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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-heli…

Modern Choices