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Photo: Valerie Grant

Blue Dome District

Where

136-198 South Elgin Avenue

Tulsa, OK 74120

Locate

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What

The Blue Dome District comprises 17 blocks in the northeast corner of downtown Tulsa. The area’s construction and commercial use was based around a railroad hub that has since been reduced to four visible tracks. In 1926—seven years before it was rerouted down 11th Street—Route 66 passed through the Blue Dome District on 2nd Street, Detroit and part of Elgin. The new motorist traffic in the area brought with it the construction of gas stations, auto shops and service stations. 

The only surviving example in the District is the famous Blue Dome Building from which the District gets its name. The Blue Dome Building is now privately owned, but originated in 1912 as White Star Gulf Oil Station. The gas station was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; it was the first station in Oklahoma to have hot water, pressurized air and a car wash; and the station’s attendant lived under the dome on the second floor. 

When railroad use declined, the District’s heavy commercial use also diminished. The progression from an area of industry to a burgeoning urban hub occurred in waves that started during the Great Depression and ebbed after the 1980s Oil Glut. 

Today, a revitalization of business in the area has resulted in the Blue Dome District becoming one of Tulsa’s most popular gathering places. During the spring, the Blue Dome Arts Festival is sponsored by Tulsa businesses and nonprofits. Tents line the street featuring the work of Oklahoma artist’s, businesses and restaurants open their doors and offer specials and bands perform in the evenings. Year-round, on the second Saturday of every month, the Blue Dome Music Series features local musicians playing free concerts at rotating venues. With its historic building, restaurants, local retailers and bars and clubs—the Blue Dome District has an abundance to offer between Cincinnati, Greenwood, 1st and 4th Street.