Berryhill Community and Real Estate Information
Berryhill is small community located in West Tulsa, Oklahoma, about four square miles in area. It’s located south of the Arkansas River.
Berryhill is comprised of nine or ten churches, a store, a business or two, several creeks and many hills. Before the creeks empty into the Arkansas River, they tend to travel into Berryhill Creek. They empty close to West Avenue and 57, near the train tracks. The area will eventually be joined with the Gilcrease Expressway. Most of the homes directly east of S 57th West Avenue and west of S 55th West Avenue have already been demolished and the first phase, the Gilcrease Expressway Extension, has been finished for several years.
The most important and recognizable hill in the valley for residents is Victory Hill, located just east and towering over the Berryhill Football Field. The hill was very important to Berryhill’s early inhabitants. Other hills have equal cultural significance to those from Berryhill.
History of Berryhill
Berryhill was first known as Happy Hollow. Much of the land in Berryhill was originally owned by a Native American named Berryhill. The old, original parts of Berryhill, although containing some affluent members, were mainly working class, blue-collar families with high hopes for their children.
Both economic classes were attracted by the comparatively rural culture of Berryhill as opposed to the urbanization going on in Tulsa, as well as the fact that there was an abundance of manufacturing jobs in nearby West Tulsa.
Berryhill’s rural culture is best described as the 1950s. This quality of Berryhill insulates one from the more stark reality of the modern world. Serious violent crime is very rare, like in many other small towns. For most residents, the Sooner/Boomer spirit dominates the ethic of the Ozarks. Many have a great deal of pride in Native American heritage and culture as well.
Berryhill wasn’t able to generate enough mail to establish a post office and certain laws governing the geography of townships in Oklahoma prevent the community from ever becoming a town. This meant that the independent school district became the focus of the community.
The 1960s and 1970s echoed changes in the culture across the country; among some of the families in Berryhill, it was a growing margin of drug culture. Drinking was long a normal part of the local culture, usually reserved for the men who would slip over to the bars on Southwest Boulevard. Other drugs, mainly marijuana, were widely accepted, especially with rebellious youth who wanted to strike out against the rigid class system at Berryhill.
In the 1980s, drug use seemed to leap across the traditional class structure. Many students were transferred to Berryhill schools in a desperate attempt to save these youths from trouble. They looked at the rural atmosphere as a blessing. In fact, the new students from the city served to introduce new ideas of what was cool to the elite social groups, including trendy apparel, drug use and rap music.
Today, Berryhill schools are some of the finest in the county. Offering students a great education in a safe and friendly environment.
Post Rolling Oaks
The development of the Rolling Oaks area in the 1980s and 1990s helped better off families to use the Sand Springs sanitary system, as opposed to the septic system used by most of the residents of Berryhill. Also, many parents sought the more-individualized attention to students the Berryhill School District offered.
Eventually, the increase of well-to-do families on the hills over S 65th West Avenue led to other developments in Berryhill real estate. Recent developments include an expansion of W 41st Street into four lanes between S 57th West Avenue to OK-97 in Prattville (Sand Springs) and construction of several new commercial buildings, including a Tulsa Community College campus, National Guard facility, a bank and a car wash.
Berryhill may soon be annexed into the Tulsa city limits. There are hopes that this will happen before the governing laws change so it will not be so difficult in the future.
Education in Berryhill
Berryhill is served by the Berryhill School District, which is an independent school district. Classes are offered for students in high school, middle school, elementary school and the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs. Student population was nearly 1,150 as of 2004.
Berryhill High School serves grades 10-12. Behind the high school is the library. South of the high school is Berryhill Junior High School. The C.C. Ogilvie Fieldhouse is next to the junior high and provides a basketball court for the school along with a concession. Behind the junior high building and the fieldhouse is a building shared between band and shop classes. South of the fieldhouse is the wrestling room. An additional athletics facility has been constructed on S 65th West Avenue. The Berryhill Fire Station is across the street.
The elementary grades are split between Berryhill North Elementary and Berryhill South Elementary.
Berryhill School History
At one time, the South Elementary building served as both high school and junior high school as well as elementary. After the school board built an elementary school, the building served as the high school and junior high school. Later, Berryhill built the high school, making the other building Berryhill Junior High. In 1988, a new junior high was built near the new high school and the building became the Upper Elementary building. In 2004, the north wing of the original building was demolished and a new building was constructed in its place. Currently, the building is called Berryhill South Elementary School.
One thing some appreciate about Berryhill is that there is a chance to truly connect with a community like many others that were prevalent in the US in the 1950s. Neighbors and strangers were not to be feared and the subtle pleasures and beauty of life have a chance to be enjoyed.
Berryhill is a Bible Belt community. On S 57 West Avenue is 1st Pentecostal Church of Tulsa, pastored by Reverend Don Martin. This is part of the United Pentecostal Church International. Baptist churches dominate the area.