Skip to main content

What happened to your downtown?

The awards presentation was held in the Will Rogers High School auditorium.This week Tulsa hosted the National Preservation Conference. The experience has exceeded my expectations in a number of ways. And I think it may have done the same for our City.

While most of the 1500 attendees came to Tulsa to learn, some of the real lessons came from observing these first-time visitors. They notice those architectural treasures we have become accustomed to. I think Tulsans may have a better appreciation for their hometown after this event.

But these preservation-minded tourists, most from larger cities, also observe that which is lacking. One attendee remarked, after walking across a sea of asphalt parking, "What happened to your downtown?" Another visitor asked if there had been a fire. The concept of tearing down a building to provide a handful of parking spaces is foreign to these outsiders. Hopefully a little bit of that will rub off while they're here.

Comments

Modern Choices

Popular posts from this blog

Home of ORU Architect on the Auction Block

Frank Wallace is best known as the man behind the futuristic look of the Oral Roberts University campus. On October 14, 2010 his unique home overlooking ORU will be sold in a public auction conducted by Mister Ed's Auctions. Jackie and I recently had a chance to visit with Mr. Wallace and learn more about the house, his career and his thoughts on architecture.

When we visited we expected to snap a few photos of an empty house and speak with a representative from the auction company. To our surprise the door opened, and we were greeted by Mr. Wallace himself! After assuring him we were not architects, he let us look around. Unfortunately we were not prepared to interview the man whose buildings incite such extremely diverse reactions- but that didn't stop me from asking him several questions anyway. 

The home, completed in 1980, was designed and built by Wallace who is now 87. The expansive home is so large that Wallace spends most of his time in a room that was his late w…

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 front …

Futuristic Acorn Hull House

Today the sign out front says "Acorn Hull House."

I've also heard it called the Zebco House (aka Zero Electric Bomb Company, an oilfield business that later became a famous maker of fishing reels). The rumor goes it was built for a Zebco executive and designed in the shape of a fishing reel. From above the home does have the shape of a fishing reel- as in round- but beyond that I don't really see that much resemblance.

I have no idea if the fishing reel story is true, or who designed the circular abode. Here's an aerial view from Google Maps- click to enlarge the image and see if you think it looks more like an acorn or a fishing reel...

It definitely has the look of a Frank Wallace design with that Klingon inspired skylight. But the Tiki-esque look also suggests a Blaine Imel. No matter who is to responsible, they did a great job creating a unique and fascinating exterior. Now if we can just get a tour of the inside!

This unusual house is located off US-412 near …