Inside Sapulpa’s Amazing Historical Museum

The Sapulpa Historical Society is in my opinion one of the best local historical societies in the entire country. The sheer extent of the preservation and museum projects that the SHS has created in downtown Sapulpa is staggering. The society currently operates an impressive multi-story museum in a large building that was once a YWCA and a hotel. They also operate a small Fire Museum on the other side of the block, and have somewhat recently completed a restoration of the Waite-Phillips Filling Station into a mini-museum of sorts. As if that’s not enough, they were also involved with the little trolley/rail car exhibit outside the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway Co, and they’ve had a hand in all sorts of other projects around town.

The main Sapulpa Historical Society Museum is light years beyond a typical small town historical museum. Not only are there a number of very well produced displays, but the number of artifacts is enough to fill up two floors of a large building. Right as you enter you are greeted by an impressive display of historical store fronts, each of which is stocked with a litany of items from the time period. The next room is full of artifacts from by-gone Sapulpa Schools and a tremendous display of the old Santa Fe railroad setup with a bench from the famed Harvey House and Depot.

You’ll also pass by a school house display, a traditional 1920’s period home display, and a plenty of other odds and ends before you hit the elevator to head upstairs. The second floor is where the museum takes advantage of the historic hotel/YWCA rooms to create a multitude of individual exhibits in each room. There is a bathroom that has been preserved from the YWCA days, a room dedicated to the old court house, a room dedicated to the oil industry, a military history room, Native American artifact room, an antique doctor setup, and my favorite room: the scale model display of Sapulpa from 1907.

Take a look at few photos I took from my last walk-through below. I’m not a great photographer, but this might give you a rough idea of some of the great displays:

The effect of this society on keeping Sapulpa’s historic character in tact cannot be understated. They deserve much admiration and support, and a the museum relies on donations to keep going. An annual membership is only $15.