central Library construction was completed in 1965. W.C. Roads was the engineer and W.R. Grimshaw was the general contractor. With built-in equipment, the building cost $1,864,111 or $13.76 per square foot. The total cost was $2,735,269. The building had: 135,443 square feet of gross floor area with room to expand another 65,000 square feet; open shelf capacity for 265,000 volumes; closed stack and storage capacity for 250,000 more volumes.

Source Tulsa City-County Library 1912-1991, Okt 027.476686 L125t 1992.