The Golden Driller is an iconic statue that symbolizes the oil heritage of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Standing at 76 feet tall, it is one of the tallest freestanding statues in the United States. Here is a look at the history of the Golden Driller and how it came to be one of the most recognizable landmarks in Tulsa.
In the 1950s, Tulsa was known as the “Oil Capital of the World.” The city was home to many oil companies, and drilling rigs dotted the landscape. In 1952, Tulsa hosted the International Petroleum Exposition, which was a major event for the oil industry. To celebrate the expo, the Chamber of Commerce decided to commission a statue that would represent the oil industry and the city of Tulsa.
The statue was designed by artist Hugh Davis and was originally made of plaster. It was unveiled at the 1953 International Petroleum Exposition and was an instant hit. The statue was so popular that the Chamber of Commerce decided to make it a permanent fixture in Tulsa.
In 1959, the statue was cast in bronze and painted gold. It was placed in front of the Tulsa County Fairgrounds, which was the site of the International Petroleum Exposition. The statue was named the Golden Driller, and it quickly became a beloved landmark in Tulsa.
Over the years, the Golden Driller has undergone several renovations and restorations. In 1979, the statue was moved to its current location at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds. In 1981, the Golden Driller was given a makeover and was repainted in a brighter shade of gold. In 2019, the statue underwent a major restoration, which included repairing cracks and replacing missing pieces.
Today, the Golden Driller is one of the most popular attractions in Tulsa. It has been featured in movies, television shows, and commercials. Visitors to Tulsa can take pictures with the statue and even climb up to the top of the platform to get a closer look.
The Golden Driller is more than just a statue; it is a symbol of the rich history and heritage of Tulsa. It represents the city’s ties to the oil industry and its resilience in the face of economic challenges. The statue is a testament to the spirit of the people of Tulsa, who are proud of their city and its history.