Saving Tulsa's history

Wednesday, September 8th 2004, 12:04 pm
By: News On 6

A valuable collection of Tulsa's history is about to be saved - for the second time. The Rotary Club of Tulsa came up with the money to save it this time - but Beryl Ford is the man who saved it all to start with.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says it's a collection of key images and artifacts from Tulsa's history that no one else bothered to compile.

Not that it was easy - or inexpensive. Beryl Ford can't imagine how much time or money he's spent to save Tulsa's past. "I've always had a great appreciation for Tulsa, my hometown."

Ford's warehouse holds about 250,000 items, everything from giant scrapbooks of old newspapers - to historical signs and parts from significant buildings. It's a collection like none other - that needed saving. The Historical Society wanted it all - but didn't have the money to save it.

The Rotary Clubs of Tulsa stepped in with a half million dollars to start the work of saving it - so it can eventually be put on display. Ford says he's always hoped someone would take an interest in his collection - which he put together mainly from what other people didn't want. "I could never - understand how people could leave these things behind - push them into the attic and leave them."

The work of cataloguing the Beryl Ford Collection will take years - and Ford himself will spend 20 hours a week on the job. It's nothing compared to what's he's done already.