Brick by Brick

Back in January of 2017 I wrote about my paternal 2nd great grandfather, William LARKIN. To give you an idea of my line of descent from William, I descend from William’s son Ralph (my great grandfather), and Ralph’s daughter Audrey (my paternal grandmother). You can refresh yourself on that post by clicking here: William Larkin: Farmer, Mine Owner, and Road Paver. Ever since that post I’ve been wanting to photograph a few sites that were relevant to that post and to William. I wondered in that post whether any of the brick roads (whether built by William or not) were still present in Tulsa. In the above blog post I mentioned another blog (Tulsa Gal). I asked Tulsa Gal some of my questions- were there still any brick streets left in Tulsa and where would they be, would it be possible to acquire a street brick if any were left and how would I go about doing that, etc. Tulsa Gal used to be a volunteer for the Tulsa Historical Society so I figured she may know the answers to my questions. Alas, she couldn’t answer any of them.

Recently I drove a family member to the airport in Tulsa so they could catch a flight and I found myself with some extra time so I decided it was as good a day as any to go “on location” and get some photographs. Plus, I loved the Tulsa downtown skyline shrouded in fog.

Downtown Tulsa skyline in fog.

I’d like to share those photos with you in this blog post.

Photo set 1, Roosevelt Elementary School (also seen on some maps as Roosevelt Junior High) now sits where Tulsa Vitrified Brick Company sat when my 2nd great grandfather worked there. [I failed to get the front of the building as I wasn’t familiar with the area and the area was a little sketchy (less so than the Nogales neighborhood though) so I just wanted to get photos and get out. You can see the front of the building at the following locations: Google maps (street view) using the address 1202 W Easton, Tulsa, OK, Tulsapeople.com, or on this Flickr account.]

North half of the building that’s facing Quanah Avenue.
Closer view of Quanah Avenue side of the building.
South half of the building that’s facing Quanah Avenue.
Northeast side entrance facing downtown.
Entire Quanah side of the building. It’s a huge building.
Tulsa Vitrified Brick Company, 1907. Photo comes from the Beryl Ford Collection at Tulsa City-County Library and can be found online at http://cdm15020.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15020coll1/i
d/16998/rec/1.

At okhistory.org I found this great image of the interior area of a brick plant taken around the turn of the century.

Found at https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=BR014 and attributed to “17833, Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Collection, OHS”.
There were lots of old brick buildings. This one is across the street (Quanah) from the school.
This one is one block East of the school.

Polk’s 1910 City Directory gives the address of the Tulsa Vitrified office as Olympia and MKT Railway. This location is 1 block west and 2 blocks north of where William lived and the Sand Springs Expressway separates what was once the brick plant and what was once the Tulsa Vitrified office. See map below.

#1 is the old Tulsa Vitrified brick plant which is now Roosevelt School. #2 is the Tulsa Vitrified office location. #3 is where William lived. #4 is where you can find exposed brick paving on Tulsa downtown streets. This map is from http://www.abandonedrails.com/Missouri-Kansas-Texas_Railroad which is where I went to try to locate the old MKT Railroad location.
This is the south end of the long narrow lot where William lived. The entire lot is empty now as is the lot south of William’s.
Side yard of what was William’s lot at 121 N Nogales.
William had the corner lot at Nogales and Archer. The house in this photo is just East of William’s lot and is one of the very few houses that wasn’t boarded up and abandoned.

So far, we’ve talked about every location I photographed except the exposed brick paving on Tulsa streets. Yes- you CAN find old brick paving that is exposed on Tulsa streets! I found it on North Cheyenne Avenue around the Archer and/or Brady street intersections. I can’t be more specific as I had just left the Nogales street neighborhood which is very sketchy and I was somewhat jittery and nervous. I can now tell you from experience that that place is WELL outside my comfort zone when I’m traveling alone and no one really knows where I’ve gone. You can see the brick paving photos below.

Intersection. I’m pretty sure it was Brady and Cheyenne.
There were nice large sections of exposed brick paving.

There is one more thing we haven’t discussed and that’s how I go about getting a Tulsa Vitrified brick. Well, apparently they do occasionally get sold here and there by collectors. There was no photograph that accompanied this sale and I didn’t want to create an account just to check it out (although it does say ebay so perhaps you can go there and begin your search for a brick). However, I will share the website address where I first encountered someone selling a Tulsa Vitrified brick: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/19c-tulsa-i-t-marked-indian-territory-oklahoma-1. One of us needs to have a Tulsa Vitrified brick!!

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Resources I used for this blog post include the links above as well as:

Tulsa City-County Library (Polk’s 1910 City Directory for Tulsa, OK) at http://cdm15020.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15020coll12/id/1603/rec/1

I reviewed Steve Morse’s site to make sure that street names hadn’t changed over the years so I knew I was giving you the correct locations. You can find his site at https://stevemorse.org/census/changes/TulsaChanges.htm.

Background history of the Owen Park area: http://tulsapreservationcommission.org/owen-park-properties/

http://www.tulsapreservationcommission.org/pdf/bookletowenpark.pdf

https://www.livingplaces.com/OK/Tulsa_County/Tulsa_City/Owen_Park_Historic_District.html

And, Wikipedia for a little background information when I was trying to find the path of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway line. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri–Kansas–Texas_Railroad

I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog post today. Some days and some tasks seem so overwhelming. I’m feeling the ‘overwhelm’ today. When you’re feeling that way remember William the brick paver. He helped build a road but he didn’t build it all at once. He only laid one brick at a time, brick by brick by brick. Breathe in, breathe out, and lay one more brick. That’s how we get it done. I hope your week is fabulous!

Your companion bricklayer,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

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