I want to show you a tree. An historic tree that I can see right from my office. What I have to say about it is a little graphic. So if you are little delicate you may not want to read any further.
Do you see it? Tucked in there on the other side of the BOK Center, where the NCAA tournament was playing this weekend, next to the Inner Dispersal Loop. It is not in a good neighborhood. Lots of abandoned buildings, the county jail and the Day Center for the Homeless are right down the road. Lets go get a closer look.
The tree has always looked alive to me in a scary kind of way. This tree is known locally as the Creek Hanging Tree. According to the book, “Tulsa’s Haunted Memories” by Teri French, between 15 and 20 people were executed by hanging from the tree between 1870 and 1889. One time three cattle rustlers were hung at the same time. I read somewhere else, but cannot find the reference, that the tree is right next to the original railroad and a passenger train pulled through right after the execution and the sight of three men hanging there made quite an impression on the train passengers. I don’t know if that is true but it makes a good story.
Tulsa portrays itself as a very sophisticated city. It is, we have the Philbrook and Gilcrease museums, Opera and Ballet companies. It is also home to the Tulsa Race Riot which some call the worst ever in the United States. Machine Gun Kelly and Pretty Boy Floyd spent some time in the area. Tulsa has rough side in its history that I find fascinating. The hanging tree is one of the remnants.