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Modern Homes: Johansen Acres

Looking for all the world like a Palm Springs motel, you'd expect to find a swimming pool behind that wall!

This low-slung modern abode is located in Johnston Acres, a Tulsa neighborhood between Sheridan and Memorial south of 21st Street. Homes in this area aren't just ranch-style, they really are ranches. Each home was originally on a one acre lot. Most are classic Fifties ranch or minimal traditional. You'll also enjoy a few flat tops and lots of sandstone brick.

McDonalds Moderne

Some people know this as the Glass House, others know it as the world's largest McDonald's. I remember it from childhood as a symbol of transcontinental travel.

It was built spanning I-44, aka the Will Roger's Turnpike, in 1958 as a Conoco gas station and the Glass House restaurant. Located near Vinita, Oklahoma, it marked the halfway point between Tulsa and Joplin, Missouri. It was the first restaurant in the U.S. built over a public highway. In addition to the distinctive steel arches, the windows were covered by large aluminum shutters that slowly turned throughout the day to shade the interior. The mechanism can still be seen today, but the shutters have long since been static.

The Glass House was an instant hit with tourists and well-to-do locals. Area high schools even had their proms inside the futuristic hall. It was not uncommon for confused visitors to exit on the opposite end and think their car had been stolen. Today exits are designated as "westbound"…

Modern Home in the Osage Hills

Several years ago we noticed an interesting real estate listing. It was a home for sale in Osage County "only 15 minutes from downtown."

It was advertised as a custom-built home on 5 acres. Seems like it mentioned something about being designed by a well-known architect (although I do not recall or know who did design this house).

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!

Modern Choices