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Showing posts from July, 2008

It's All Concrete

Few building materials are as "modern" as concrete. One of the most prominent uses for concrete in the Fifties and Sixties was decorative block. And chances are, if the building is in Tulsa, the decorative block came from Chandler Materials Company. At one time they made nearly a dozen styles of shapely concrete blocks to suit the most demanding eye. Today Chandler primarily makes concrete drainage pipe and culverts. The entrance to their plant on East 15th Street bears evidence to their more aesthetic past. Samples of each decorative concrete block make up their own section of a wall outside their entry gate. Walls and privacy screens made of these blocks are common in Tulsa neighborhoods such as Ranch Acres, Sungate, Lortondale, Patrick Henry and Park Plaza. Sadly the plant no longer produces these unique designs. Only one decorative block is still in production- a rectangular design (third from right above) called the Sunray.

Lost: Jaycees National Headquarters

In 1944 the United States Junior Chamber voted to move their national headquarters to Tulsa. The city even tipped in $100,000 to entice them. There's also a yarn about Oklahoma City losing out because of a poker game- but that's another story. The Jaycees took up temporary residence in the old Akdar Shrine Temple until their modern new building, the winner of a 1949 design competition, was completed. It was dedicated in 1951 on West 21st Street, across from what was then known as Boulder Park. The ultra-modern building was classic International Style with clean lines and deep set windows. Originally cool screens were set in front of the west-facing windows. The design is credited to Hideo Sasakietal by the Tulsa Historical Society , but publications from the period credit Morris and Honn. Donald Honn's work will be familiar to anyone that has visited Tulsa's Lortondale neighborhood . As a youngster growing up in Tulsa this building fascinated me. It had that park-your-

The Recent Past

The Bruce Goff House in Vinita

We were recently surprised to learn about a Goff-designed home just an hour away from Tulsa in Vinita, Oklahoma. Vinita is probably best known to OK Mod readers as the home of the Glass House on I-44, also known as (shudder) the World's Largest Largest McDonalds . Anywho, turned out the Goff house was on the market, and the owner was more than happy to let us have a look around. We took a short drive up the turnpike one Sunday afternoon to meet the realtor, snap some pictures, ask some questions and enjoy another one of Bruce Goff's unique creations. The home is known as the Adams House and was built in 1961. The 3,700 square foot home is arranged in a circular floor plan with a large sunken "conversation pit" at the center. Rising up from this pit is a large metal fireplace, its chimney surrounded by skylights, which dominates the entire house. Rooms surround the perimeter with folding accordion doors acting as walls. To maintain some semblance of privacy an inner

The World Museum

The widening of I-44 through Tulsa will soon claim another mid-century building (see Modern Homes Make Way for I-44 ). This unusual landmark near Peoria, once known as the World Museum, is being emptied in preparation for demolition. The concrete complex was built in 1963 by the Osborn Ministries as a museum and "Interstate Temple." Self-proclaimed minister, T. L. Osborn, and his wife, Daisy, traveled the world as Christian missionaries and collected art and artifacts on their journeys. The unusual La Concha-esque building housed their partial collection and distracted motorists touring along the new Skelly Bypass (aka I-44). The exterior of the building is adorned with maps of the world's continents. In its heyday there was a good deal more- a giant outline of Jesus was on one wall. The inscription below it, "REX," provided one of my earliest Latin lessons when I asked Dad why that building had my name on it. There was also a large globe that once stood out fr

Visit to the Prairie Chicken House

This unique house on the edge of Norman, Oklahoma is known to most as the prairie chicken house. Designed by Herb Greene in 1960, he preferred to call it simply the Prairie House .  Thanks to the  Prairie House Preservation Society  (PHPS) it is now possible for the public to experience one of Oklahoma's most unusual architectural treasures.