Even before humans came, the waters drew ancient creatures: probably dinosaurs and other reptiles, certainly prehistoric elephants, mastodons and mammoths that left hundreds of thousands of bones and fragments along the river bed, according to those who read fossils. Even today, people find elephant teeth between Sand Springs and Keystone Dam.
Located just north of the Arkansas River Bridge on Memorial in Bixby, Washington Irving Park marks one of the areas Irving visited on his 1832 trek.
deep Royal Gorge near Canon City in Colorado.� Before it’s done, the river will gather waters from lands that cover more than 168,000 square miles, a landmass larger than California or roughly 2-1/2 times the size of the state of Oklahoma. It will slow and spread out as it flows through Kansas, wanders into Oklahoma, loops around through Tulsa, and meanders across the state of Arkansas to its mouth near Napoleon, Ark., where it becomes part of the mighty Mississippi River, thence to the sea.
folded, eroded, rose and fell again, off and on covered by ancient inland seas.� And readers of the soil see a historical riverbed that wandered back and forth as it wrote its story in fine alluvial river sands that extend miles wide along the course of the river through the Tulsa area.�
The now-extinct wildlife drew hunters — PaleoIndians, ancient, nomadic Indians — to the water’s edge in those prehistoric days. So great was their awe of the water, primitive men worshipped it. Some anthropologists believe man was present in Oklahoma as early ago as 12,000 years ago. � To readers of shards (archeologists), evidence of prehistoric occupation is clearly revealed at sites such as the Spiro mounds north of the Arkansas River in northeastern Oklahoma. Sometime after 500 BC, the Caddo Indians created a fabled center of commerce and religion, famous for its wealth accumulated by leaders of the Arkansas Basin cultures and buried with them.The river became their channel for trade and communication. The site was occupied as late as 1400 AD, the beginning of our prehistory’s dark ages. Little is known about the next
The Tulsa Mountains and ancient seas The birth of our Tulsa River reach was no less violent. Readers of rock (geologists) say what we know as home rests on the buried Tulsa Mountains, vast ranges that rose and fell over geologic time,
8 | River’s Edge Magazine
The birdlife along ‘The Tulsa River’ include herons, ducks, gulls, geese, terns, cormorants, pelicans and eagles. Photos by Vernis Maxwell