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Photo Tour: Broken Arrow Moderns

Just a few random images. 

Tulsa's largest suburb isn't usually associated with modernism, but if you look closely there are some unique examples of Mid-Century Modern. Here's a random sampling I snapped on a cloudy day in December...

By far the best known modern structure in BA would have to be this white building on the hill. For decades this former church has been turning heads near the Broken Arrow Expressway. Some people describe it as a covered wagon, others see a cornucopia. But Jackie's nickname for it my favorite is. She has called it the "chicken church" since childhood.

Lutheran Church by Bill Ryan

Mod Steeple

Today it's called the Chapel on the Hill. It was originally built as a Lutheran church and designed by William H. Ryan. Bill also designed East Central High School in Tulsa. His fascination with round roofs and concrete is evident. Especially when you consider he also penned Tulsa's iconic Rose Bowl on Route 66 and the original Elk's Lodge dome building on South Harvard.

Today the former church operates as an event center and is available for weddings, reunions, receptions, etc. If you're wondering what the interior looks like visit their website and click on the promotional video link. You're in for a treat!

Chapel on the Hill
View from the south. When viewed from the nearby expressway the
building resembles a chicken sitting on her nest.

Our next modern stop is another church, the St. Anne Roman Catholic Church.

St. Anne Roman Catholic Church

St. Anne's CarylonCompleted in 1983 this is not our typical Mid Mod style, but it is a pretty contemporary building. My favorite detail is the open-face carillon.

The parish is located on Lynne Lane south of the Broken Arrow Expressway. For more on the interesting history of this parish and photos visit their gallery on the St Anne Website.

Finally we leave you with this wonderful example of understated modernism- the Broken Arrow Central Fire Station.

Mod Fire Station

Located on Kenosha (71st Street) at Main, the Central Fire Station was built in 1973. The exposed structure and tasteful landscaping catch my eye every time I pass this way. Hopefully, those in charge appreciate its clean and simple design.

Did we miss one?
I'm almost sure of it!
This was never meant to be an exhaustive catalog. But if you'd like to share your favorite contact us or post it on our Facebook page!


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

OKC's Unique First Christian Church

The Church of Tomorrow Oklahoma's state capitol dome was added some 88 years after the capitol was built, finally completed in 2002. But not far away is another dome that has been turning heads since 1956. It's the First Christian Church of Oklahoma City. Call it a wigwam, igloo, earthbound spaceship or dome- no matter how you describe the shape of the sanctuary, it's definitely eye-catching. The thin-shell concrete dome is massive, with seating for 1200. Connected to the dome is a four-story administrative building and a 185-seat theater. Dedicated as "The First Christian Church of Tomorrow," the architecture caught the attention of local newspapers, as well as Life magazine (Feb. 1957). Last summer I had a unique opportunity to explore these interesting buildings. The main complex was designed by R. Duane Conner in 1953. Conner was a member of the congregation and offered three different designs for the church. Credit is also attributed to his partner, Fr

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