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What is Tulsa's Center of the Universe landmark?
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What is Tulsa's Center of the Universe landmark?

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It’s been called a “whisper chamber,” a phenomenon and a mystery.

Tulsa’s Center of the Universe is a kitschy and compelling namesake for the city’s burgeoning music festival.

The downtown marvel is at 20 E. Archer St., at the apex of a span of the old Boston Street Bridge between First and Archer streets.

The center itself is a worn concrete circle, 30 inches in diameter, that’s in the middle of a 13-row circle of bricks eight feet in diameter.

The circle was created in the ’80s, when the span of bridge had to be rebuilt after a fire.

Just south of the circle stands a 60-foot totem-pole-like sculpture called “Artificial Cloud” that was added in 1991.

When someone stands in the center of the circle, facing any direction, and makes a noise, that noise is echoed back several times louder than it was made.

The same thing happens if one stands a foot or less away from the circle and speaks to a person directly across the circle.

Architects and art curators have theorized that a hollow echo of sorts was accidentally created by an expansion joint — or embedded steel angle — that splits the inner circle. Some think that the anomaly is caused by the person’s voice reverberating off the half-circular, raised planters that partly surround the circle.

The mystique, coupled with the creative branding as the center of all that exists, draws constant visitors.

Some marvel at the destination while experiencing it for the first time. Many others have even chosen the sport for proposals, engagement pictures and marriages.

The Center of the Universe is a short walk south of the music festival grounds in the Brady Arts District.

If you are visiting Tulsa for the festival, you’ll find the Center of the Universe about one block north of Tulsa’s tallest building, the 52-story BOK Tower.

Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459

nicole.marshall@tulsaworld.com

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