Tulsa Landmark Makes Oklahoma's Most Endangered Places List For 2023

An Oklahoma non-profit wants to recognize and preserve historic places around the state.

Sunday, July 16th 2023, 10:37 am

By: News On 6


An Oklahoma non-profit wants to recognize and preserve historic places around the state.

The Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge, also known as the 11th Street Bridge, is one of twelve historic sites placed on Preservation Oklahoma's Most Endangered Places list this year. 

The bridge was built in the 1910's as a way for Tulsans to reach the oil fields on the west side of the Arkansas River. It then became an original part of Route 66, which helped make Tulsa a staple on the route.

President of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association Rhys Martin said, “This bridge was so important to Tulsa’s growth. It replaced a wagon bridge that was here, that if that hadn’t been here, Sapulpa might have been the oil capital of the world because before that you had to cross the river on a ferry.”

In recent years, the bridge has fallen into disrepair. It's completely closed off to any kind of traffic, and the estimated price tag to fix it is north of $20 million. 

"Anything we can do to kind of help raise awareness, not only that, you know, we would like to save the bridge if we can, but at least to let people know about the historic significance of this bridge and the reason why it’s still here," he said.

Preservation Oklahoma says, "funding for a new study to determine the bridge's viability will be an important next step in saving the bridge."

Martin encourages visitors not to just stop and take a picture, but to check out the storytelling panels, Cyrus Avery Plaza, and the neon sign park.

"With all of the changes coming to the river in the next couple of years, and what we expect to be a lot more traffic, we want to make sure the bridge is safe. We want to make sure people are able to learn about it so any opportunity we have to shed some light on it, tell its story, is something we really enjoy," said Martin.

Other Tulsa landmarks on the list are the Isaiah 53 Church at 81st and Harvard, and the recently demolished Tulsa skyride. 

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