Swan Lake

A group ice skates on Swan Lake on a winter afternoon in the 1940s. Barricades can be seen blocking the area around the fountain. Ice skating is no longer permitted on Swan Lake.

On a Creek allotment of land owned by Anna B. Orcutt, a natural spring led to Tulsa’s first lakeside amusement park.

Orcutt Lake Amusement Park opened in 1909, and by 1910 Tulsa’s trolley lines ended at the park’s entrance, which featured dazzling electric lights.

The 25-acre park had a 600-foot-long roller coaster, a hand-carved wooden carousel, a covered swimming pool, a theater, a cafe and an event pavilion.

Despite the park’s amenities, by 1917 the Orcutts sold the park to businessman E.J. Brennan. Brennan, a real estate agent, donated the lake to the City of Tulsa and closed the rides to develop the land for residential purposes. Along the way, Brennan dubbed the neighborhood “Swan Lake,” likely due to the presence of waterfowl.

Although popular for ice skating and other recreational activities, the lake was often shallow. By 1948, its ensuing restoration plagued the surrounding neighborhood with infrastructure issues for decades, affecting the appeal for residents and guests alike.

By 1998 the Swan Lake District was added to the National Register of Historic Places, but the area would not return to its full glory until the late 2000s, after various repairs and restorations dating to a 1983 sales tax package. 

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