Greenwood Historical District

131 N Greenwood Ave
Tulsa, OK 74120

Greenwood Historical District

131 N Greenwood Ave
Tulsa, OK 74120
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The Greenwood Historic District in north Tulsa is one of the most culturally notable parts of the city. This historic neighborhood was where Count Basie first heard big band music and was also the inspiration for the name of The GAP Band, a famous funk group. Most significantly, Greenwood was once one of the most affluent African American communities in the United States with a population of over 10,000 people.

In the early 1900s, wealthy African American land owner O.W. Gurley moved from Arkansas to Tulsa and bought 40 acres of land. He sold sections of this land to other African Americans, and the settlement grew as Oklahoma became a state. Entrepreneur J.B. Stradford also helped build the area, adding popular black owned businesses and fostering a sense of community among residents. The area thrived, and the main thoroughfare on Greenwood Avenue was known as “Black Wall Street” by the 1920s. Black doctors, lawyers and businessmen held offices along this street.

In 1921, the Tulsa Race Massacre became one of the worst acts of violence spurned by racism in American history. In less than 48 hours, roughly 40 blocks of businesses and homes were burned down, and over 200 African Americans lost their lives. Against all odds, the community prevailed. During the mid-1920s, the area was rebuilt and soon thrived again. Jazz and blues music could be heard throughout restaurants and clubs, and more businesses were built than ever before. Since then, some of the area has been lost to urban expansion and construction, particularly the addition of a highway.

Today, many historic sites bring people to this significant part of Tulsa. Learn about the vast history of the Greenwood District at the Greenwood Cultural Center and the Mabel B. Little Heritage House, and see original buildings from the 1920s and 30s in Greenwood Centre, known as “Deep Greenwood." The Guess Building survived the Race Massacre and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Be sure to see John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, a beautiful memorialization of those affected by the 1921 massacre.

Along with historic attractions, visitors today can also catch a Tulsa Drillers game at the ONEOK Field, see contemporary artworks at Living Arts Tulsa, and enjoy a variety of unique diners and eateries in the area.





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