Building on Tulsa's Previous: First National Bank Building, downtown's first modern skyscraper – Tulsa World

A New York composer wrote a particular symphony for the event. NBC radio broadcast the festivities dwell to a nationwide viewers. And greater than 50,000 individuals packed the streets of downtown to observe the ribbon-reducing ceremony, the place Oklahoma Gov. Roy Turner declared Tulsa to be “essentially the most progressive metropolis in the US.”

The First National Bank tower was not simply one other constructing.

When it opened on July 30, 1950, on the nook of Fifth Avenue and Boston Avenue, it was celebrated as an indication of America’s put up-conflict prosperity and a glimpse of the Area Age to come back. Tulsa’s first modernist skyscraper, and the town’s first excessive-rise because the onset of the Nice Despair, the 20-story financial institution headquarters featured design components that appeared revolutionary on the time: horizontal home windows, mirrored glass and sparse detailing that gave it a clear, futuristic look. Newspaper articles described vacationers driving tons of of miles simply to see it.

First National was additionally defying typical knowledge.

Tulsa’s early suburbs had been increasing quickly on the time, and the town’s first shopping center was beneath improvement on the outskirts of city at 21st Avenue and Utica Avenue. Downtown was struggling by means of a chronic constructing droop.

“Folks had been saying downtown was lifeless, that it may by no means come again,” banker Frank “Mac” McClintock informed the Tulsa Tribune in 1973, remembering his father’s resolution to construct a $7 million workplace tower. “The financial institution wasn’t shopping for any of that speak.”

Otis McClintock, Mac’s father and First National’s CEO when the constructing opened, had a penthouse suite constructed for himself on the highest ground. And as an avid golfer, he insisted that the out of doors terrace must be completely stage with the 18th gap at Southern Hills, 10 miles south and 250 ft increased than road stage in downtown Tulsa.

Then, as now, guests arrived on the penthouse by taking public elevators to the workplace constructing’s prime ground earlier than boarding a small personal elevator tucked discreetly right into a nook on the finish of a slim hallway. After ascending to the penthouse, the elevator initially opened right into a mirror-lined lobby with a number of coat closets hidden behind sliding doorways.

With greater than three,300 sq. ft, the condo’s mid-century decor included grey carpeting, a rosewood hearth in the lounge and random-width wooden paneling on among the ceilings. The south-going through “Membership Room” had electrical-powered sliding glass doorways that opened onto a broad terrace, which ignored Fifth Avenue with sweeping views of the skyline and the Arkansas River with south Tulsa on the horizon.

The electrical doorways are nonetheless there, opening on the push of a button. However the room now serves as assembly area for a legislation agency.

McClintock’s son lived within the penthouse till the late ’70s, when the financial institution transformed the area to places of work. Lawyer Larry Pinkerton moved in 25 years in the past.

“It was in shambles,” Pinkerton remembers. “Wallpaper was peeling off the partitions, and we needed to put buckets out to catch leaks.”

In the present day, solely hints of the unique mid-century condo stay, together with a swanky bar that opens onto the terrace and a full lavatory off the central hallway. Modifications within the ground plan make it tough to discern how among the rooms had been initially used. However the panoramic views stay unmatched by nearly some other workplace within the metropolis.

“Take a look at this,” Pinkerton says, standing on the terrace the place he can see ONEOK Subject in a single route and the Artwork Deco spire of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church within the different. The Philtower’s landmark inexperienced-and-crimson roof stands virtually eye-stage throughout the road. “That is the perfect view in Tulsa, and I wouldn’t commerce places of work with anyone.”

First National Bank fell sufferer to the oil bust of the 1980s, however stays the constructing’s namesake.

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Building on Tulsa's Previous: First National Bank Building, downtown's first modern skyscraper - Tulsa World