Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Bridge to Nowhere

Last week my commute took me down South Harvard under the unique pedestrian bridge near 56th Street. A City of Tulsa truck and work lift were parked nearby as a crew deployed safety cones. I thought nothing of it and continued on my way.

Then this week I noticed the entrances to the circular bridge ramps were blocked off. A sign read: BRIDGE CLOSED-NO TRESPASSING.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Hidden Treasure and the Mystery Orb

Photo by Rex Brown
The hidden Bertoia.
A plaza in downtown Tulsa has gained recent notoriety as the hiding place for modern art. From street level the corner of 4th Street and Main looks like your typical abandoned gathering place. First Place Tower looms over the concrete planters and vacant benches. But it's the lower level that hides the treasure.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Remembering Tulsa's Starchitects

Edward Durrell Stone designed the Tulsa Assembly Center,
but it was MJM who were the "Architects of Record."
Anyone who reads much about Oklahoma's architectural history in the 20th century is bound to come upon the name Murray-Jones-Murray. The architectural firm was responsible for some of our state's most iconic Mid-Century Modern buildings.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kentucky Landmark Threatened

Round buildings are cool. I mean, seriously, perpendicular corners are overrated.

big round hotel
Gabe's Tower as it looked in 2007
courtesy Mamiespaw on Flickr
That's why we were thrilled to discover this awesome place called Gabe's Motor Inn, a 13-story hotel built in 1963 located in Owensboro, Kentucky. The groovy circular building featured parking underneath and a rooftop restaurant with a retractable glass roof. It's known locally as Gabe's Tower for obvious reasons.

But as cool as this place is its future is uncertain.

Beginning this year efforts to condemn the building were under way. A grassroots movement has begun to save the landmark tower and preserve the unique history associated with it. Here's a great little video they put together...

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pop-Up Shops Offer Modern Treat

Modnauts venturing to Downtown Tulsa can enjoy a special treat this holiday shopping season.

The Tulsa Deco District Pop-Up Shops have returned for 2012 after a stellar performance last year. They have expanded the offerings- and locations. Most notably for fans of modernism this includes the little white block building on the corner of 7th and Boston.

For years we've been seeing Smith Bros Abstracts in the window. But the building was actually a branch bank designed by Robert Buchner for the Ponca City Savings & Loan. It has been vacant for many years.

This week we got to step inside for the very first time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Happened in Vegas?

About the only thing that happens in Vegas faster than new construction is the erasing of history. In a city where a five year-old building is considered tired, it's no surprise that history passes through the bulldozer's bucket faster than a free buffet line.

Enjoy this view of that
blue and silver building.
It won't be around much longer!

When visiting Las Vegas I usually find myself visiting the seedier parts of town looking for what made Sin City click in the Fifties and Sixties. This time around I actually wanted to visit something new. Yes, a modernist enclave on the main drag for a change!
One of the most interesting new sites on the Strip is called City Center. Ironically, this new Geary-induced development is soon to be visited by wrecking crews!

In a bizarre "only in Vegas" turn of events the Harmon Hotel is going to be razed before it ever opened its doors. The 26-story hotel has been deemed defective and the owners have requested a permit to demolish it. How they managed to continue building something so large when they knew it was sub-code is amazing to me. But I guess it happens.



Friday, September 14, 2012

No "Boxes with Little Holes"

Excellent article on the "futuristic architect who inspired Frank Gehry."

Yes, they're talking about Bruce Goff. Includes some excellent photographs of Shin'enKan, the Ledbetter House and the late, great Bavinger House. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

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.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Braniff Exhibit in Palm Springs

A colorful Braniff 727Here'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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Plans for Tulsa Autobank

Great news for drive-through banking fans...

The First National Autobank in downtown Tulsa will soon become a new eatery!

Flagpoles
Libby Auld, the proprietor of Elote plans to open a new restaurant called the Vault. The futuristic 1958 bank has been vacant for many years and was most recently being remodeled as a lounge/sushi bar. Located at 7th and Cincinnati the complex features upstairs parking and a small meeting room called the Tom Tom Room, where Central High School alumni once met.

No word yet on plans for the drive-thru lanes.

More from the Tulsa World...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tulsa's Interstate Temple Remembered

Remember the World Museum?

La Concha de Tulsa?

Also known as the Interstate Temple, the zany thin-shell concrete rotunda was razed in 2009 to make way for the I-44 widening project in Tulsa. Sniff, sniff.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Unknown Places

One of the more amazing collections available through the Tulsa City-County Library is the Beryl Ford Collection. Ford collected thousands of images of Tulsa right up to his death in 2009. The Rotary Club of Tulsa purchased the collection and, with the help of the Tulsa City-County Library and the Tulsa Historical Society, began the monumental task of preserving and digitizing the collection.

Unidentified Model
An unidentified bathing beauty, just one
of hundreds of unknown images from the
Beryl Ford Collection.
Today you can browse the Beryl Ford Collection online, search the database and even purchase prints. It's a fascinating peak into our city's past.

Postscript.