Tulsa Central History

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History Great Spirit Building Manual Arts Pictures


Founded in 1906, Tulsa Central High School is the oldest high school in Tulsa.
The school provided education for grades 10 through 12.
It was founded as Tulsa High School, and was located in downtown Tulsa until 1976.

Its first principal was Dr. Oliver Wallace
The colors for the school are crimson and cream and we were known as the Braves.

Tulsa Central was at one time the second largest high school in the country.
By 1938 it had grown to its peak enrollment of 5,169 students in grades 10 through 12.
The building included:


an indoor Olympic-size


lap pools,


an indoor track,


an extensive art collection


a large pipe organ.










1906     The Tulsa High School was built of cream colored brick and it had a gold leaf dome on top.
            This was one year before Oklahoma was even a state in America.
            It was constructed in the center of the block at 4th and Boston. 
            Its cost was $60,000.

Later     As the building was no longer large enough it began to be surrounded by 
            small one and two room buildings.

1913     The Tulsa High School was accredited, the third school in the state to be so accredited. 
            Ever since that year Tulsa
Central High School has been continuously accredited.
            It is now only 6 years since Oklahoma became a state.

1916     The voters of Tulsa approved the issuance of bonds with a face value of $300,000.
            The purpose of the bond issue was to build a new and much larger high school at 6th and Cincinnati.
            This $300,000 resulted in the school building in which we received our education.

1917     The north half of the Tulsa Central High School building was complete and school opened.
            The building was red brick construction.

1922     The south half of the Tulsa Central High School building was completed. It was this year
            that Tulsans could rightly claim that this school was the second largest high school in America.

1925     The Manual Arts Building was completed and opened at 9th and Cincinnati 
            and the shops class were moved there at that time.

1938     Tulsa Central reached its peak enrollment of more than 5,000 students.

1976     Tulsa Central had earned a nationwide reputation for outstanding athletic and 
            academic achievements and
more than 44,000 students had received their diplomas here.


Some alumni of Tulsa Central other than our own class, whom you may recognize include:  

bulletBen Graf Henneke, president of the University of Tulsa, 19581967
bulletJim Inhofe, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
bulletShelby Metcalf, head basketball coach at Texas A&M 19631990
bulletJames Robinson Risner, Vietnam War POW, double recipient of the Air Force Cross
bulletAlbert E. Schwab, World War II Medal of Honor winner
bulletJohn Starks (basketball), NBA basketball player
bulletPatrick Suppes, philosopher of science
bulletBilly Tubbs, college basketball coach
bulletR. James Woolsey, Jr., Director of Central Intelligence, 19931995

                Some of Tulsa Central's more notable coaches include:

Eddie Sutton began his head coaching career at Tulsa Central, where he coached 1959-1966.
Later he was to become one of only seven major men's college basketball coaches to have over 800 career wins.

Tommy Hudspeth coached football at Tulsa Central in 1956 when we were seniors.
Later he moved on to the college and professional ranks.
He was for eight years the head coach at Brigham Young University.

Art Griffith was the wrestling coach at Tulsa Central for 15 years.
While there we won ten state and two national wrestling tournaments.
In 1941 he moved on to Oklahoma State University.
While at OSU he led the Cowboys to 8 national championships and was elected to
the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Griffith's successor at Tulsa Central was Rex Peery, who later became the
Pittsburgh Panthers wrestling coach, and was also elected to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame