Districts in the National Register of Historic Places
KATY Railroad Historic District
Primary Commercial Construction: 1913-1964Boundries: North: West Easton Street and I-244 East: North Boston Avenue South: KATY Railroad right-of-way West: North Cheyenne Avenue
The KATY Railroad Historic District is a commercial and industrial area that includes seventeen buildings constructed between 1913 and 1964 in a three-block area at the northwest corner of downtown Tulsa. It contains several manufacturing facilities and one industrial complex that surround a core of commercial buildings on North Main Street. This district reflects the influence of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (KATY) Railroad on development in the area near its tracks. While the KATY tracks were removed in 1964, the wide right-of-way remains visible within the district.
The KATY Railroad Historic District represents the surviving collection of commercial and industrial buildings located in close proximity to the KATY Railroad line. Therefore, the open land where the KATY Railroad once ran around the historic buildings is an important element in defining the significance of the district. It is locally significant in that it documents the expansion of commercial and industrial development that followed the construction of the rail line in 1902. The KATY gave businesses new opportunities to locate trackside, and businesses benefited from the easy transfer of goods to and from outside vendors and markets. This was especially important to the manufacturing and warehouse/distribution companies serving Oklahoma’s oil extraction industry, then in the midst of a major boom.
The construction of interstate highways after World War II made trucking a more-convenient system by which to haul goods, the U. S. mail, and freight. Eventually, truck transportation made centralized industrial areas like the KATY Railroad Historic District obsolete. As companies refocused their businesses, the buildings within the district changed hands or retooled. With the construction of the Keystone Dam in 1964, railroad access to the west was cut off. Subsequently, more companies moved out of the KATY Railroad Historic District, leaving empty factories and warehouses in their wake.
The small commercial area that developed north and south of the KATY tracks along North Main Street exemplifies the mixed-use character of the KATY Railroad Historic District. Today, only a small, four-building commercial area survives north of the tracks, which forms the core of the KATY District. Vacant ground marks the location of the abandoned railroad right-of-way, and historic open space near the tracks gives the District a distinct personality, allowing the commercial and industrial buildings in the KATY Railroad Historic District to retain a sense of separateness from the larger Brady area to the south.
The KATY Railroad Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on December 13, 2010 under Criterion A for significance in Commerce. Its NRIS number is 10001012.Representation in Existing SurveysNational Register of Historic Places — December 13, 2010 Downtown Tulsa Intensive-Level Survey of Historic Resources — November 2009