Jenks, Oklahoma is a suburb of Tulsa, about 15
to 20 minutes south of the Central Business District, via Riverside Parkway or
Highway 75. Jenks real estate and homes are some of the most sought after
in the Metro Tulsa area. While it's school district extends into Tulsa, the town of
Jenks is located west of the Arkansas River and generally south of Tulsa's 91st
St. Jenks America as it is often referred to has recently enjoyed
tremendous growth, with a present population estimated at around 14,500, an
increase of nearly 50% in just the last few years alone.
Much of the growth that Jenks has seen the
past few decades can be directly attributed to a nationally recognized school system that has attracted families
seeking a quality education for their children. Because of the high demand
for more quality housing in the Jenks School District, builders and developers
have sought to meet that demand, creating a virtual housing boom of 300 to 400
new Jenks homes and residential real estate units each year that has fueled additional economic growth and development
in the area.
With it's rapidly growing tax base and outstanding school district, Jenks
is very appealing to those who appreciate small town values, within just a few
minutes of all the amenities of a larger community like Tulsa.
A brief Historical Perspective on Jenks
A cooperative agreement made between the Midland Valley Railroad and the Midland
Valley Townsite Company in 1904 established a community along the railroad
between Tulsa and Muskogee. Jenks was
significantly influenced by the railroad and its name came from a director of
the Midland Valley who lived in Philadelphia. In the town's early history, the
railroad, agriculture and oil, were the primary economic engines. The location
along the Arkansas River was also important because when the river level was
high, it was navigable by shallow draft steam boats.
the discovery of oil in nearby fields greatly influenced the town's early
development. In those early days, oil tank farms were built nearby to
store the oil. Another important early influence was the agricultural
impact of a sizable collection Bulgarian farmers who immigrated to the area in
the 1920's concentrating on dairying and live stock production.
could say the location near the river was both a blessing and a curse as Jenks
endured a number of floods to the original town site because of the periodic
overflow of the Arkansas River and Polecat Creek. Just prior to 1950 the
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers erected a levee around the original town of Jenks to
protect its then population of about 1,500 from those floods.
river was not known for providing a dependable source of transportation, it's
role was significant as it pertained to river crossings. The first Jenks
area bridge connecting the east and west banks of the Arkansas was built in
1910. Later bridges were built in 1948 and 1996.
An active Jenks Chamber of Commerce
offers a wide range of resources to both businesses and families, including a
website featuring a community calendar of events.
Jenks Points of Interest ... things to do and sea!
Main Street of Jenks
has long been a resort for local antique enthusiasts. This unique
district has Victorian charm and a turn of the century feel, with sidewalk
benches, and outdoor music. They say over 600 dealers are represented in
the local antique, specialty and home decorating shops found in the
country-style setting many believe to be the Antique Capital of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Aquarium
It is doubtful that any single episode or event
could be more symbolic of Jenks recent growth than the building of the Oklahoma
Aquarium in 2003. Click here for Oklahoma
Aquarium Video The project was originally planned for south Tulsa but a
lack of public support seemed to doom the idea and it was thought dead until a
group of Jenks community leaders resurrected it, catching many in Tulsa by
With approximately 4,000 creatures, displayed in 200
exhibits and eight galleries the Oklahoma Aquarium draws over a half million
visitors a year. The aquarium's mission heavily emphasizes conservation
through education as experienced by the "touch tanks" for children found in the
Some of the largest bull and lemon sharks in captivity
are featured in the 500,000 gallon shark tank with an underwater viewing tunnel
which extends to a domed room where the creatures swim beside and overhead.
For the fishing enthusiast, there is theKarl and Beverly White National
Fishing Tackle Museum, the largest collection in the world.
Oklahoma’s only riverfront shopping and
entertainment district, RiverWalk Crossing,
is also found in Jenks.
Riverwalk Crossing is
home to live music almost every night and dozens of upscale restaurants, bars
Cabos Mexican Grill), and a cinema. RiverWalk Crossing overlooks the Arkansas River,
and it has been so popular that a thirty
million dollar second phase was approved in 2007.
The Village will
include more retail and office spaces, apartments and lofts, and an additional
amphitheater. Located just west of the ninety sixth street bridge from
Riverside Drive, RiverWalk Crossing has become a major attraction for the area.
Huge new Jenks real estate development in the making
Another new Jenks development project
is being planned that will dwarf the
RiverWalk Crossing. The River District Development Group has designs on
building an “urban village” on 300 acres west of the aquarium. This is the largest Jenks real estate venture
Recently the Jenks City Council
unanimously voted to create a Tax Increment Financing District that
will allow this $1 billion dollar project to move forward. The River District
Development will be the largest mixed-use development in Oklahoma if it is built
as presently planned.
The developers envision a lifestyle
center with a town square, 850,000 square feet of retail space including
specialty shops, restaurants, clubs, and entertainment, 400,000 square feet of office space,
650 hotel rooms, and 300 condominium units overlooking a 80 acre lake.
Plans also call for a spectacular
fountain and water feature set to a music library designed by the company
responsible for the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The
Jenks project is also competing with the City of Tulsa in trying to lure the
Tulsa Drillers minor league baseball franchise into a proposed new 7,000 seat
stadium in the new development.
Jenks Schools... a legacy of excellence
From the beginning, Jenks Schools have played an influential role within the
district’s dedication to excellence has led to academic success at both the
local and national levels, placing them in the top 1% of schools in the State of
Oklahoma. Over the past 10
years, Jenks Public Schools has produced 133 National Merit Semifinalists, 123
National Merit Finalists, and two Presidential Scholars to name but a few of
their rather impressive accomplishments.
2005, Vice President Richard Cheney, Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, and
Jenks Superintendent Dr. Kirby Lehman announced Jenks Public Schools as a
recipient of the 2005 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the
nation’s highest Presidential honor for quality and organizational performance
excellence. The school district’s motto, “A Tradition of Excellence with a
Vision for Tomorrow,” serves as a guide for all Jenks educators as they help
prepare students for the future.
Located both in South
of Tulsa (east of the Arkansas River) and Jenks (west of the river), the Jenks
School District encompasses 39 square miles and is the eleventh largest public
school district in the state of Oklahoma. Click here to download a PDF Map
of the Jenks School District.The School District
serves nearly 10,000 students at its nine school locations, and the school’s
suburban-metropolitan blend offers students the best of both worlds.
Click here to download
Campus Maps for the Jenks School District.
Athletics and activities are an important part of the Jenks Schools culture and
the years Jenks athletes have claimed more than 150 State Championships in
a multitude of sports. The success of the football team is truly legendary in
state annals and the cross-town rivalry with Union High School, called the
“Backyard Bowl” has become one of the premier high games in the country.
game is so huge that it has to be played in the University of Tulsa’s Chapman
Stadium to accommodate crowds up to and over 30,000 fans. In 2007, NFL Films
chose the Backyard Bowl as it national high school game of the week and it has
in USA Today and Sport Illustrated. In addition, two local filmmakers made a
movie for the big screen about the match-up called “King of the Mountain.”