Last Updated: Feb 3, 2016
The Beryl Ford Collection contains thousands of historic photographs including street scenes and images of residential buildings. Search the collection by street name or neighborhood.
The library is in the process of digitizing city directories from the collection that are in the public domain (before 1923).
- City Directories
Polk's Reverse Telephone Directory allows you to search by address rather than by a homeowner's name. These directories list the head of the household as well as the owner's occupation. Once you've determined who the early owners of your house were, you can search for their names in old newspapers or genealogy resources. You might be able to track down the previous occupants of the home who will be a wealth of information and may have photographs.
- Historic Neighborhood Architectural Surveys
Find a general history of the neighborhood, its boundaries, and a list of neighborhood homes.
- Newspapers on Microfilm
Though they may be hard to find, since old newspapers are not searchable, there may be newspaper articles about the previous occupants of the house or the house itself.
- Tulsa's Historic Neighborhood Series
From the Urban Development Department and Tulsa Preservation Commision, these booklets provide a brief history of the neighborhood and information on individual homes.
- Vertical Files of Tulsa Historic Neighborhoods – TCCL Research Center, Central Library
A vertical file is a collection of materials such as pamphlets, newspaper clippings, brochures, or pictures that are filed in drawers or cabinets for easy reference.
Ask about these vertical files:
Architecture – Homes [vertical file].
Homes - architect awards [vertical file].
Architects [vertical file].
Neighborhoods [vertical file].
- Land Records: TCCL Research Center, Central Library
The deed will show you the progression of ownership of the house so you can trace previous owners. Find deed information at any TCCL Location using the Tulsa Land Records Databases. You may also visit the Tulsa County Court Clerk, 2nd floor Tulsa County Courthouse, 500 S. Denver. The Tulsa County Land Records Department has records back to statehood (1907); though, there are some filings back as far as 1903.
- Atlas of Tulsa, Oklahoma (1987)
- Atlas of Tulsa, Oklahoma (1970)
- Atlas of Tulsa, Oklahoma (1937)
- Hastain's Township Plats of the Creek Nation (1910)
- Sanborn Maps 1867-1970
These historical large-scale plans include information such as the outline of each building, the size, shape and construction materials, heights, and function of structures, location of windows and doors. The maps also give street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.
- TCCL Map Collections
The Research Center on the fourth floor of Tulsa's Central Library holds in its collections a large number and variety of print and digital maps.
- American House Styles: A Concise Guide (1993) by John Milnes Baker
America has an abundance of fascinating and varied house styles, as fascinating and diverse as its people. This unique book will allow readers to recognize the architectural features and style of virtually any house they encounter.
- Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of the Midwest and Great Plains (1994)
Includes a section on Oklahoma homes.
- Classic Old House Plans: Three Centuries of American Domestic Architecture by Lawrence Grow
Presents descriptions, elevations, floor plans, perspectives, and exterior drawings of houses representing thirteen styles popular in North America from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries
- A Field Guide to American Houses (1984) by Virginia and Lee McAlester
It tells you -- and shows you in more than 1,200 illustrations -- what you need to know in order to be able to recognize the several distinct architectural styles and to understand their historical significance. What does that cornice mean? Or that porch? That door? When was this house built? What does its style say about the people who built it? You'll find the answers to such questions here. This is how the book works: Each of thirty-nine chapters focuses on a particular style (and its variants). Each begins with a large schematic drawing that highlights the style's most important identifying features. Additional drawings and photographs depict the most common shapes and the principal subtypes, allowing you to see at a glance a wide range of examples of each style.
- Great American Houses and Their Architectural Styles (1994) by Virginia and Lee McAlester
The authors explore outstanding landmark houses that exemplify America's major architectural and interior design styles from Colonial times to the present.
- House Styles in America: The Old-house Journal Guide to the Architecture of American Homes (1996) by James C. Massey and Shirley Maxwell
An illustrated tour of America's houses begins in 1640 with the early roots of American style -- a combination of European skill and attitude combined with American know-how. This architectural journey continues on through the 18th and 19th centuries, through the Greek Revival, the Americanization of the Gothic Revival, and the early Colonial Revival. The houses of the 20th century are the main attraction as House Styles in America delves into the major movements in the Romantic Revivals of the 1920s and 1930s: English, French, and Spanish.
- Old House Interiors
2001-present available online.
- The Old House Journal
1973-present available in print.
- The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture (1994) by Rachel Carley
A reference to the architectural styles of American homes. Arranged chronologically, each chapter offers a look at a particular period or style, with some 500 b&w illustrations showing exterior views and floorplans with regional and stylistic variations. Covers Native American dwellings, the Georgian era, frontier homes, the Victorian era, early modernism, the postwar era, and contemporary trends.
- National Register of Historic Places
The National Park Service website can be searched or browsed. Search options allow users to narrow to a particular state, county, or city.
- State Historic Preservation Office
Offers numerous sources of information including architectural surveys, archeological surveys, details about the National Register of Historic Places, the Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory and more.
- Tulsa Historical Society
The Tulsa Historical Society collection contains materials that date to the 19th century and to the present. The Society’s mission is to collect, preserve and present the material to the public.
The museum’s collection is wide ranging and includes over 15,000 photographs, approximately one thousand books that relate to Tulsa or Oklahoma, historical films and videos, manuscripts, periodicals, maps, vertical files covering approximately six thousand subjects, clothes, architectural elements, fine and decorative arts, furniture, military uniforms, military medals and a myriad of other objects that pertain to Tulsa or Oklahoma history.
- Tulsa Foundation for Architecture
The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture objectives are to: be a credible voice that identifies valuable architectural structures, spaces, sites and architectural works of merit; educate the public about the built environment; promote and encourage preservation and/or rehabilitation of significant architecture; and be a repository for historical architectural drawings and material.
- Tulsa Preservation Commission
Information about Tulsa's historic neighborhoods, individual buildings, National Register listings, and art deco heritage.
- Ancestry Library Edition
Genealogy research tool has access to more than one billion names in primary-source document images, detailed color maps and other genealogical research resources. Access from any TCCL Library.
- TCCL Genealogy Center
The Genealogy Center of the Tulsa City-County Library System is one of the largest genealogy collections in Oklahoma. This collection focuses not only on Tulsa and Oklahoma but also contains sources covering many other areas. A large number of materials cover Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. The collection consists of books, microfilm, microfiche, CD ROMs and maps.
An abstract is a compilation of all instruments of record in the County Clerk's and Court Clerk's offices, which materially affect a specific tract of land - basically it's all the legal records about the tract of land. An abstract is one of the most rich sources of information about the history of a house.
Are you a genealogist, preservationist, or local history buff?
The Tulsa City-County Library would like your help indentifying the unknown people and places in our digital collections. Visit the library's special collections on Flickr and look for the unknown sets.