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Showing posts from March, 2012

Downtowner Coming Down

Tulsa's skyline lost another Mid-Century Modern element this week. Demolition began at the Downtowner Motor Inn this Saturday. The motel at 4th and Cheyenne had been vacant for many years– save for the Coney Island in the ground floor. Oh, it's moving back across the street where it belongs by the way. It was somewhat surprising to see this boxy example of Sixties roadside Americana coming down after some of the recent developments in Tulsa. The BOK Center has breathed new vigor into the west side of downtown, and two new hotels are currently in the works. Up the street on Boulder Avenue, the Holiday Inn has reopened after teetering close to the edge of seediness for several years. Then just last August the badly neglected Downtowner was one of two buildings featured on a Tulsa Preservation Commission training course on redevelopment tactics for preservation junkies!

Historic Tax Credits: saving more than history

Historic tax credits were in the news again here in Oklahoma. Unfortunately. After placing a two-year deferral on the payments, state legislators revisited the program again last month with an eye on axing it entirely. This short-sighted approach has left developers in a quandary and projects on hold. Politicians claim they have no "hard evidence" of the benefit these incentives provide. But the proof is all around them. The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture has compiled a compelling case for historic tax credits . A wide variety of properties across the state have been restored, updated and rescued by virtue of these funds. In Tulsa the benefits are evident on most any weekday evening. See all those people? Yes, there are people downtown after 5:00 pm. A scant ten or fifteen years ago that would have been unusual.

Braniff Exhibit in Palm Springs

Here's a short video we shot in Palm Springs during Modernism Week last year. One of the highlights in 2011 was a Braniff Airlines exhibit. This intrigued us since Braniff was a "local" airline that started in Oklahoma City, later headquartered in Dallas. But that didn't interest the crowd in Palm Springs. They were there to see the colorful uniforms and far out paint schemes that Braniff introduced in the Sixties. And a few of those in the crowd came to reminisce.

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

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 fr

Visit to the Prairie Chicken House

This unique house on the edge of Norman, Oklahoma is known to most as the prairie chicken house. Designed by Herb Greene in 1960, he preferred to call it simply the Prairie House .  Thanks to the  Prairie House Preservation Society  (PHPS) it is now possible for the public to experience one of Oklahoma's most unusual architectural treasures.