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Oklahoma's Bank of the Future

Several years ago I came across an auction on eBay for a postcard titled "Oklahoma Bank of the Future" listing this card:

My immediate reaction was, Zowee!

I assumed this was an artist's rendition of a bank that never was. Then I learned it was. And better yet, it still is! This past February we loaded up the Volvo and headed down the turnpike.

Today it's an Arvest Bank and you'll find it in Oklahoma City just north of the capitol complex on Lincoln. The building has experienced some blandishment through the years, but it's still definitely futuristic.

The layout of the structure is a diamond shape– but you'd never know it from the outside. The drive-thru has been extensively modified from the original vision of the future. Originally the tellers each had their own little "pod" to work from, this was a trend at early autobanks, but now they are seated together in the main building.

The overall condition of the building is excellent. I have to admit …

Contemporary Enid Office Park

A couple of years ago we were passing through Enid, Oklahoma and this office park caught my eye. The buildings are situated along a small creek, and built on stilts to take advantage of the fact.

I'm a fan of this rectilinear look and have always been a sucker for elevated structures. There are some office buildings in Oklahoma City along Classen that remind me of these. The OKC buildings even have the parking nestled underneath.

There was a plaque stating the complex had won a design award. It showed a date of early Seventies as I recall.

I don't remember all the details– guess we'll have to take another road trip!

Gold Dome Bank Honored

Last month the National Trust for Historic Preservation presented their 2007 Board of Advisors Award to the Gold Dome Bank in Oklahoma City.

When plans were announced to demolish this iconic structure, local preservationists launched a spirited, grassroots campaign to save this Buckminster Fuller-inspired geodesic dome. Now, it’s a thriving mixed-use center that anchors the city’s newly designated Asian District.
> full press release

I remember seeing this building as a child from the back seat of our Ford Galaxie 500. That entire area around 23rd and Classen always fascinated me— the Townley's Milk Bottle, The Price Tower-esque office building and the brick storefronts lining Route 66. When the word got out that Walgreens planned to demolish the Gold Dome Bank I was working for About.com as their guide for Tulsa. I immediately began typing a feature about the volunteer effort to save this 1958 aluminum-clad beauty. It's inspiring to see those efforts paid off!

Modern Homes: Concrete Turret of Sand Springs

One of the wackiest homes around Tulsa is this gem. It's located just east of Sand Springs off Edison. Now that the trees are losing their leaves you can catch a glimpse of it when traveling westbound on US-412. Look to the north as you approach the 65th Street exit.

The house is situated on a hill with the garage underneath. The circular drive you see in the photo leads to the front entrance– and a rustic-style door that seems quite out of place on such an avant garde structure.

Lustron: The Power of Steel

Another early memory of mine is the "green and yellow house on Harvard." I remember my Dad mentioning they had looked at this model home when shopping for their first house. At the time I didn't realize it, but that model home was a Lustron. It's still there if you drive up Harvard Avenue north of Pine Street.

Lustrons were pre-fabricated homes made of porcelainized steel– very similar to gas stations in the Sixties. The kit was delivered by truck and the house was assembled on-site. The rugged metal panels never needed painting, which was a popular feature in more rugged climates up north. They never really caught on, especially in this part of the country.

The idea was so emblematic of the period following World War Two. In an era when people seriously believed there would soon be a helicopter in every driveway, it wasn't so far fetched to consider buying these metal houses. But like so many ideas of the postwar era, it was too far ahead of its time. Only now are…

Modern Choices