The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture (TFA) was awarded a Preservation Services Fund grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Ruth and Allen Mayo Fund for Historic Preservation in Oklahoma to conduct a survey of Tulsa’s neon signs. At the time of completion, the TFA surveyed 259 signs.
The neon-sign survey includes each sign’s name, type, mount, lettering style, history, location and neon-tubing descriptions. If the only neon portion of a sign was an outline of the sign, with no other characters or lettering created in neon, the sign wasn’t included in the survey. Also excluded was neon tubing found only along rooflines or simply outlining a window of a business.
Of the signs surveyed, some naturally rose to the top of the list. Here are some of our favorites, which also appear in our booklet, “Vintage Tulsa Neon Signs” (available at www.tulsaarchitecture.com/store). The foundation also offers a directory and self-guided tour information.
(Editor’s Note: Twenty-four miles of Route 66 that wind through Tulsa carry travelers past some of the classic neon signs in the survey. Also, Claude Neon Federal Sign Co. of Tulsa contributed much of the neon restoration for the signs included in the booklet.)
Lee Anne Zeigler is executive director and CEO of the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture (TFA). A nonprofit organization established in 1995, TFA advocates for future development and encourages preservation of the built environment in Tulsa. The foundation also offers its DecoGuide, a directory and self-guided tour of Tulsa’s art-deco architecture.