Route 66 Caravan

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Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
June 04, 2003


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Tulsa Art Deco

Today was an "off" day for the Route 66 Caravan. There was nothing in particular scheduled for us. It was time to sleep, do laundry and clean our Caravan RV. It certainly wasn't time to go off on another Route 66 adventure! Of course that's just what we did. I had mentioned that I was a big fan of Art Deco to Marian Clark, author of the Route 66 Cookbook (a subject near and dear to my heart), and I guess she decided to find out just how big a fan of this beautiful architectural art form I really was. Marian arranged to have her friend, Michelle Place, from the Tulsa Historical Society take us on a tour of some of Tulsa's Art Deco treasures. Bill and Jaimie Hall, Dennis Karlstad and I met Marian and started on our little outing. We walked all over downtown Tulsa Town in search of its often forgotten wonders of another era. I guess we all needed the exercise!

Marian Clark

Marian Clark is  quite a Route 66 historian and it was a pleasure to be led around town in search of Art Deco.

       
Tulsa 1896

Tulsa 1909

  In 1896 Tulsa was a sleepy frontier town along the Arkansas River. That was about to change. In 1901 oil was discovered here and created a boomtown with many new millionaires. With all the oil money, Tulsa became a town to be reckoned with. Compare the 1896 picture of Main Street Tulsa on the left to the 1909 picture of Main Street on the right. The town had changed in 12 short years! Tulsa now had a reputation to uphold and the building boom that resulted produced some of the most beautiful examples of Art Deco Architecture to be found anywhere in the United States. Art Deco generally comprises the time period between the two World Wars. It is a fanciful style that uses geometric designs and shapes from nature. With Art Deco "line and shape" is everything.
           

Gallery of some great Tulsa Art Deco designs ...

  320 Building  

PhilTower Building

         

Atlas Building

Mayo Hotel

        

Pythian Building

Pythian Building

         

Boston Avenue Church

Boston Avenue Church

          

Boston Avenue Church

One of the highlights of the day was our tour of the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. Michelle Place gave us the super deluxe tour, which included a trip into the church tower! Built in 1929, this is the largest Art Deco Church in the world.

 

The Blue Dome

Blue Dome 1948 Another masterpiece of Art Deco along Route 66 in Tulsa is the Blue Dome. The Blue Dome was built in 1924 and served as a Gulf Oil Station. This was the first station in Oklahoma to have hot water, pressurized air and a car wash. It was also open 24 hours, seven days a week. The station attendant lived upstairs in the dome itself. This 1948 picture shows the Blue Dome in the hey-day of Route 66.
        
 

Today owner Michael Sager is restoring the Blue Dome to its former glory. Michael hopes to have it completed by the Tulsa Route 66 Festival in June of 2004. The area around the Blue Dome on Route 66 will be the center focus of the festival.

Blue Dome 2003

         
 

Blue Dome Detail
They just don't make gas stations like this anymore!

 


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