Sonic Center of the Universe.

Sonic Center of the Universe

Field review by the editors.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

In the 1980s Tulsa's old Boston Street Bridge was badly damaged in a fire. It was rebuilt as a pedestrian walkway, complete with cement planters and (later) concrete terrorist barriers on either end. A swirly pattern of bricks was inset into the pavement at the bridge apex to hide an expansion joint.

Sonic Center of the Universe.

The small, well-worn disc of cement at the center of the swirl (sometimes mistaken for a manhole cover) naturally attracts walkers as a kind of bulls-eye. Whoever was responsible for the design did not realize that if someone stands on the disc and speaks, their voice becomes mysteriously amplified and distorted.

Armchair theorists have attempted to explain what causes the eerie reverb. Some blame mysterious cosmic forces. Others say it's just a "focusing anomaly" -- sound bouncing off the raised planters.

From the way the echoes sounded to us, we suspect the expansion joint is the key. When you stand in the center of the swirl and speak, your voice seeps through the crack, plummets down to the railroad tracks below, then bounces back up to your ears, making everything sound time-delayed and trippy.

(Note: our ears may also have accumulated permanent damage from too many long road trips listening to Hawkwind.)

Adding to the weirdness of the Sonic Center is a towering 72.5-foot-tall black metal artwork just south of the swirl. Titled "Artificial Cloud," it was erected by sculptor Robert Haozous in 1992. A close look at the sculpture reveals unsettling details, such as cut-outs of tumbling jet planes and human figures with missing limbs. The Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau calls the artwork, "a silent commentary on man's love of technology." Haozous has said that he expects the entire sculpture to eventually rust away.

Also see: Center of the Universe: Idaho | Center of the Universe: New Mexico

Sonic Center of the Universe

Address:
S. Boston Ave., Tulsa, OK
Directions:
Downtown. In the center of the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks between E. 1st and E. Archer Sts, accessible from S. Boston Ave.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Newspaper Boy StatueNewspaper Boy Statue, Tulsa, OK - < 1 mi.
Time Capsule: 1998 Car Buried HereTime Capsule: 1998 Car Buried Here, Tulsa, OK - < 1 mi.
East Meets West: Father of Route 66East Meets West: Father of Route 66, Tulsa, OK - 1 mi.
In the region:
Tom Mix Museum: Suitcase of Death, Dewey, OK - 44 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Oklahoma

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Oklahoma.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use RoadsideAmerica.com's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

November 24, 2017

My Sights

My Sights

Save Cool Vacation Destinations!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Oklahoma Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Ruby City Museum, Franklin, North Carolina (Nov 20-26, 2017)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from RoadsideAmerica.com. Subscribe now!
RoadsideAmerica.com Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Book Online Now