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


Unknown said...

You have outdone yourself with this post. I have never been inside this building and knew very little about it. Next time I am over that way I will be curious if I can see the difference in the old and new columns in front. Good job on this Nancy. Very interesting.

DrillerAA09 said...

Love this building and this post. The Federal Building was always one of the most imposing structures in downtown. Thanks for sharing such wonderful photos.

Nancy said...

Thank you guys. I really enjoyed doing this one.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding work in historical journalism. Thank you!

Jim Miller

Anonymous said...

the holding cels are now used by the building mist secretive tenant, the US MArshalls service. the unmarked cars come and go all hourse thru the heavily gaurded back alleyway, nothing that goes on withing 50 yards of that building goes unnoticed and its all on tape.

ominous, but thank you for the glimpse inside

Unknown said...

Does anyone know the purpose of the chimney pipe in the middle of the street in front of the court house and post office between the federal building and tcclibrary