1920 - Our first space began as the Tulsa County Poor Farm, where people worked for their food. It eventually became too expensive to maintain.
1958 - Oilman J.A. LaFortune saw the potential of the land and donated $250,000 to Tulsa County to build a park. He did so because he “wanted to give back to the city that had been so good to me.”
1958 - LaFortune’s passion for the creation of public county parks extended to his friend Claude Chandler, who he convinced to donate 100 acres of his quarry for a west side park. This area was called the Lost City park area.
1959 - Next, the county purchased 88 acres in North Tulsa County for $50,000 to build Northside County Park.
1960 - On October 16, 1960, LaFortune Park was opened to the public. As the first county park in Oklahoma, it featured a premiere golf course, clubhouse, playgrounds, tennis courts, a swimming pool and baseball diamonds.
1961 - The Lost City park area is renamed to Chandler Park and officially becomes the county’s second park. It is mainly used as a picnic area until the late 1960s, when a miniature golf course, baseball diamonds and tennis courts were added.
1962 - Northside County Park opened to the public and was mainly used as a picnic area with six concrete picnic tables. In 1966 the park was renamed to O’Brien Park in memory of Commissioner Frank O’Brien.
1970-1985 - Tulsa County acquired 170 acres of property at 113th & Garnett Rd. that would become Haikey Creek Park, named after Opotheleyahola Creek tribal member C. Ben Haikey.
1975 - The Tulsa County Parks Department was created to manage a rapidly growing county population with an increased demand for parks.
1978 - The first Bixby Community Center opened. The Tulsa County Parks and the City of Bixby partnered in building and managing a new indoor pool, 25 meters, 6 lanes, one meter diving board, 300 seating capacity. It moved in 2003 to a renovated grocery store.
1981 - The Glenpool Community Center opened. Then in 2006, the City of Glenpool purchased 16 acres at 13800 S. Peoria. Tulsa County’s Board of County Commissioners earmarked Vision 2025 economic development dollars to reimburse Glenpool. When built, it was originally named the Jenks/Glenpool Community Center, but changed its name to South County Recreation Center in 2012.
The story continues...