About Verdigris, Oklahoma
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 610 ft. (186 m). Population: 4,118 (2012 est.).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
A small town 8 miles southwest of Claremore and 4 miles north of Catoosa, in Rogers County, northeastern Oklahoma.
Verdigris, Bird Creek Bridge, Route 66
Historic Route 66 (OK-66) crosses the town with a notheast to southwest course.
See Claremore, History for full information on the region's history.
French fur traders explored the Arkansas River and along its upper reaches, in the late 1700s, they discovered a river which they named Verdigris. In those days, this territory was part of the French Louisiana.
Louisiana was purchased by the USA in 1803, and what would later become Oklahoma, was initially designated as the Indian Territory. Many native groups were relocated there, evicted from their ancestral territories east of the Mississippi, during the 1830s: the Cherokee, Delaware, Ontario and Miami among other tribes.
The Cherokee Nation was assigned this territory and they settled it.
A small rural community grew along the stage coach route that followed the high ground southwest of Claremore. A post office was established at Verdigris on March 12, 1880. And a few years later, a stop of the St. Louis - San Francisco Railway which was built there.
Route 66 was aligned through the town in 1926 and re-aligned in 1936 to its current location (now it is Oklahoma highway 66). In 1954 the post office closed, and in 1957 the Interstate I-44 was opened, leading to a drop of traffic along US-66.
The town of Verdigris was incorporated in 1980, it is part of the Tulsa metropolitan area. It is mainly an agricultural community.
The Name Verdigris
The French traders called the river "Verdigris" after the words "Vert" (green) and "Gris" (gray), perhaps due to the color of its water.
Lodging Near Verdigris
- 7 miles. Motels and Hotels in Claremore.
- 44 miles. Motels and Hotels in Vinita.
- 59 miles. Motels and Hotels in Afton.
>> There are five RV campgrounds in Verdigris - Claremore.
Weather in Verdigris
Check the Weather and climate of Claremore for historical weather information.
The average temperature is 60°F (15.6°C), and the average rainfall is 43.4 inches (1.100 mm). A few inches of snow fall during winter.
Tornado Risk: Verdigris lies within the "Tornado Alley in Oklahoma and experiences some 10 Tornado watches every year.
Read more about: the risk of Tornadoes on Route66.
Getting to Verdigris
It is 7 miles southwest of Claremore.
Map of Verdigris and Route66
Map of Verdigris and Route 66 in Oklahoma.
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment; Red line: Interstate highways, where they overlap the old alignment.
Remove or restore State shading
Route 66 itinerary to Verdigris
Route 66 in Oklahoma
Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across Oklahoma.
Verdigris, OK: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Small Town Attractions
The Verdigris river is a tributary of the Arkansas River and therefore part of the Mississippi River watershed.
Its sources ar ein Kansas and its length is about 310 miles (498 km). The Tulsa port of Catoosa is located on the river just north of the town of Verdigris.
It is mentioned in the novel "Little House on the Prairie", written in 1935 by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Verdigris has a small rural community and is best known for its "Nut House" shop and the "Bird Creek Bridge" on the Historic Route 66.
A short story by Kurt Vonnegut titled "Armageddon in Retrospect", has Verdigris as the headquarters of the United Nations Demonological Investigating Committee (UNDICO).
26677 OK-66, Verdigris. (918) 266-1604. www.facebook.com/66Nuts/.
Despite its name, it is not a lunatic assylum, it is a store which sells all kinds of nut products including locally grown pecan nuts.
Bird Creek Bridge on Route 66
Back in 1925, the Verdigris River's meandering course through Oklahoma between Claremore and Catoosa had only one bridge, a steel truss one, built that same year. When Route 66 was created the following year, its alignment was laid across that bridge.
However the bridge proved to be a bit too narrow (18 ft.) so a new alignment for Route 66 was built just south of it in 1936. The new roadbed had a wider and therefore safer bridge (24 ft.).
At that time, the main channel Verdigris River was not the current one, which is man-made, an part of the McClellan - Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS), an inland waterway system linking the Tulsa port of Catoosa with the Mississippi River.
This waterway was built between 1963 and 1971, and after it was built, the Verdigris River name was assigned to it. The former course of Verdigris River was renamed as "Bird Creek", but it was the original channel of Verdigris River until the late 1960s.
Therefore the bridges spanning "modern" Verdigris River are not part of the original Historic Route 66 alignment through Rogers County.
On the other hand, the two bridges that span Bird Creek were part of the post-1936 Historic Route 66 (one of them was removed in 2011).
In 1957 Route 66 was widened to four lanes and a second bridge was built, on the south side of the 1936 bridge, it was a bit wider (28 ft.).
Below we will describe both bridges:
The 1936, 1957 and 2011 Bridges
There are two bridges carrying Route 66 (OK-66) across Bird Creek, and this is their story:
North bridge, westbound lanes. This is a new reinforced concrete bridge finished in 2011, which was built for safety reasons and replaced the original 1936 Route 66 bridge.
It was built by M.E. Gillioz, of Monett Missouri, a large contractor during the early 1900s. The steel bridge had six spans ranging from 100 to 210 feet long.
The second bridge, eastbound was added in 1957 when Route 66 became a four lane highway. It was also built by Gillioz, and has the same spans as the older bridge. It is a bit wider.
The 1936 bridge was reconditioned and rededicated in 1957 and a monument was erected at the southeastern tip of the bridges. They were named as the H. Tom Night Jr. Bridge. Night had been a Claremore City attorney, a State Highway Commissioner and a State Senator.
The 1936 bridge was replaced in 2011, but some of its spans have been preserved.
Visit the 1936 Bridge spans
The 1926 alignment of Route 66 crossed the Verdigris River north of the current bridges, and then took a sharp left curve along what is now North Old Hwy 66, which crosses OK-66 just west of the Bird Creek Bridges. Take this road, and at the entrance of a local restaurant, Molly's Landing, you will see some of the old spans and the dedication monument.
US Highway 66
Historic Route 66 alignment
Learn more about alignment of Historic Route-66 through Oklahoma.
National & State Parks
See the nearby places ideal for outdoor recreation and enjoying nature here: State Parks near Verdigris - Claremore
Bob Burke, Eric Dabney, Historic Rogers County: An illustrated history, pp. 37
George H. Shirk, Oklahoma Place Names, pp. 167.
Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.