Friday, April 30, 2010

Missing Bell's

This time of year makes me think of Bell's Amusement Park.  We lived right over by the fairgrounds (behind Mayo Meadow) until I was 6.   My bedtime lullaby in the summer was the sound of the stock car races.  There were lots of benefits to living over there.  Great view of the fireworks from our front yard on the 4th and no parking problems when it was time for the Fair.  And going to Bell's.  Well, since Bell's is no longer here, I decided that we could all take some virtual rides down Memory Lane.   But first, a word from Eights The Place - Channel 8:

Let's go for a ride on Zingo!

Zingo At Night:

And now a few Bell's commercials from the 80s:

Speaking of the Phantasmagoria!

RIP Bells.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Federal Building

Once upon a time the northwest corner of 3rd and Boulder looked like this:

And looking east on 3rd and Boulder looked like this:

Facing the southwest corner looked like this:

And facing the northeast corner:

It was shortly after statehood that the postal service in Tulsa became in dire need of a bigger facility.  Tulsa's rapid growth and the cramped, restricted rental space prevented the post office from providing the best service.  
In February of 1913, Senator Robert Owen helped facilitate the funding for a new building.  

The site was chosen: the northwest corner of 3rd and Boulder.   The land was excavated.   

In 1915 ground was broken for the Classical Revival style Post Office and Courthouse.  

After 38 years of rented space, the post office moved into its own building on July 13, 1917.

Within 6 months it became clear that the building was already too small and officials began studying ways to enlarge it.  It was decided that the best way would be to extend the building north on  Boulder and add another floor, tripling the building's size.  This was completed in 1931.

The ground floor was the post office and federal courts and offices occupied the upper floors.  For more than 30 years, this building was the principal federal seat in Tulsa county.

Martin's Prescription Service sat across Boulder from the Federal Building.

In the 1960s the post office and courts moved to the new Page Belcher Federal Building and the post office was remodeled for the district offices of  the Army Corps of Engineers who stayed there for 20 years.   Post offices being remodeled:

After they moved out, a 3-year, $9.5 million renovation was completed in 1996.  Every effort was made to keep all of the historical aspects intact while also adding technology.  The ceilings.....

The original cork floor in the courtroom:

The impressive marble lobby and grand staircase are original and gorgeous.

The former post office windows are now covered with a grate:

This courtroom has beautiful panelling:

With these beams overhead:

And this pillar by the judges bench:

Another courtroom; this one converted from post offices:

Holding cells:

Also installed in 1996 was an exquisite window made by artist Marilynn Adams.  Entitled the "Tulsey Judicial Window", it sits on the stair landing between the first and second floor.

The building now serves the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the National Labor Relations Board as well as other district court judicial posts.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And the intersection of 3rd and Boulder today?  

Interior and construction photos from the U.S. General Services Administration

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Pythian Building

The Pythian Building was the dream of two early Tulsa oilmen- J.M. Gillette and H.C. Tyrrell.  These 2 civic-minded men wanted to build a beautiful 13-story showcase of a building, topped with a golden hall.  Sitting at 423 S. Boulder Ave, it was to have a hotel on the top 10 floors, be called the Gillette-Tyrrell Building and look like this when finished:

Construction began in 1929 and no expense was spared.  Designer Edward Saunders' extensive use of decorative fired bricks earned Tulsa another nickname, the "Terra Cotta City".

But the Depression hit and hit hard.  Gillette lost much of his fortune as did Tyrrell.  Construction was halted when the 3rd story was finished and they sold the building to the Knights of Pythias in 1931.

It is said that if you go to the top of the building, you can see the stubbed columns where they were to take the structure on up.   Italian, Spanish and American Indian derived motifs on the outside are carried inside. The 2-story lobby takes one's breath away with its ornate tile patterns and metalwork, done mostly by Tulsa artisans.   Above the staircase is a fluted glass skylight.  Hanging chandeliers adorn other parts of the L-shaped area.

It is truly a stop worth making when downtown.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tulsa Pioneers: Arthur Antle

Arthur Antle came from Missouri to Tulsa in 1894.  Antle was a cowboy as were many around these parts back then.  Ninety-five percent of  the land around Indian Territory was used for grazing.  Herds by the thousands pastured here.
In J.M. Hall's book The Beginning of Tulsa, Antle writes about spring roundup:

In the spring of each year the roundup would start from various points and work all territory in every direction. Cowboys would be sent from all ranches. First would be a chuck wagon well equipped with groceries and a cook. The cowboys would usually have two or three horses each and a roll of bedding. The bedding would be transferred from the pack horses to the chuck wagon. The cowboys would then move from one range to another, rounding up the cattle and cutting out what belonged on other ranges, moving them to their own pastures.
In working together each ranchman would get his own cattle as every cowman had his own brand. Of course, there was a chance for an argument over the maverick. The maverick was an unbranded calf that did not know its father and whose mother had run away.

The chuck wagon was the regular "dining car" of the prairies, but food was served in the "a la help yourself" style. Big pots of coffee, big Dutch kettles of beans, beef that had not been in cold storage and sour-dough biscuits that were really hot. Each man went to the chuck box, got his tin plate, tin cup, knife, fork and spoon, helped himself, walked to one side, crossed his legs and sat down on the grass to eat. If you did not get enough to eat, it was your own fault. There was no waiter to tip.

Antle also recalled the days of hunting and trading with the local Indians when he came here. This is the Christmas display at the Wallace and Calhoon Meat Market in 1896.  

Antle entered the livery business in a stone barn built by Berry Hogan.  Livery barns were maintained for the purpose of furnishing transportation from one town to another as well as for salesmen selling to stores for the retail trade.

He took a wife, Leona McAllister who was also from Missouri.  Her father owned a shop in Springfield (below).
Arthur was later associated with Charles Page as one of his trusted men selling Sand Springs water to Tulsa.  The profits from this went to the Children and Women's Home.

Cowboy, Rancher and Merchant describe Arthur Antle and so many other Tulsa Pioneers.