The Oklahoma Eagle Newswire
A website offering free self-guided tours of Tulsa’s points of interest was presented to Tulsa City Councilors at their Urban and Economic Development Committee meeting on Wednesday.
The program, called Root Tulsa Historic Tours, is the result of a partnership between the City of Tulsa, Root Tulsa, and Tulsa Regional Tourism. The tours were created to provide historical information for both locals and visitors to learn more about Tulsa’s vast array of landmarks.
Users can access the tours by visiting RootTulsa.com and clicking on “Tours” or by scanning a QR code with a phone from posted decal stickers, flyers or signage at participating businesses and organizations. The current signage is temporary, with more permanent signs planned for installation in the near future.
“I want to thank our partners for working together to highlight historic destinations in our city,” said Councilor Jeannie Cue. “The Root Tulsa tours can be enjoyed by our residents and help visitors plan their trip and explore Tulsa. I would like to encourage our local businesses and organizations to join this effort by displaying signage so that they too can become part of this interactive experience.”
Two tours are available now for the Historic Greenwood District/Black Wall Street and Tulsa’s Historic Route 66. More points of interest will be added to the tours throughout the year with more districts planned for inclusion going forward, aiming to encompass all stories of the city’s landmarks within the next two to three years.
“I’m grateful the historic tour of Greenwood/Black Wall Street was available for the centennial of the massacre to provide a free educational resource for citizens and visitors,” Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper said. “We hope to expand that tour to include the history of Morton Clinic along with other sites of importance.”
Like many visitor destinations, Tulsa has hundreds of landmarks and points of interest with an untold story behind them. Tourism in Tulsa creates thousands of jobs and helps offset the tax burden for residents.
“It’s energizing to see Tulsa’s many unique landmarks starting to come to life in a more engaging way,” said Ray Hoyt, president of Tulsa Regional Tourism. “Tulsa welcomes nearly 10 million visitors each year, and creating memorable, engaging experiences for tourists allows them to connect on a deeper level with our city and its history. We’re honored to partner with the City of Tulsa and Root Tulsa to help make this happen.”
The Historic Greenwood District/Black Wall Street Tour was launched online in May 2021. More than 500 decals and flyers were distributed to Tulsa hotels, bars and retail shops in and around Greenwood District. Post launch, over 4,400 unique users accessed the tour at RootTulsa.com. In addition, organic tour content reached more than 30,000 Instagram users leading up to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial. Since May 2021, the Root Tulsa website has averaged about 20,000 visitors a month.
“It was a pleasure to develop these new QR code tours with the City of Tulsa, Visit Tulsa and in particular the stakeholders in the communities whose history we’re sharing — Greenwood/Black Wall Street and Route 66,” said Matt Carney, executive director of Root Tulsa. “Together we’ve built a flexible, durable tech solution that will increase Tulsa’s digital equity and inform tourists for years to come.”
Root Tulsa plans to collaborate with the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture next to highlight local sites of musical significance. There are also plans to upgrade the Root Tulsa website by improving loading, increasing discoverability, and integrating tours more smoothly with the rest of the site.