‘Tulsarena’ Name Never Caught On

Unlike the magnificent BOK Center now under construction in downtown Tulsa, the arena in Tulsa’s Convention Center, apparently officially known as the Assembly Center, has remained somewhat nebulous and non-distinctive over the years. People attending events at the undersized arena have called the facility names such as the Assembly Center, the Civic Center, the Convention Center and the Maxwell House over the years.

The Maxwell name refers to former Tulsa Mayor James L. Maxwell, who was in office when the Convention Center was voted upon and built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Maxwell’s name was added as the official moniker of the facility in the 1980s, but it never stuck with the public and is rarely used.

Ironically, before the arena was constructed, a “Name the Coliseum” contest, sponsored by the “Assembly Center for Tulsa” committee, was held, according to an article in Tulsa World in Feb., 1959. The contest drew 4,093 entries.

The winning name was the Tulsarena, submitted by Max R. Brand, 2630 S. Pittsburg Ave. He won a color television for his winning contribution. The name was actually chosen by 107 Tulsans, but Brand’s name was submitted first. The additional top-ten entries were:

2nd- “Oil Palace,” submitted by James B. Raney, 4824 E. 25th St., who won a power mower.
3rd- “Oil Capital Coliseum,” Mrs. Minnie Fanning, 4172 E. Admiral Pl.
4th- Petroleum Hall,” Mrs. Ralph E. Smith, 2929 E. 29th St.
5th- “Pioneer Hall,” Mrs. H.N. Mooney, 1324 S. Indian St.
6th- “Oil Capital Auditorium,” Mrs. Leah M. Holmes, 614 S. Elwood Ave.
7th- “Petroleum Palace,” Bruce Eagon, 3301 S. Pittsburg Ave.
8th- “Sequoyah Hall,” Bill Schmitt, 4720 W. 41st St.
9th- “Oilarena,” Mrs. Frank L. Kerstetter, 1104 E. 35th Pl.
10th- “Tulseum,” Barbara Henson, 4325 S. 28th W. Ave.

Updated 05-30-2006

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