Fifty years ago today, the first barge arrived in Tulsa’s port of Catoosa.
Today they celebrated a time capsule in the port that was filled with a variety of items such as newspapers and port memorabilia and will open in 50 years.
The port, along with its navigation channel, is a major employer and economic tool for Northeast Oklahoma as barges can move cargo between Tulsa and the Gulf of Mexico, making Tulsa essentially a seaport.
Even after all this time, it’s a well-kept secret outside of the region.
Dewey Bartlett, chairman of the port authority and former Tulsa mayor, recently spoke to some business people outside of town about it.
“They had no idea we had a port. They thought I was kidding and I said no, that’s the real deal, ”Bartlett said.
Some Tulsa trivia: President Nixon stopped in Catoosa in 1971 to inaugurate the port.
According to Bartlett, the average barge can carry around 60 loads of articulated lorries, making the port a cheaper and more environmentally friendly means of transportation.
The first ship to arrive 50 years ago carried a load of newsprint used by Tulsa World and the now-defunct Tulsa Tribune.