Brookside Continues as a Tulsa Destination
BROOKSIDE BUSINESS: Son Jeff and father Jim Stunkard, business partners with Purple Glaze, sit inside their Brookside location, 3303 S. Peoria Ave. The business caters to a wide range of customers, ages and levels of artistic ability.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Brookside can be called quintessentially Tulsa with its early Creek Nation history in the 1800s, then a landing place for early oil boom town growth in the early 1900s and finally becoming a shopping area for generations of enthusiastic people from the mid-1900s through today.
The Brookside area began as a part of the Creek Indian land just south of Tulsa. This land was granted to the Creek Nation in 1824. They were removed from Alabama to Indian Territory in about 1836. The mixed blood Creek Nation Perryman family was one of the first families to settle in this area and operated the first post office in 1882 at the home of George Perryman near what is now 41st and Trenton. (A marker stands at this site today.)
Early Brookside was considered to be along the river from 32nd to 38th streets and over to Peoria Avenue. Its boundaries have changed many times and have settled today on the main strip along Peoria from 31st to 51st and from the Arkansas River to Lewis Ave. The “village” area is concentrated along Peoria from 32nd to 41st streets.
The “Brookside” name was first used by Guy Scroggs when he named his store Brookside Drug in 1940. The “brook” was presumed to be Crow Creek named for an early railroad president. Scroggs is also credited with beginning the “friendly neighborhood atmosphere” prevailing in this area with his policy of awarding free ice cream to good students from nearby Eliot Elementary School.
City Veterinary Hospital was built in the Streamline style of Art Deco architecture in 1942.
Following the end of the Second World War, another building boom began which brought a new generation to the area.
In this post war era, Brookside added new businesses:
Dunwell Cleaners, Ralph E. Johnson was founder, and four generations of this family operated the cleaners until the late 1990s when it was transformed into a restaurant.
Brookside State Bank, the fifth state bank chartered in Tulsa whose chairman was Howard G. Barnett. Today, this is the home of a branch of the Bank of Oklahoma.
Brook Theater, a 600-seat movie theater was famous for its “Saturday afternoon matinees.” Since that time, it has served as the home of the American Theater Company and then became The Brook restaurant and bar.
Van’s Hamburgers, opened in the 1950s in the same site as Claude’s Hamburgers is today.
Lewis Meyer Book Store, a very favorite place for book lovers located north of the Brook Theater; this space is now incorporated into The Brook.
Rich’s Furniture Store was at 34th and Peoria and was a favorite place to find home furnishings.
During the heyday of the 1950s, Brookside became a place for high school students to gather with friends. This led to the “Restless Ribbon” where cars packed with students cruised up and down Peoria, especially through Pennington’s Drive-In. Besides seeing friends, Pennington’s was famous for its fried shrimp, French fries and black bottom pie.
Today, Brookside provides excellent establishments such as Elmer’s , Poseidon Adventures, Millinda’s Merle Norman, Sharkey’s Billiards and Bar, and Cunningham Jewelry and Appraisals. (See page 26 for an article about Cunningham Jewelry.)
Brookside hosts several festivals throughout the year. Herb Day will be held Saturday, April 9 and Brookside Rumble & Roll on Thursday, June 2.