The Tulsa Center of the Universe is a worn concrete circle, approximately thirty inches in diameter, within the middle of another circle made up of thirteen bricks. Overall, the center is a little more than eight feet in diameter.
The center of the universe is an acoustic anomaly; when one stands in the center of the circle and makes a noise, that noise is echoed back several times louder than it was made. Imagine dropping a small pin and expecting to hear a tiny “tink” as it hits the floor. Instead, the sound the pin makes is more like the loud crash of a gong.
While this in itself is amazing, the truly amazing thing is that no one standing outside of the circle can hear a thing. A foghorn could be going off in the center of the circle, and those on the outside wouldn’t hear it.... Or rather, that’s how the legend goes.
In reality, your voice does become extremely distorted when heard from outside the circle. Supposedly, the parabolic reflectivity of the circular planter walls causes the distortion. Many people have spent a lot of time studying how this effect is made, but there has been no consensus on what causes it. Whatever the causes of the distortions are, it is truly an amazing place.
Located in downtown Tulsa at the apex of a rebuilt span of the old Boston Street Bridge between 1st and Archer Street, the Center of the Universe is easy to find. A brick path leads to the pedestrian bridge that goes over the railroad tracks, accessible from the corner of W. Archer St. and N. Boston Ave. It is located directly northwest of the old Union Train Depot (now the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame), and immediately south of the Williams Center Tower.