Skip to main content

Tulsa Treasures Not Half Bad

Try as they might, the organizers just couldn't get the management people to let us into the "modern block" buildings.

The endangered Tulsa National Bank autobank building.But a much larger than expected group of hardy building buffs showed up for TulsaNow's inaugural Tulsa Treasures Tour this morning. We counted more than 70 at one point, a hefty turnout considering the morning temperatures were in the twenties.

The four buildings on the tour included two Art Deco gems and two modern postwar buildings. Sarah Kobos emceed the tour with Rex Ball, who provided outstanding play-by-play highlights of each building on the tour- and a few others. Before we ventured out, Amanda DeCort from the Tulsa Preservation Commission, offered a brief summary of the recently completed Downtown Tulsa Architectural Survey.

Unfortunately we didn't get to go inside the two modern buildings, the First National Autobank (now labeled Chase) or the Ponca City Savings & Loan (last occupied by Smith Abstract). But we still enjoyed seeing them, and it's good to know that so many other Tulsans want to see them too. Both of these uninhabited structures are marvelous examples of Mid-Century Modern, and high on our endangered list. Look for more activity regarding this block of downtown in the coming year.

Architecture fans gather in the lobby of the ONG Building in downtown Tulsa.The buildings we did tour were the Oklahoma Natural Gas building and the ARCO Building, aka Service Pipeline Building. ONG is classic Art Deco from 1928, while the ARCO design is a very late example from 1949. Built the same year as Tulsa's first modern skyscraper, the First National Bank tower.

We've posted more photos from the event- Tulsa Treasures Tour.

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…

Oklahoma Modernism Weekend: Home Tour Highlights

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 …