HOW BROOKSIDE BECAME “THE PLACE TO BE”
So where is Brookside, exactly? While Brookside’s boundaries have changed many times through the years, Brookside is today recognized between 31st and 51st on Peoria, and from the Arkansas River to Lewis Ave. The “village” area is along Peoria from 32nd to 41st streets.
The “Brookside” name was coined by Guy Scroggs, who named his store “Brookside Drug” in 1940. The “brook” was presumed to be Crow Creek. Mr. Scroggs is also credited with beginning the “friendly neighborhood atmosphere” of Brookside with his policy of giving free ice cream to good students from nearby Eliot Elementary School.
The first houses in this area were built in the 1920’s as Tulsa expanded south with its oil boom, and the city became the “Oil Capital of the World”. During the early 1940’s, the area was known as one of Tulsa’s best districts to live and play, with great shops, many churches and good schools. In 1942, City Veterinary Hospital was built in the Streamline style of Art Deco architecture. It was designed by Koberling and Brandenbourg, and still operates today.
After the war, there was a building boom in Brookside, resulting in many local landmarks that are still here today:
Brook Theater, a 600-seat movie theater famous for its Saturday afternoon matinees! Since that time, it has served as the home of the American Theater Company for about 15 years, and today is The Brook restaurant and bar.
Van’s Hamburgers, opened in 1950’s in the same site as Claude’s Hamburgers is today.
Lewis Meyer Book Store, a favorite among book lovers, located north of the Brook Theater. This space is now incorporated into the Brook restaurant on the corner.
The Brookside Broadcast Center, another example of Streamline style of Art Deco architecture, was designed by Koberling and Brandenbourg in 1956. It’s now KJRH-TV.
During the 1950’s, Brookside became the place for high school students to gather with friends. This lead to the “Restless Ribbon”, where cars cruised up and down Peoria, especially through Pennington’s Drive-In.
Brookside is rich with history, and is making even more! The area will soon be the closest Tulsa entertainment district to The Gathering Place, a nationally recognized park and recreation area.
Who knows what the future will bring? All we know is that if it’s anything like the past, Brookside will long remain the place to be!
- Tulsa, from Creektown to Oil Capital, Angie Debo, Norman Oklahoma Press, 1943.
- Tulsa County Library, Vertical File: Brookside, The Tulsa World newspaper clippings.
- Tulsa Times, A Pictorial History: The Early Years, World Publishing Co., 1986.
- Tulsa Historical Society Archives