A Guide to Surrounding Towns in Tulsa Oklahoma

Located east of Oklahoma City, Tulsa once proclaimed itself “The Oil Capital of the World” and even though the oil wells have slowed pumping, the area is diversified and growing. Tulsa is Tulsa County Seat and second largest city in Oklahoma at nearly 400,000. The county and parts of surroundings counties form the most densely populated area in the state. Being located in the heart of tornado alley and subject to frequent severe weather conditions has not dissuaded the metropolitan ares from numbering close to a million.

Broken Arrow is Tulsa’s largest suburb and Oklahoma’s fourth largest city with a population rapidly closing in on 100,000. The city began in 1902 as town lot sites sold by the railroad and named by railroad man William S. Fears. Broken Arrow was a sleepy little town until the 1960s when the Broken Arrow Expressway made the connection to downtown Tulsa 18 miles away prompting a continuing population boom as a bedroom community.

Five miles west of Tulsa on the Arkansas River, Sand Springs straddles Osage and Tulsa counties. The town was founded in 1911 when millionaire Charles Page purchased 160 acres for the intention of creating a community for widows and orphans. Sand Springs has evolved into an affluent bedroom community of 19,000.

Sapulpa is Creek County seat and boasts a population of over 20,000. The city was named after the Creek indian who established a trading post in 1850 and the railroad arrived in 1886. The 1905 oil boom sparked growth and later the town became an important agriculture shipping center. Sapulpa is home to the famed Frankoma Pottery Company.

Situated southwest of Tulsa on the Arkansas River is Jenks with a population count of 17,000. Beginning life in 1904 as a railroad weigh station and Jenks prospered from the oil boom as an oil storage facility. The city became a strong farming and livestock center. Jenks now bills itself as the antique capital of Oklahoma and home of Oklahoma Aquarium.

Catoosa may only have 8,000 in population but has played a vital role in the area as an inland seaport. The Cherokee name town is the Tulsa port of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. Pawhuska (pop. 4,000) is Osage County seat and capital of America’s wealthiest tribe, the Osage Nation. Named after an Osage chief, the town claims to fame are home of America’s first Boy Scout troop and location of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize winning play “August: Osage County.”

Rogers County seat Claremore is the town setting for the famed Broadway musical “Oklahoma!” The Osage first settled the spot in 1802 and the name was changed from Clermont to Claremore in 1882. Claremore is home town to Oklahoma’s favorite son and legendary humorist Will Rogers. His family was long established in the area thus the county and state university named after them. Claremore is growing at almost 16,000. Rogers was actually born on a ranch nearby Oolagah which is a tiny community of less than 1,000.

Owasso (pop. 35,000) has a famous resident rancher in Garth Brooks. Some 47 miles north of Tulsa is Bartlesville (pop. 35,000) which is headquarters of Phillips Petroleum Company (now owned by Conoco). Glenpal (pop. 11,000) has traveled from oil town to bedroom community. Inola (pop. 1,600) calls itself “The Hay Capital of the World.” Surrounding rural communities are Colllinsville (pop. 5,600), Mannford (pop. 3,000), Coweta (pop. 6,000), Betts (pop. 1,300) and Mounds (pop. 1,100).