Glenpool, a Tulsa suburb, is located east of the junction of West 141st Street and U.S. Highway 75 in the southwestern quadrant of Tulsa County. Glenpool, noted for its location near and its identity with one of the world's largest oil fields, had its start after the Glenn Pool oil strike in 1905. Wildcatter Robert Galbreath arrived in Redfork, Indian Territory, on June 28, 1901. By 1902 he had procured a lease near the Sue A. Bland well. While working in the Red Fork fields, he believed that there was a larger field to be tapped further south. In summer 1901 he met with Robert Glenn and noted a limestone ridge that was soaked in oil. Galbreath was convinced of the field's potential. On April 22, 1905, he procured a lease from Robert and Ida E. Glenn for 160 acres. By October 1905 drilling was underway, and on November 22, 1905, they struck oil at a depth of 1,481 feet. The Glenn Pool Field was one of the largest oil finds in the Southwest.
By 1906 twelve families clustered in a settlement originally called Glenn. That year the Midland Valley Railroad constructed a line between the settlement and Jenks in order to transport the oil to outside markets. By 1907 the area's population had grown to approximately three thousand. In 1907 R. J. and Pearl Barber Stewart deeded approximately forty acres of land near the present intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and West 141st Street to F. Markle and M. T. Self. They platted the first lots, and on January 31, 1908, renamed the town Glenpool. A post office was also established on that date. John Burt, Sr., from Oklahoma City, purchased the remainder of the allotment and the majority of the platted lots that formed the original townsite.
By 1908 Glenpool's first school enrolled two hundred fifty children in the newly formed district. It had the distinction of being Oklahoma's richest school district. By 1909-10 the city had an estimated five hundred inhabitants. Early-day businesses included the Rumrill State Bank, the Ridgeway Hotel, telephone and telegraph providers, restaurants, stores, and other businesses. In 1916 the Midland Valley Railroad extended its line from Glenpool to Kiefer, another shipping point. Rail service from Glenpool to Jenks and Kiefer was abandoned on February 12, 1936.
In 1920 the first federal census for Glenpool reported 428 individuals. Population declined until 1960. Thus, the 1930, 1940, and 1950 censuses indicated 310, 284, and 280 persons, respectively. Despite this drop in population Glenpool continued to have ties to the oil industry. However, by 1932 Tidal Oil Company and Moon Gas Company were the only major oil businesses listed in an Oklahoma Department of Labor directory.
After World War II building booms occurred in the 1950s and the 1970s. Glenpool's population rose to 353 in 1960. In 1970 numbers had more than doubled to 770. By 1980 the 1970s oil boom had pushed the population to 2,706, more than tripling the 1970 figure. Glenpool has continued to grow, and in 1990 the population hit 6,688. In 2000 the city boasted 8,123 inhabitants. Major employers included Champagne Metals and the Glenpool school district. Except for Glenpool's small retailers, restaurants, and service providers, Tulsa businesses provided the majority of the employment base for Glenpool workers. On November 22, 2005, Glenpool celebrated the centennial of the Glenn Pool discovery. The city annually holds a Black Gold Days festival with arts and crafts, concerts, a carnival, a parade, and other events. At the beginning of the twenty-first century Glenpool maintained a council-manager form of town government.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Kenny A. Franks, The Rush Begins: A History of the Red Fork, Cleveland, and Glenn Pool Oil Fields (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1984). Frank Galbreath, Glenn Pool . . . and a Little Oil Town of Yesteryear (N.p.: Privately printed, 1978). Tulsa County Historic Sites (Tulsa, Okla.: Indian Nations Council of Governments, 1982).
Carl N. Gregory
© Oklahoma Historical Society