In 1920, Tulsa pioneer Oscar U. Schlegel had 80 acres southwest of Tulsa platted as South Haven. He sold lots, but never built homes in the addition. In addition to platting the acreage, he donated land for a community park and churches. Schlegel’s daughter, Mrs. Larkin Bailey of Tulsa, inherited 98 undeveloped lots when Schlegel died in 1955. South Haven became a community for blacks and was never developed with water, street and sewer improvements until taken over by the City of Tulsa in the summer of 1966. Even then, the improvements were very limited.
A couple of the first settlers of the South Haven community were Barry and Willa Baul. They built a home in South Haven about 1923. Barry and Willa were featured in a Tulsa World article on October 31, 1983. The article includes a photo of the Bauls standing in front of their home.
Emerson Penn is another of the early settlers in the community. He moved to South Haven from Wichita, Kansas, where he was a deputy sheriff. Penn suffered a back injury and came to Tulsa to find work. Penn’s family included Mrs. Penn and nine children.
The South Haven community never did take off and prosper. The few houses built early in the development were poorly constructed and that set the stage for a continuing path of poor construction. South Haven was eventually annexed into the City of Tulsa, but promises of improvements by elected officials have been few and far between.