“Bartlesville is an interesting blend of Western, Native American and energy history.
When I think of this fascinating place, it brings to mind pioneers, tenacity and entrepreneurism,” former mayor Julie Daniels says.
Nestled in the Caney River Valley surrounded by the Osage Hills, Bartlesville—population 36,000—is the home of the first commercial oil well in Oklahoma. The story behind this oil well involves a pioneer who particularly captivates Daniels.
A visionary in 1873, namesake Jacob Bartles married a Delaware Indian chief’s daughter so he could conduct business in the Indian Territory. His dry goods store on the north bank of the Caney River competed with George Keeler and William Johnstone’s store on the south bank. Once his competitors drilled the Nellie Johnstone oil well in 1897, they lured the railroad to the south bank. An angry Bartles put his dry goods store on wheels and founded the city of Dewey, about five miles north.
Happy where they are, today’s “Bartains” are described by Daniels as a “community of friendly, generous, ‘let’s get things done’ people.” Join in their fun at these happening spots.
Good Cowboy Bar: Angelo’s Tavern, with Red Dirt Country music by Jimmie Johnson every other Saturday.
Favorite Local Cuisine: Frank & Lola’s. My favorite dish there is the slow roasted pulled pork.
Historic Site Most Schoolchildren Visit: Woolaroc, early 1900s’ oilman Frank Phillips’s ranch 15 minutes south of town. The kids enjoy the wildlife.
Mountain Man Fun: Locals dress up in 1820s-40s mountain man gear at annual encampments held at Woolaroc. The next one will be September 30-October 1; another one is usually held in the spring.
Trail Ride: Our local equestrians will hit the trail this September 17 to support the Woolaroc Museum. Head out on the trail again next spring.
Western Art Gallery: You’ll see Remingtons and Russells at Woolaroc.
Do-Not-Miss Attraction: The replica of the Nellie Johnstone oil well at the Discovery 1 Park. Built over the original hole, the replica gushes water.
Who knows Bartlesville’s History best? Debbie Neece and Kay Little at the Bartlesville Area History Museum.
Event to Attend in July: Fans of Wild West showgirl Annie Oakley should see the Children’s Musical Theatre’s performance of Annie Get Your Gun on July 14-17.
Avg. House Cost: $140,000.
Avg. Temps: Summer: 91-66; Fall: 62-37; Winter: 55-30; Spring: 81-57.
Preservation Project: The 108-year-old Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe No. 940 locomotive was found on the riverbanks in 2009 and returned to the Santa Fe Depot. Cosmetic restoration is still ongoing, but her whistle was up and running in May.
Special thanks to former mayor and local preservationist Julie Daniels for sharing her love of the town with us.