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Photo: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.

The Arkansas River's First Bridge


Newblock Park Trail

Tulsa, OK 74127


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Tulsa’s business leaders, who formed a Commercial Club in 1902, envisioned Tulsa as a base of operation for the oilmen in Red Fork. Though drillers hadn’t struck oil in Tulsa, it could still benefit handsomely from the wealth surrounding it. 

On January 2, 1904, three Tulsans pooled their funds and constructed a toll bridge across the Arkansas River creating easy access from the Red Fork oil fields to Tulsa. 

When the bridge was completed they strung a sign, which declared, “They said we couldn’t do it, but we did,” alluding to failed attempts to secure enough capital for its construction. Angie Debo summed up their declaration writing, “It would have been hard to find a better expression of the Tulsa spirit.”

As featured in “Tulsa: Oil Capital of the World" written by James O. Kemm and published by Arcadia Publishing, best known for its iconic "Images of America" series, which chronicles the history of small towns and downtowns across the country.