Every town has its organizations. The communities and towns of Southwest Tulsa were no exception. Many of them were formed, and died after the initial spark or leaders moved on to other things. A few of them became institutions that have continually made an impact on both the people and the community.
Early Organizations of Note
Church Sponsored Organizations
Mentioned by Rev Clock
Oak Heights Home Extension Club
Oak Heights was organized May 15, 1953 in a meeting at the home of Mrs. E. P. Hahn, after community women surveyed at the first meeting indicated an interest in forming a club.
Records show Gladys Thompson, Home Demonstration Agent, thanked Mrs. Marie Sittler for holding that informational meeting in her home.
Early programs were on Decorating with Assurance, and framing and hanging pictures. July 30, 1953, they held an ice cream social to raise funds to send a delegate to the farm home conference in Stillwater and bolster the treasury.
Oct. 1, 1954 Oak Heights won third in canning, fourth in a family life poster and a green rug, and first for an attractive booth and full budget of entries at the Tulsa County Fair.
Another westside club, Norman Club on first in canning and first in an emergency meal competition in which they prepared a meat, cooked vegetable and dessert from five jars of food.
Jan. 14, 1954, the Oakhurst Heights Club decided to work in support of Jane Addams Elementary. In meetings, the members learned about making patterns, drapery and making clothing alterations. In May, they learned about flower arranging.
Oak Heights members displayed their creations in the window of Hopkins Variety Store in May 1954.
Aug. 7, 1954, the club and their family members held a watermelon social at Reed Park.
In December, they held a Christmas party in the home of Mrs. Cecil Rodgers and exchanged gifts with secret sisters. They prepared a “White Basket” of food for a family in the Jane Addams School community.
April, 1955, the meeting at Mrs. C.C. Dunbar’s featured a program on “Better Meals for the Family.”
In August that year, Mrs. Sittler and Mrs. Guy Baehler of Oak Heights represented their club at the Farm Home Conference at Oklahoma State University.
March 15, 1956, Tulsa County News showed Oak Heights ladies making drapes for the Frank H. Reed Recreational Center. In April, nine ladies and three children modeled Easter outfits in the home of Mrs. Gerald Simmons. Nov. 5, 1956 officers were installed with Mrs. LeRoy McConnel as president.
In January 1957, members announced they would study home nursing under the American Red Cross for seven weeks. “What Children Need,” was the program in March 1957.
Two women attended the District Mental Health meeting at Bixby.
In May 1957 the members celebrated 35 years of homemaking progress. Also five from Oak Heights attended the fashion revue at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds in May.
“The tornado and rain didn’t dampen the spirit of the Oak Heights Home Demonstration Club’s fourth annual birthday party at Reed Recreation Center May 20,” Tulsa County News reported in June 1957.
Two women were delegates to the Stillwater conference in August.
Nov. 14, 1957, the program was on “Understanding the Teenager.”
Modeling at the Easter Fashion Parade at the fairgrounds was Mrs. Robert Wingate in March 1958.
In September, 1958, the club got more fair awards. A child’s dress by Mrs. Wingate, fourth place; draperies, by Mrs. C.W. Sparks, fourth place; bedroom curtains by Mrs. Lloyd Partney won second; kitchen curtains by Mrs. Winger won third and an upholstered chair by Mrs. Sittler won second. A flower arrangement by Mrs. Sparks won fifth place and collectively the canned goods from Oak Heights won third.
Dogwood Garden Club
Still beautifying the westside
The westside had 11 Garden Clubs some decades ago. Today, the Dogwood Garden Club is the only one remaining. The others had names such as Red Rose, Blue Violet, Blue Bonnet, and Red Bud.
Dogwood traces its history from the National Council of State Garden Clubs in Sept. 1940. It is the oldest, continually meeting club in Tulsa.
Charter members of the Dogwood Club included Nellie Smith, Fern Etter, Velma Carpenter, Ann Howard, Hazel Hornsby and Mae Ware. At the club’s second meeting, Chessie Howard joined and began co-chairing the membership committee.
Others who joined included Merle Morton, Lucille Vance, Velma Watwood, Georgeana Rusher, Nan Milton, Sevilla Schudder, Bell Colvin, Mae Swafford, Mrs. G. H. Blankenship, Mrs. Carl Etter, Mrs. W. H. Street, Mrs. Smith Barnes, Mrs. W.W. Harred, Mrs. H.W. Burlingame, Mrs. J. D. Wood, Zelma Huntsman, Vivian Smith and others.
In 1945-47, the Garden Clubs planted 300 redbud trees along old Route 66 as part of a larger Northeast District project which planted 3,600 trees. Locally, the redbuds ranged clear to Sapulpa.
The Dogwood Club also planted some 20-30 dogwood trees at Webster High School. Also two pink dogwoods were planted in honor of the Webster students who served in Operation Desert Storm. They are planted at the parking lot near the football stadium.
Members also made major contributions to the Tulsa Garden Center. Dogwood is the only club remaining of the seven that originally established the Tulsa Council of Garden Clubs. It took an “all-out effort” including gaining city support and funding.
In the June 19, 1997 issue of Southwest Tulsa News, an article on Dogwood said, “It is still rumored that the 11 Westside Clubs wanted this center placed in Southwest Tulsa.” When a site and funds could not be found west of the river, members rode a bus downtown and transferred to another bus, just to spend a day volunteering at the Center on Peoria.
Dogwoods that line the entry to the Garden Center are a reminder of the efforts of the 24 Dogwood Club members. Ann Howard and Barbara Markwardt served a Tulsa Council presidents.
In 1964, Dogwood members landscaped Hissom Memorial Center, which helped them win a Sears Community Service Award.
Some other projects of the club include:
- Sherwood Manor Christmas Party
- Operation Military Cheer
- Operation Wildflower
- Oklahoma State University scholarship
- State Wildflower promotion to schools and Boy Scout troops
- Water Gardens
- State butterfly program
- Rose, violet and iris studies
- Murrah Memorial at the Turner Turnpike Gate and the Triangle of Lilies at the Murrah Memorial in Oklahoma City
- National Garden Week promotion