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Showing posts from May, 2009

Golden Door Motel

Roadside Modern Found in Neighboring Missouri

On a recent excursion to Lake of the Ozarks we discovered this gem of a roadside motel. The unique moving sign caught our eye- and the zig zag roof drew us in. But the real treat is the Sixties style and courtyard pool!

The Golden Door Motel is a classic example of a roadside, park-at-your-door motel. The fact that it's so clean and well maintained is unique. That its style remains essentially unaltered, especially in this fast growing resort town, is a modern miracle.

Here's a short video showing a few of the highlights we noticed that afternoon...


According to the current owner, the motel originally consisted of the front two wings, built in 1966. The construction is a space-age laminate of styrofoam sandwiched in plywood. The roof of the east wing is flat due to storm damage in the Seventies. There have been several units added over the years, but most of them stay true to the basic look of the original.

Inside the rooms have typ…

Church Blows its Top

Parkview Baptist Church is located on South Sheridan Road just north of 61st Street. Like many churches it grew in stages. The original sanctuary is a curly roof building from the Sixties (shown in the foreground of this photo). Later a larger sanctuary was built with a pyramid hip roof and a large wooden steeple.

But now that steeple is gone.

Yesterday I noticed workmen and a large crane were busily working on the distinctive box that adorned the rooftop. I was curious so I stopped and asked the pastor what all the fuss was about.

Turns out the structure had caused roof problems for many years. Each corner was a 16" beam and the elements had not been kind to them. Rot had eaten into the massive wooden uprights and allowed rain to get through to the sanctuary below. The congregation had decided to remove the steeple. I couldn't help but wonder if any consideration had been given to repairing it.

Looking up at the commotion I couldn't help but picture the steeple in a park or …

Oklahoma State Capitol Bank

On the Trail of Julius Shulman: Stop 2

"This is a bank," the sign outside the futuristic building read. According to legend a prankster added a strategic question mark and echoed the sentiment of many passers-by: "This is a bank?"

That was back in 1964 when it opened. Today the Arvest on Lincoln Boulevard looks a bit less Jetsonian, mostly due to replacement of structural glass below the "saucers," but it's still an unusual bank. Designed by Robert Roloff of the architectural firm Bailey, Bozalis, Dickinson & Roloff, the State Capitol Bank caused quite a stir in Oklahoma City when it opened. Heck, it's still pretty shocking today!

Originally the flying saucers appeared to hover above the building (as seen in this vintage postcard). All the glass that made that effect possible also made heating and cooling an expensive proposition. Security concerns also mandated replacement of those windows with solid materials and small square portholes you see…

St. Luke's Methodist Church in OKC

On the Trail of Julius Shulman: Stop 1

St Luke's United Methodist Church is located just north of downtown Oklahoma City at 15th and Robinson. The church sits at the edge of an area where low-rise commercial and brick apartment buildings give way to a residential neighborhood. A round chapel and unique bell tower command a dominating view of these nearby homes.

The striking lines and choice of materials offer clues to the building's age. But step inside and there's no doubt about it. The pendant lamps and marshmallow chairs confirm this is a Mid-Century Modern!

Truett Coston was the principal architect and an active member of the church. Dedicated in 1956 the church has been well maintained, and additions or improvements have kept in step with the original design. Even the Fifties lighting in the lobby is still intact.

Entering the main lobby I was struck by the ORU-ness of the detailing. Maybe it's just a natural reaction I have to gold anodized aluminum? But my favo…

On the Trail of Julius Shulman

On Saturday we had the good fortune to attend the Oklahoma Modernism Architecture Tour, an event conducted in conjunction with the Julius Shulman exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA), now ongoing through June 7 (see Mod Photog). The guided tour featured visits to five homes and commercial buildings that Shulman had photographed during his visits to Oklahoma throughout the Fifties and Sixties. Consider it a Who's Who of modern architecture in OKC.

The museum staff has created a slideshow of photographs from the tour...
View SlideshowOr would that be a What's What?

Either way, instead of trying to document all of the great buildings we saw in one colossal post, I'm going to spread them out over the next few weeks (so now might be a perfect time to take advantage of our convenient email notification system provided by our friends at Google). Today I just want to share some of the stories from the tour and a few things Jackie and I learned along the way.

More Than …

Modern Choices