70th Anniversary Video
The Foundations of the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa
Seventy years ago, in the early period of World War II, a small group of concerned Tulsa businessmen began meeting in the Tulsa Hotel to discuss the needs of businesses in the home building industry. This group of builders and developers had survived the decade preceding the war - a decade in which the American people had suffered through the greatest economic depression in our nation’s history. Homeownership had become a luxury far beyond the reach of the majority of the people and the home building industry was virtually non-existent.
As national defense efforts ramped up in the summer of 1941, the concerns of land developers and home builders escalated and moved into the national spotlight. It was feared by many that private enterprise would be eliminated in the housing industry and a national Home Builders Emergency Committee was founded. The efforts of this committee became one of the most critical turning points in the home building industry. While the government exercised control over almost every aspect of business, housing construction was one of the few areas that remained privatized. For three years, Emergency Committee members around the country rallied for the private industry to tackle the post-war housing job and save taxpayers an estimated billions of dollars.
The consensus from the Tulsa group and others acround the country was that the home building industry needed a unified voice that could demand the attention of government and contribute in shaping the national housing policies that would guarantee the continuation of the home building industry under the free enterprise system.
In early 1942, a new organization, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), took shape from several fragmented industry groups. On July 1, 1942, the Tulsa group received certification as the Tulsa Home Builders Association from the still formulating entity. The group’s first President was Morris Turner, who ultimately provided the land for the Association’s first permanent home at 5909 E. 15th Street in the early 50s. The organization remained there for 14 years, until construction began on the current headquarters in 1975.
Following the end of World War II, the demand for housing anticipated by the founders of NAHB created an unprecedented boom. Here in Tulsa, the economy went through a short period of adjustment, but by 1946 employment was high and the demand for new housing generated subdivisions that pushed the borders of the city into new areas of expansion.
Today, these events have become a cornerstone for the Association, and are some of the largest events of their kind in the nation. The annual Greater Tulsa Parade of Homes featured 144 homes in 2012, with homes from more than 60 building companies and spread throughout 15 cities in the now sprawling metro area.
The Tulsa Home & Garden has not only become the Association’s largest event, it is also a Tulsa icon. In 2012, more than 400 companies exhibited at the QuikTrip Center at Expo Square during the four-day event. Attendance exceeded 35,000 people. The event provides an ideal way to showcase member companies and the latest building technologies and services to the public. It also helps to fund the activities of the Association, from political lobbying to educational events and promotional programs to help members and the industry alike.
Beyond its efforts to promote the home buidling indsutry, the Home Builders Association remains an important contributor to the landscape of Tulsa. Not only through its leadership in the development of the community, but also through its philanthropic efforts. The Association donates more than $50,000 annually to initiaitves such as Ryal School, Tulsa Habitat for Humanity, the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless and several other education and home-related programs.
From the small table of businessmen at the Tulsa Hotel, the organization has grown today to more than 800 respected, qualified building professionals. It represents the best in Tulsa’s building industry.