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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

ROBINSON, WALLACE N. (1866–1936).

Tulsa pioneer and hotel owner Wallace N. Robinson was born in 1866 at Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. He acquired an education in Peoria, Illinois, and Glasgow, Kentucky, before moving to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1887 and working for the Avery Planter Company.

In 1902 he relocated to Tulsa, engaging in real estate and reportedly buying and selling Freedmen allotments. In 1904 he transformed a livery stable into the Alcorn Hotel, known as Tulsa's first luxury hotel. The next year he built the more modern, four-story Robinson Hotel, which included "sanitary facilities." In 1907 he added a fifth floor. This hotel enabled Tulsa to attract oilmen operating in Glenn Pool Oil Field, thereby firmly establishing Tulsa as eastern Oklahoma's oil headquarters. In 1905 Robinson led a booster trip that advertised the city throughout the United States. In 1912 a group of investors built the Hotel Tulsa, with Robinson as the manager. He later bought the facility for $400,000. Harry Sinclair operated out of a suite of offices on the fifth floor, and other well-known oilmen completed large transactions in the lobby, gaining the hotel a legendary reputation. In 1923 Robinson sold the building to Henry Ketchum. Robinson later owned hotels in Kansas City, Fort Worth, Texas, and San Antonio, Texas. While in Oklahoma, he organized and served as the first president of the Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma Hotel Association and later was chosen president of the American Hotel Association. Wallace N. Robinson died on April 2, 1936, in Sackets Harbor, New York.

Larry O'Dell

Learn More

Danney Goble, Tulsa! Biography of the American City (Tulsa, Okla.: Council Oak Books, 1997).

Tulsa (Oklahoma) Tribune, 2 April 1936.

Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 3 April 1936 and 7 March 1997.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, “Robinson, Wallace N.,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=RO009.

Published January 15, 2010

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