Swan Lake District - Tulsa, OK

Swan Lake is a historic district in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Its borders consist of 15th Street to the North, Utica Street to the East, 21st Street to the South, and Peoria Avenue to the west. The District was developed in the early 20th century as a middle-class residential area with single-family homes, some duplexes, and apartment buildings. It is still considered a highly regarded residential area with a high occupancy rate.

The district presently covers about 127 acres (51 ha) and includes 415 contributing resources and 148 non-contributing resources. It was the site of an amusement park in the early Twentieth Century, but is now notable for the number and architectural variety of houses and apartment buildings constructed in the 1920s and 1930s. In 2011, the American Planning Association (APA) named Swan Lake as a Top Ten Great Neighborhood.

According to the Tulsa Preservation Commission, Marquette School, the parish school for Christ the King Catholic Church, is a contributing resource for the Swan Lake Historical District. The school is at 1519 South Quincy Avenue.

There are some shopping areas along the streets that border the District (especially 15th Street and Peoria Avenue), they are rather limited in scope. Utica Square, located at 21st Street and Utica Avenue is the largest general shopping area close to the District. The St. John's medical complex is across Utica on the east side of the District.

Swan Lake is the focal point of the district of the same name. Two-story houses built around the lake from 1919 to the present represent a variety of architectural styles including Spanish, Georgian Revival, and vernacular interpretations honoring the swan. The remainder of the neighborhood is similar in scale, containing bungalows, two-story houses, quadruplexes, and six-plexes of stone, clapboard, and stucco. The Swan Lake area has more two- and three-story, 1920 to 1930 multi-family apartments, and duplexes than any other residential area in Tulsa. The district includes the commercial area on 15th Street.

The neighborhood of Swan Lake was designed and laid out in a smaller than normal street grid system. This design identified from the beginning a desire for an enhanced focus on pedestrian traffic and an indirect focus on neighborly community interaction. Supporting this idea is the quantity of community organization and community activities that are prevalent year-round. Such a community involvement identifies a true connection between the neighborhood and the citizens that call it home.

Noted Tulsa architect, Joseph R. Koberling, Jr. chose to build his own home in the district in 1944. The house at 1543 South Swan Drive is still used as a private residence. Its architectural style has been described as French Eclectic.

The United States is rich in culturally historic neighborhoods sometimes in plain sight or hidden among the many streets of the many large cities across the country. Each significant in their own way to their own communities yet some have been identified as “Great Places in America: Neighborhoods” by the American Planning Association. The American Planning Association (APA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports and advocates community planning through education and citizen empowerment.

The Swan Lake Neighborhood has been identified along with nine other neighborhoods as 2011's “Great Places In America: Neighborhoods”. An APA program celebrates communities with a true sense of place, culture and historical interest, community involvement, and vision that set the standard of excellence. It is a great honor for this neighborhood to be identified as an area of exemplary character, planning, and quality by the national organization. The Swan Lake Neighborhood is a community that should be celebrated and learned from to help spread this high standard across the country.