History of Jenks
Located on the west banks of the Arkansas River in southern Tulsa County, the City of Jenks was officially platted on July 15, 1905. Prior to that, Jenks was a small community site established by a cooperative agreement between the Midland Valley Railroad and the Midland Valley Townsite Company. Named after a Philadelphia railroad director, Jenks served as a weigh station for the railroad in its early years.
Early settlers to Jenks included small businessmen, farmers, and ranchers including the Perryman family, known for establishing Tulsa County’s first homestead located within the current city limits of Jenks. This working ranch once covered 300,000 acres stretching from the Verdigris River to Duck Creek near Mounds. Today, only 40 acres remain and the ranch is available for group outings.
By 1906, Jenks experienced a major surge in growth when oil was discovered in the nearby fields of Glenpool. With the oil came expensive oil tank farms helping to increase area property values and produce revenue for the Jenks Public Schools System.
As the oil fields played out, the economic focus of Jenks shifted towards an agricultural base with the immigration of a sizable settlement of Bulgarian farming families in 1923.
JENKS ENTRY FEATURE
Constructed in 2000 and standing nearly thirty feet tall, the east entry feature was conceived as a monument, often referred to as a lighthouse, to welcome residents and visitors to Jenks coming across the Arkansas River into the original town site.
The feature was designed to represent symbolic components of Jenks. The base consists of brick and an arched doorway and windows is reminiscent of the historical Jenks High School building. The next level consists of lateral railing, which is reminiscent of the tracks for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad which determined the original town site. The white siding is typical of the boarding of many original home structures. The white brackets under the porch and roof components were taken from the brackets on the old Depot building. Finally, the feature is topped by a train logo weathervane.
Photo courtesy of Holly Peevyhouse