Sand Springs was founded by a wealthy oil man named Charles Page. While he was young, he heard his mother crying from the loss of her husband and wondered how she would care for her children. At that point, Page promised his mother he would take care of her and other widows when he grew up. Banking on that promise, he originally bought a 160 acre tract of land near U.S. 64 and 97th West Avenue. The city was incorporated in 1912, just five years after statehood. The Sand Springs Home started in a tent with seven homeless children. Page then built a permanent structure with room for 50-75 children.
In 1911, the railway began as a gasoline-powered interurban line which was converted to electricity in 1912. While Page wanted his city to grow, his heart was for the children. He was constantly thinking of how he could better their lives. With that on his mind, he built the Sand Springs Amusement Park and Lake. The Lakeside subdivision is now located on the former site of the amusement park.
Later in the year, it was decided to make use of the railway to turn Sand Springs into a Tulsa suburb. Page laid out the original townsite with the 160 acres. He designated the flat land for industrial uses and the hilly land for living purposes. Early businesses in Sand Springs were located on Garfield, Main and 2nd Street. Industries were located along Adams and Morrow. The first brick building in the town was built in 1912 at the northeast corner of 2nd and Main. This building housed the post office, a pool hall and a drug store. The first school building was a one room log school house completed in 1908. Early schools that are still standing include Garfield Elementary, Central Junior High, Booker T. Washington and Twin Cities. Page donated the last for most of these schools.
The Sand Springs Fire Department (SSFD) was founded in 1913 when Town Marshal, Robert Fleenor, was elected Fire Chief of the Sand Springs Volunteer Fire Department. In March 1913, the bucket brigade was replaced with 500 feet of hose purchased by the city. Page donated another 500 feet of hose.
Chief Fleenor had to unhitch his team of horses from his delivery wagon and hitch to the fire wagon if there was a fire in town. Sometimes, after the fire, he was known to leave the fire wagon at the scene because there was no place to actually house it. Chief Fleenor’s horses were used for the fire wagon until they were lost when his livery stable caught fire in 1915 through spontaneous combustion.
In 1916, keeping his promise to his mother, Page set up the widows colony to allow widows to keep their small children together. The mothers and their children lived (and continue to live) in cottages and duplexes on the home property.
On December 27, 1926, Charles Page passed away. Through the city of Sand Springs, his memory will forever live on. Sand Springs Home continues to operate two charities: The Children’s Home and Charles Page Family Village. The Children’s Home is a DHS licensed residential care home for as many as 20 children ages 6-18 who can not live in their homes due to family problems. The Family Village can house as many as 108 families in duplex-style housing.
If this does not make you proud to live in Sand Springs, I don’t know what will. Talk about Sandite Strong! Page paved the way for so much of what exists in Sand Springs today! To read even deeper into the history of Sand Springs, visit TulsaOKHistory.com.