Brookside area began as a part of the Creek Indian land just south of Tulsa. This land was granted to the Creek Nation in 1824. They were removed from Alabama to Indian Territory in about 1836. The name for Tulsa is said to be derived from the Creek language and was called Tulsey Town. The mixed blood Creek Nation Perryman family was one of the first families to settle in this area and operated the first post office in 1882 at the home of George Perryman near what is now 41st & Trenton. (A marker stands at this site today.)
Lewis Perryman came in 1884 and established a trading post along the Arkansas River. The Perrymans were an important Creek Nation family who once had a ranch encompassing more than 60,000 acres between Tulsa and Broken Arrow. A branch of the Chisholm Trail passed across Crow Creek near 32nd and Rockford. This was cattle country early on. Wagon tracks were still visible in the 1930′s.
Early Brookside was considered to be along the river from 32nd to 38th and over to Peoria. Its boundaries have changed many times and have settled today to the main strip along Peoria from 31st to 51st and from the Arkansas River to Lewis Ave. The “village” area is concentrated along Peoria from 32nd to 41st streets.
The “Brookside” name was first used by Guy Scroggs when he named his store Brookside Drug in 1940. The “brook” was presumed to be Crow Creek named for an early railroad president. Mr. Scroggs also is credited with beginning the “friendly neighborhood atmosphere” prevailing in this area with his policy of awarding free ice cream to good students from nearby Eliot Elementary School.
The first houses in this area were built in the 1920′s as Tulsa expanded south with its oil boom and with Tulsa pioneers building itself into the “Oil Capital of the World”.
During the 1940′s, early businesses were House of Frames and Nielson’s Exclusive Gifts store. Arthur Nielson opened his shop in Brookside. The area was known as one of the best places to shop with its great shops, many churches and good schools. It was also close to downtown and Woodward Park. City Veterinary Hospital was built in the Streamline style of Art Deco architecture in 1942. It was designed by Koberling and still operates today. This Streamline style was very prevalent in the Brookside neighborhood.
Following the end of the Second World War, another building boom began which brought a new generation of veterans, residents and businesses to this area and started the growth away from downtown. In this post war era, Brookside added new businesses:
Dunwell Cleaners, Ralph E. Johnson was founder and four generations of this family operated the cleaners until the late ‘90′s when it was transformed into a fine sushi restaurant.
Brookside State Bank, the fifth state bank chartered in Tulsa whose chairman was Howard G. Barnett. Today, this is the home of a branch of the Bank of Oklahoma.
As We Remember It
Brook Theater, a 600 seat movie theater was famous for its “Saturday afternoon matinees” and the longest run of the movie “South Pacific” in a single theater in Oklahoma—over one year! Since that time, it has served as the home of the American Theater Company for about 15 years and then was transformed by owner Jim Glass into The Brook restaurant and bar which operates today. Van’s Hamburgers, opened in ‘50′s in the same site as Claude’s Hamburgers is today.
Lewis Meyer Book Store, a very favorite place for book lovers located north of the Brook Theater and this space is now incorporated into the Brook restaurant on the corner.
Rich’s Furniture Store was at 34th and Peoria and was a favorite place to add to your home furnishings.
The Brookside Broadcast Center (now KJRH-TV) is another example of Streamline style of Art Deco architecture. This was designed by Koberling and Brandenbourg in 1956.
During the heyday of the 1950′s, Brookside became a place for high school students to gather with friends. This lead to the “Restless Ribbon” where cars packed with students cruised up and down Peoria, especially through Pennington’s Drive-In. Besides seeing friends, Pennington’s was famous for its fried shrimp, French fries and black bottomed pie.