Tulsa Cave House

 

You may find yourself driving down Charles page Boulevard and out of the corner of your eye, you'd spot what you could've sworn looked like something out of the Flintstones. You didn't dream it up. The Tulsa Cave House is real. And though seeing is believing, you'd never guess the truly bizarre history of on of Tulsa's more underrated and unusual landmarks.

So let's turn back the clock to the roaring twenties. Built by the architect Joseph R. Koberling. The Hungarian-American immigrant completed the structure, designed by Daniel Eichenfeld a cave garden chicken restaurant. Not only was it an atmospheric place to grub in the 20s, but like many establishments built during prohibition was also a front for a secret speakeasy where an individual with the right money and password might find themselves traveling through a series of tunnels to a hidden room filled with gangsters indulging themselves with glasses of illegal home made whiskey. Even famed gangster "Pretty Boy Floyd" was a patron who frequented the Cave Garden with his friends whenever he would find himself evading the law in Tulsa. But the speakeasy is only the beginning of the scandals surrounding the historic house.

After prohibition, the entrance to the tunnels that led into the cliffs was sealed shut. But there are a great many rumors that lead to legends of the building being haunted. Many believe that some of the tunnels in the cliffs hide the bodies of victims of the KKK as well as leading to a mass grave of victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. Though none of these rumors have ever been proven, to this day many still believe the house to be haunted with their souls as well as the souls of a couple of other odd guests.

Two such spirits were knows as "The Rag Lady" and "The Key Woman. The former was Ms. Ella Walker. She was called the Rag Woman because she was known to wear multiple layers of fabric regardless of the time of year. She collected rags and they could always be seen hanging outside of the house. One theory was that due to her having African American heritage at a time of segregation and racially motivated hate crimes, Ms. Walker was attempting to disguise herself or feign mental illness to keep people at a distance. Ms. Walkers Photo can be found in the Gallery below. The photo of the women from the waist up, she is to the far right.

"The Key Woman" was another resident of the Cave House at one point in time who would look after local shops for the owners while they were away. In doing so she was known to carry a large ring of keys with her at all times. There are stories that she would collect lost keys she would come across and some claim that she even took keys from people. Linda Collie, the current owner and Tour Guide of the house says that she and her guests have had keys go missing and show up in obvious places, so she encourages current guests not to joke about losing their keys. Linda has even erected shrines inside the house covered with keys to honor the previous resident that many believe still haunts the house.

Today the House can be toured still Linda has even added her own touch to the house through a sticks that wrap through the houses interior, the walls and even around the bed. The supposed entrance to the tunnels is a wall where the fireplace sits.

Quite a series of tales for a house you might miss if you happen to be blinking too fast rounding the corner on Charles Page. But it's just another amazing piece of Tulsa History that draws curious travelers from all over.

The House is still up and open for tours if you ever wish to see it for yourself!


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