Golden Driller Plaza in Tulsa undergoes renovations

The plaza for the Golden Driller just off Route 66 in Tulsa is undergoing a face-lift, including a new coat of paint for the statue itself.

The Tulsa World newspaper had the details on the $3 million project at Expo Square:

A key element of the new design is the construction of three drop-off lanes in front of River Spirit Expo that will be separated from the building by a covered walkway to create a safer environment for visitors entering and exiting the building. […]
Blair said the hope is to create a more park-like feel in front of River Spirit Expo. Plans call for extending electrical service to the plaza to make it possible to hold events and sell concessions in the area. […]
As part of the renovations, the 76-foot-tall tribute to the petroleum industry will get another fresh coat of paint, and a colorful concrete viewing area is being added around the base of the iconic structure.
The plaza will also have large, ground-level letters spelling out “Expo Square” in bright colors and a big electronic message board.

Expo Square will cover about two-thirds of the cost. The voter-approved Vision Tulsa sales tax will cover the rest.

Completion of the project is expected by fall.

The Golden Driller stands about two miles from the 11th Street alignment of Route 66, on 21st Street (map here). It’s so kitschy and iconic, many Route 66 travelers are willing to make a side trip to photograph it. According to Expo Square officials, 20 to 30 people a day snap photographs of the statue.

The 76-foot-tall, 43,500-pound statue of an oilfield roughneck was erected in 1966 as a tribute to the region’s petroleum industry and to kick off the International Petroleum Exposition that year.

It’s reputedly the sixth-tallest statue in the United States.

The Oklahoma Legislature in 1979 declared the Golden Driller a state monument.

(Image of the Golden Driller in Tulsa by Greg McKinney for Wikipedia)

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