Get to know “Sapulpa’s grandfather,” Pete Egan

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From reading one of Mr. Egan’s books, he is an elder of Sapulpa at eighty-four years young. He is also one of our town’s grandfathers, preserving and sharing our history.

He introduced himself as “Pete.” Pete’s grandfather came to Sapulpa in 1892 or 1893 and owned a general store on Main Street. His aunt would tell him stories of Sapulpa, and the rest is history, literally. 

Mr. Pete Egan with his model of downtown Sapulpa at the Historical Society Museum. Photo: Brooke DeLong

He and his wife had five children, which produced eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. He is a kindred spirit, laughing while telling stories with his eyes shining bright. History is important to Mr. Egan because, “You have to know your past before you can know your present, where you are headed. It’s very important to everyone.” 

Loving history and our town so much, he’s devoted much of his time telling stories, writing books and making models of Sapulpa. Three scale models he created can be found at the Sapulpa Historical Society Museum. The largest of the models is a representation of Sapulpa as it was in 1929, a bustling town. The detail is incredible with awnings, fire escapes, hand-painted cars, and hand-made buildings.  He estimates spending 5,400 hours on this project alone. 

“I enjoyed every minute of doing it! When I would build, I would walk the town, take pictures, make sketches and research to make sure it was accurate.” He said they use it quite often to verify the information and for projects.

Sadly, kids don’t sit at their older generation’s knees anymore listening to stories of the past, something Mr. Egan highly recommends doing. What other advice does he have for the younger generation? 

“Young people need to get involved in their community…school activities, Salvation Army, Civic Clubs…creating a good, healthy viable community that broadens the scope for everyone.”

History repeats itself and Mr. Egan’s model shows a bustling town. He said about the town’s future, “I think with the new bond issue and people starting to fix up old buildings and beginning to really promote Route 66, the downtown has a bright future. We just have to be patient, it all takes time.”

If you have never visited our Historical Museum located at 100 E. Lee, it’s highly recommended and needs to be shared with all generations. Mr. Egan has published two books, “SAPULPA, OK! The Greatest City in the Known World, Volume 1 and 2.” Volume 2 is currently available for purchase at the museum. The books cover our history from early Native Americans to 1960. Sharing stories verbally or better yet, writing them down is invaluable for future generations. 

As for him being a grandfather for Sapulpa? His contact information one of his granddaughters sent me is saved just the way it came in, “Papa Egan.”

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Brooke DeLong

Brooke DeLong

Brooke DeLong has a degree in Naturopathy and is passionate about educating and inspiring people. She is a wife and mom to four awesome kids.

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