Sheridan Road in Tulsa runs from Mohawk Boulevard in North Tulsa through South Tulsa, across the Arkansas River (there is no bridge) and south through Bixby to Hectorville.
Most of my life has revolved around this city street.
I grew up three blocks east of Sheridan Road on East 5th Place. This was a neighborhood built just after World War II and it was filled with families with children when I was a child.
I went to school at Burbank Elementary School on Sheridan Road just south of Admiral Boulevard and at Bell Junior High School. The building for Burbank is still there but now it is an annex for Bell, which has been turned into an elementary.
For 10 years, I walked to school along Sheridan Road. After school, I hung out sometimes at Sheridan Village, a shopping center that had a second floor with parking. It had a TG&Y, a J.C. Penney store, a Rex-All Drugstore and a Borden’s Cafeteria on the second floor.
My first job was at a newly constructed fast-food taco stand on the southeast corner of 4th Place and Sheridan Road. Tulsa had only a handful of Mexican restaurants back in the 1960s and it was a popular place. I was 15 years old and I had to get a work permit from the Tulsa Public Schools Service Center to work there. I made $1 an hour – a fortune, it seemed to me, back then.
The first time I ever ate pizza was at Shotgun Sam’s Pizza Parlor on Sheridan Road, just north of 21st Street. On weekends, the restaurant had a banjo player (sometimes from the Guitar House on Admiral Boulevard) entertain while we ate pizza and drank root beer by the pitcher. Their radio commercial was, “I’m Shotgun Sam, the pizza man, I run the Pizza Palace. I’m Shotgun Sam, that’s who I am and my horse’s name is Alice.”
Casa Bonita opened in the strip center on southwest corner of Sheridan Road and 21st Street when I was in high school. All-you-can-eat buffets were unheard of back then they painted the price at Casa Bonita on the front wall. It was $1.89. At Casa Bonita, you could eat in their cave and when you wanted more food, you raised a little flag at your table. They brought you warm sopapillos with butter and honey and it was a treat.
Casa Bonita is no more but there is another restaurant in its spot. There was a nasty rumor about Casa Bonita – spread by a disgruntled former employee or a dissatisfied customer – and it seemed its popularity faded after that.
I attended (and graduated in 1972) from Hale High School, two blocks east of Sheridan Road on the south side of 21st Street. We had more than 850 students in our graduating class. Hale was packed with students. There were so many that it only could handle grades 10-12.
One of my jobs in high school was for Der Weinerschnitzel – a fast food chain restaurant at 17th Street and Sheridan Road.
Their radio spot was, “Der Weinerschnitzel, Der Weinerschnitzel, yah, it’s lots of fun. For 18 cents you get a great big hot dog on a bun. Der mustard dog, der chili dog, und one wit sauerkraut. Und one we call a polish dog that makes you want to shout…”
That chain apparently has survived. They drop the “Der” and they don’t have locations in Oklahoma. The closest one in Central Texas. And they still serve a chili dog and Polish dog. My guess is that they cost more than 18 cents now.
I took my date to my high school prom to Shadow Mountain Inn for a steak dinner. That was on the hill on Sheridan Road about one block south of 61st Street on the east side. I think I spent $20 for two steak dinners (I should have gone to Casa Bonita or Der Weinerschnitzel).
Shortly after Susan and I married in 1982, we bought a house on 29th Street just a half a block from Sheridan Road. Our oldest son went to MacArthur Elementary, right next to Hale High School.
The first theater I ever went to with more than one screen was the Boman Twin at Boman Acres Shopping Center at 31st Street and Sheridan Road. We thought it was a great innovation to have one theater show more than one movie at a time. Now that building is LaserQuest.
In 1997, we moved to – you guessed it – to near 71st Street and Sheridan Road. We are a block off Sheridan.
When we bought our current home, Sheridan Road had two lanes. It was widened to five lanes shortly after we moved. That was one dusty summer.
My life seems to have been a progressive on a southbound basis along Sheridan Road. I may wind up in Bixby someday but I don’t think I will ever make it to Hectorville…