Spavinaw: How Water Saved Tulsa

Spavinaw: How Water Saved Tulsa

NOW CLOSED – October 2014 – November 2015

When water began flowing through the Spavinaw Water System on November 17, 1924, it ended a long and hard-fought battle about the source of Tulsa’s water. It became apparent at the beginning of the oil boom that the previous sources of water were neither large nor clean enough to support a growing city. Bottled-water businesses sprang up around town and newspaper editors voiced their opinions on a daily basis.

In the end, a $7.5 million dollar bond issue brought water to Tulsa from 55 miles away thanks to one of the biggest and most expensive engineering projects the country had ever seen. This exhibit will tell the story of how the Spavinaw Water System delivered water to Tulsa and the role it played in allowing the city to become the Oil Capital of the World.

  • UPPER SPAVINAW DAM GENERAL MAP
  • Courtesy of City of TulsaBottom of Shaft - Station 40
  • Workers laying the water main from Reservoir Hill into Tulsa, 1924
  • Miners trim out the Tiawah Tunnel to prepare for setting concrete forms