(Photo credit: Chris Bouldin)
Presenting eight weird and/or ugly buildings I found in Tulsa on the Internet when Tasha wasn't hogging the computer:
“A box covered in nipples” is the best way to describe this architectural mega-disaster on
South Boulderbetween 17th and 18th Streets.
The seven-story, windowless building was built in 1957 for famed televangelist Oral Roberts, who claimed he spoke directly to God.
Unfortunately for Roberts, architecture asceticism and potential resale value weren't often topics of conversation. After a brief early '80’s stint as a
Southwestern Belldistrict headquarters, the building was abandoned. No wonder.
University Club Tower
This 32-story, 377-foot building at
1722 S. Carson Ave.resembles a lime green beer can wearing a concrete sombrero, complete with an antenna. I had a fish friend back in the tank at Wal-Mart who said the building looks kinda like a syringe. Anyway, the sombrero-wearing syringe is now home to hundreds of Tulsans who apparently find living in beer cans charming and homey.
The structure was developed in 1966 by Dick Wheeler, who also happens to be the developer of the aesthetically challenged Camelot Hotel (see number five). Coincidence? I don't think so, Tim.
3. The Mabee Center
, Mabee Center 7777 S. Lewis Ave., has since its opening in 1972 played host not only to Jesus mega-meetings, but also to concerts, high school and college graduations, and Oral Roberts University basketball.
The arena is an elliptical cable-suspension structure and bears the name of John Mabee, the Tulsan credited with the founding of the Mabee Foundation. Mabee died in 1961, fortunately before witnessing the golden eyesore resembling a robot’s head that would later bear his name.
Surely not many Tulsans have managed to avoid subjecting their eyes to the
during the past month, thanks to graduation ceremony obligations. Here is some late-arriving advice: looking directly at the Mabee Center has been known to cause temporary blindness, dreams of robots, and embarrassing Transformers commercials reenactments. Mabee Center
The CitiPlex Towers were built after a 900-foot Jesus kindly urged Oral Roberts to erect the City of Faith Medical and Research Center, a massive, pro-bono hospital at the corners of
81st Streetand Lewis Avenue.
The building, comprised of 2.2 million square feet of converted office space on 60 floors, was completed in 1981, and served as a hospital for a mere eight years before closing in 1989. Someone is remodeling large parts of the first floor, which joins the three buildings. Judging by the way the place looked through my fish bowl when Chris Bouldin took me on a walking tour, I decided that perhaps the founding of
hospitals should be left to nuns. Tulsa
Though the building was commissioned with the noble goal of saving lives, the sight of the structure is partially blamed for the 1985 death of Hollywood-legend Rock Hudson.
5. Camelot Hotel
Built in 1965 and condemned in 1996, the Camelot Hotel, an eight-story, 330-room hotel that wishes it was a castle, came complete with a moat, drawbridge, guard towers and spacious lodgings for the future boarding of Tulsa’s most famous natural resource, the homeless.
Though abandoned, the building still stands at
4956 S. Peoria Ave.The Tulsa Industrial Authority recently struck a deal for the remediation and demolition of the structure with The Maharishi Ayur-Ved University, which has done nothing since it bought the hotel for $1.15 million in 1993 to improve or renovate the property. Unfortunately, cross-legged humming and positive thinking cannot save the Camelot or its giant signage – which would actually be kinda cool if it weren’t positioned right next door to a major interstate highway. Anyway, this fairyland is due to be razed later this year. The drive through Tulsato (who’d want to do that, anyway?!) will be more pleasant for it. Oklahoma City
6. Reynolds Amphitheatre
The city of
Tulsaboasts over 40 miles of Arkansas Rivershoreline, which features the worst in sights and smells.
From gravel plants in the south to oil refineries and tank farms to the north, a float down the river in
today would be enough to make a colorectal surgeon dry heave. I sure as heck wouldn’t trade my small, unkempt home on Tasha’s desk for freedom in that stream of stench and sadness. Tulsa
Of all the man-made structures gracing the banks of the river, the Reynolds River Parks Amphitheater located in River Park West is certainly one of the most hideous.
The combination of a chocolate-brown river, the smells of stagnant water and goose droppings only add to the lovely experience of staring at this thing, which resembles a zit at high-noon with room for tap dancing, during concerts on the river in the middle of summer, when mosquitoes swarm and the temperature doesn’t drop below 95 until 2 a.m.
Built in 1970, the
International Towerat 5200 S. Yale Ave.is the only six-story building in that carries the regal sounding title, “tower.” Methinks someone is compensating for something – or, maybe he’s just being honest and having a little fun. That’s probably it, now that I think about it. Tulsa
The structure features the tall, narrow windows normally reserved for much taller buildings - which could double as arrow slits if the clan from the Camelot threaten to steal
maidens - and an exterior of drab, cut-rate red brick. International Tower
The landscaping is just as breathtaking. The giant, spherical bushes do nothing to better pronounce the puny glass entrance.
As they say in the real estate biz, “it’s a must see.”
8. Creek Nation Casino
One would think that in exchange for my weekly mission to binge drink myself numb while mindlessly shoving $20 bills into a “Wheel of Fortune” slot machine from my domestic, watery prison that the Creek Nation Casino could give me a more exotic environment in which to wager away my goldfish sadness. But, no such luck.
Just a drive by this dreadful building at
1616 E. 81st St.is enough to make me long for the semi-attractive backroom casinos and speakeasies of the prohibition era. The structural statistics of this place are guarded like the gold in , but who cares. I don’t have to know how many square feet of gaming fun is inside to know that no one tried to make this ugly metal building look like something else besides an ugly metal building. Guess local casinos and churches love metal buildings like little girls love Troll dolls – they’re so ugly, they’re cute. The girls must collect them all. Fort Knox
That’s it for me for today. I’m off to try to convince Tasha to either increase the vodka-to-water ratio in my tank, or to take me to Sushi Train for some grub. Later!
All photos thanks to Chris Bouldin, except for the link to the Lost Tulsa Flickr site.