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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Bartlesville, Oklahoma, a community enriched by the presence of two college campuses,  has many offerings: one of the world’s top Mozart Festivals, Frank Lloyd Wright’s only skyscraper, an Arts Center, and  a stunning Community Center, among other things. This small town of 34,000 got its start when the Phillips Petroleum Company (now part of Conoco) began here in 1905 – when Oklahoma was still an Indian Territory. Frank Phillips’ vision and money has resulted in a livable city with cultural treasures unusual for a town of this size. Two colleges are in town: Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Rogers State University, Bartlesville, giving this town with a college feel.

Price Tower is the only Frank Lloyd Wright skyscraper ever built, according to the Wikipedia. One of his disciplines, William Wesley Peters, designed the stunning Bartlesville Community Center. Among many other events held here is the annual OK Mozart International Festival, which attracts world class performers for the week long event. Frank Phillips’ home and ranch is now a museum run by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The town is only 40 miles from Tulsa and just a short drive to the Ozark Mountains. Bartlesville is located in Washington County.

Where to Retire in Bartlesville and Home Prices

There is at least one development for active adults (see listing at top left). However there are many nice neighborhoods where the oil executives live.
According to Zillow, the median home value in mid-2021 was $119,048.

What Is Special about Bartlesville

• Only Frank Lloyd Wright skyscraper, the Price Building • A city with unusually strong cultural facilities • Price Arts Center • Jo Allyn Lowe Park and arboretum • 11 mile Pathfinder-Parkway (bike and walking paths connecting parks and running along the Canal) • Two colleges • Near the Ozark mountains • Bartlesville Community Center

What Is Not Special about Bartlesville

Other than being somewhat remote, it doesn't seem to have many drawbacks, provided that you like small towns.

Climate and Physical Environment

Bartlesville is located near the northeast corner of Oklahoma near Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. The Ozark Mountains are just a short distance away. Summers are hot with average temperatures in the 80's and 90's; winters can get into the 20's and 30's. There is a lot of nice vegetation in the form of trees and grass.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Bartlesville Community Center (94,000 square feet) is one of the country's top venues for arts and entertainment. Theater Bartlesville, Bartlesville Civic Ballet, and the top Bartlesville Symphony perform here. The Community Center has an Auditorium, Galleries, Outdoor Photography, 1700 seat Studio Theatre, and Community Hall. Its Broadway in Bartlesville Season offers plays, opera, and many other high level entertainments. The Price Tower Arts Center in Frank Lloyd Wright's skyscraper is dedicated to art, architecture, and design with frequent exhibitions. The Tower even has an Inn!


The crime rate is below the national average.

Medical Facilities

Jane Phillips Medical Center, named after the wife of Phillips Oil's founder, serves Bartlesville. With 103 beds,  it is part of the St. John's Health System in Tulsa.


Bartlesville Municipal has a 6200 ft. paved airstrip. Tulsa International Airport is 40 miles. Public transportation available through CityRide (918) 336-2233. TThe Interstate is about 40 miles to the south.

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