State Capitol Bank


Who knew? Well I certainly didn’t until I visited there last week. It’s the Tomorrowland of the mid-west – shocking but true.

In both Oklahoma City and Tulsa there is a truly spectacular array of deco, modern, roadside and vintage neon. They should change the name of the state to Okla-RAMA! One of many standouts is this week’s slide, STATE CAPITOL BANK, OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, 1969. After we drove back and forth by it a few times, we saw an ultramodern 1958 church shaped like a giant breast. And I’m not talking chicken! A breathtaking 1956 gold anodized Buckminster Fuller dome, a former bank building, and its companion ultra, ultra, ultra modern gold skyscraper recently saved by the wrecking ball. Together they are pure sci-fi style and still look futuristic nearly half a century later.

From there it was time for smart cocktails in the creaky revolving lounge high atop a 1963 circular high-rise office building that I lovingly nicknamed the skyscraper cupcake. Dinner was downstairs on the ground floor in the untouched pristine 1963 Cafeteria called the Queen Anne. It is wonderful! I feasted on delicious deep fried chicken livers smothered beyond recognition in country gravy, okra -yes it was fried too, yellow watermelon and spinach salad drowning in what must be the sweetest dressing ever! And for dessert a big fat slice of chocolate pie. YUUUUUUM!!

It was now dark outside and time for the vintage neon tour. The 1958 Charcoal Broiler, a hamburger drive-thru, has a sign with a twenty foot neon chef that sent me to the moon. There were so many others but I’d have to say the animated neon gun-slinging cowboy on the marquee of the Winchester Drive-in Theater really took the cake

In Tulsa we toured neighborhoods where picture perfect mid-century modern tract homes sell for less than $100,000.00. Then it was off to the very ’60s Oral Roberts University campus. It’s heavenly! When I asked who the architect was, the answer I got was GOD! Then we found the plaque on the county courthouse lawn marking the time capsule that was buried there in 1957. Among the contents is a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere. When it’s unearthed in 2007 the car will be awarded to the person, or heir of the person, who guessed what the population of Tulsa would be in 2007. The bigger question is what condition the car will be in after being buried in a cement box and covered in some miracle wrap for half a century. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll see you in Tulsa at the excavation ceremony in 2007

Here’s to the mid-century modern in OKLARAMA and YOU