William Franklin’s art and murals can be found on brick walls in downtown Tulsa, hanging in the Oklahoma State Capitol building, on ceilings at the WinStar World Casino in southcentral Oklahoma, television backdrops in London, even at Disney World’s Golden Oak luxury resort.
It’s also found throughout his Tulsa retail store Decopolis — all shoppers must do is look up. Above the merchandise is another world full of castles and wizards, dinosaurs and volcanoes, and art deco faux storefronts.
“It’s not like anything else,” says Franklin of his creation, which is part bookstore, part toy store, part gift and memorabilia shop, and part art deco museum. “It’s a piece of art you can walk through.”
Franklin first opened a booth at Jenks’ River City Trading Post in 2011. A year later Decopolis opened near East Sixth Street and South Boston Avenue in the Deco District of downtown Tulsa before moving into a bigger storefront a block away in 2016. Today, Decopolis sits on the Mother Road in the Meadow Gold District.
“This place is really hopping,” he says. “We get a lot of Route 66 tourists and people from Tulsa.”
For Franklin, Decopolis is more like multiple stores under one roof. Shoppers can find gifts and toys related to fossils and minerals, dinosaurs and microscopic creatures, classic children’s books and games, as well as pop culture items in the Discovitorium, a word Franklin created himself to evoke a sense of discovery.
Then there’s TulsaRama, made to look like an art deco town square with candy counter, retro-style items, and Tulsa and Oklahoma gifts and memorabilia. There’s even a mini art deco museum.
It might seem strange to find a Golden Driller coaster and Oklahoma-shaped baking dish in the same store where you can purchase a plush trilobite, a saber tooth tiger skull replica and a copy of “Wuthering Heights,” but it’s a perfect reflection of Franklin and the things he loves.
“I just pick items I like. Thank goodness everyone else seems to like them, too,” he says. “No matter your budget you can find a little treasure.”
You can even purchase prints of Franklin’s own work showcasing his home city and state.
“I’ve lived in Tulsa most of my life. I love Tulsa, it’s my home and I know it so well,” he says. “We’re a small city, but we have such pride.”