Today my family and I took a 2 hour drive to Tulsa, Oklahoma for Christmas Eve. When I was a kid we used to drive from my hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas every year in order to shop at the Woodland Hills Shopping Mall. Since I rarely shop retail nowadays, we skipped the mall in favor of oogling the 1930s Art Deco architecture in the historic downtown district.
A majority of the buildings we saw were built at the turn of the century through the 1930s when Tulsa was an oil boom town. It has since diversified its industries but thankfully the city has preserved its rich architectural history. While the original businesses may no longer occupy the splendid buildings, a majority of the original signage and the exteriors remain the same 80 years later.
While the parking lot of the mall and Wal-mart were packed, the downtown area was eerily deserted. Without any other people around it was easy to imagine I was a girl from the 1950s exploring the city.
The Atlas Life Insurance company building was completed in 1922 but its iconic sign was later added in the 1940s. The insurance company resided in the building until 1991 and it now has been converted into a hotel.
I’ve been obsessed with peacocks lately so gravitated toward this stone detailing above a window. The curling vines and florals indicate that the building is Art Nouveau rather than Art Deco due to the focus on natural elements.
Since it’s Christmas Eve I went all out with the red and gold, I definitely felt like a classy vintage lady sashaying down the street in my t-strap heels, gold handbag and cashmere cardigan!
1950s beaded cashmere cardigan (lined in silk!): Estate sale, Chicago
1970s (?) wool skirt: Village Thrift, Chicago
1960s gold purse: Thrifted in Arkansas
Urban Outfitters suede t-strap heels
HUE sweater tights (so warm and comfortable!)
More building details, you can see the transition from Art Nouveau to Art Deco in the piece on the left– it still has a natural subject (vines) but they have become more streamlined and abstract. The piece on the right demonstrates Art Deco’s emphasis on geometric designs.
I found a little bit of Chicago in Tulsa– the Mayo Hotel was built in the style of the Chicago School (Sullivanesque) and was designed by architect George Winkler. It was once the tallest building in Tulsa and celebrities like Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Bob Hope and President John Kennedy once stayed at the luxurious hotel. After falling into disrepair in the 1980s, The Mayo is once again being used as a hotel and apartment building.
An Art Deco Museum is slated to open in Tulsa next year in the Philcade Building (wish it was open already!). The museum had set up two windows with Art Deco appliances as a teaser/preview. I believe the device above is a 1930s space heater, and below is a fan and another heater?
Does anyone know what this type of decorative overhanging on a building is called? I’ve mainly seen them on older hotels and movie theatres but never knew their technical architectural name.
Ornate metalwork on the overhang.
A Gothic Revival church built in the 1920s; the style was most popular during the Victorian Era and pretty much had died out by the 1930s.
If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful holiday! I’ll be back soon with photos taken with my new camera (YAY!).