Known as the “father of Sand Springs,” Charles E. Page created a city rich in industry, charity and community. But how did he get here?
Page was a jack-of-all-trades, working as a policeman, telegraph messenger, logger, miner, and oilman in the north. He came to Indian Territory from Michigan, looking to further his career in the oil drilling industry. He drilled the districts of Glenpool, Tahena and Red Fork during the early 1900s, acquiring a wealth from oil properties in Tulsa, Creek and Osage counties.
With his wealth, Page made it a point to benefit those in need. His philanthropy was evident through his support of various charitable organizations, including the local Salvation Army, the Tulsa County Humane Society and the American Red Cross Association, among others.
One of his most important accomplishments was the establishment of the Sand Springs Orphan Children’s Home and Widow Colony, better known today as the Sand Springs Home. In 1907, while living in Tulsa, Page met a Salvation Army captain by the name of Brinton F. Breeding. Upon this meeting, he expressed to Breeding his desire to help those less fortunate.
“I have a friend down on First Street who runs a rooming house for men. It has thirty beds,” Page told Breeding. “Go to him and engage all beds for transient men who are broke, and arrange with the restaurant next door for supper and breakfast. With two meals and a night’s lodging, send them on their way. If you find a needy family on account of sickness or unemployment, purchase groceries. Come to me each day for a check to pay the bills. For the weekend, come on Monday. If it is ten dollars or a hundred, pay it every day.”
In 1908, Page purchased farmland west of Tulsa, in what is now Sand Springs, to be used for the benefit of those in need. This land would be cultivated and transformed into shelter for the orphaned and widowed. The home, which originally consisted of one widow and her children living in a tent on the land, grew and expanded rapidly over the years as the number of those seeking shelter increased. Page was committed to providing the feeling of home to every child and widow that entered it and believed that every child deserved the same opportunities, education and feeling of being loved.
Page was instrumental in the growth of Sand Springs through a number of avenues. In addition to city promotion and encouraging friends and family to build homes in the city, Page established the Sand Springs Power, Water, and Light Company. This influenced many businesses, including manufacturers and refineries, to set up shop in the city. He is also known for founding an interurban railroad connecting Sand Springs and Tulsa, a cotton mill, a bank and a hospital.
Page was also a man of great faith. A member of the First Presbyterian Church, he gave generously to the church and its causes. A fellow church member and friend of Page, Judge Paul Pinkerton, once recalled how Page lived out this faith in his everyday life.
“One day he was riding with me in a car returning from Tulsa, where we had been together on some business,” Pinkerton said. “As we were passing the Indian Springs near the greenhouse, I remarked to Mr. Page that he had used great judgment in establishing Sand Springs on its present wooded location among the small hills rather than the low land south of the Katy Tracks and west of Lake Station which overflowed at times. Mr. Page at once explained: ‘I did not do it. Sand Springs is God’s Town.’”