Aug 192013
 






The Gold Dome building based on Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome will be preserved. TEEMCO, an Oklahoma-based environmental professional engineering firm has purchased the architecturally historic Gold Dome building located on legendary Route 66.

As one of the first geodesic domes in the world, the Gold Dome is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Built in 1958, the building’s architects (Bailey, Bozalis, Dickinson, and Roloff) utilized Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome design. It was the third geodesic dome building ever built in the world. Architect, philosopher, author, engineer and futurist, Buckminster Fuller explored the use of nature’s constructing principles to find design solutions.

While he was not the first architect to build a geodesic dome, he was awarded a U.S. Patent for his dome structure. It was a dome of many firsts: the first dome to have a gold-anodized aluminum roof, the first above-ground geodesic dome, and the first Kaiser Aluminum dome used as a bank and was billed as the “Bank of Tomorrow.” The building’s complex web of gold hexagons represented the bright optimism for America’s new frontier in space. It was also intended to reflect Oklahoma’s legacy in aviation and space.

The dome’s exuberant form of modernism can’t be found anywhere else in America today. The Gold Dome has been featured on The History Channel, in The Atlantic Monthly, Los Angeles Times, Preservation magazine, and numerous other publications. TEEMCO will move sixty-five of its national-headquarters staff from Edmond, Oklahoma into the 27,000 square-foot landmark in late 2013.

“Our company believes the building should be preserved for future generations to appreciate,” said Greg Lorson, CEO of TEEMCO. “Revitalizing the Gold Dome reflects our core belief in protecting the environment; whether natural or manmade.” Lorson explained, “We intend to restore as many original elements to the building as possible while introducing some new complimentary elements to the interior. I can’t disclose details, but I will tell you we plan to install a water feature in the interior lobby along with a high-tech feature. In the end, we want the building to represent a coming together of nature, physics, art, and technology. In this way the building will be functional art communicating the value of man’s positive impact on our environment.”

It will be renamed the TEEMCO Gold Dome. The TEEMCO Foundation will soon host a groundbreaking event for the Gold Dome. The Foundation exists to benefit people in need of health, education, and welfare support.

The groundbreaking event will be a fundraiser to help Moore area tornado relief efforts and an Oklahoma woman in dire need of a kidney transplant. TEEMCO is the nation’s leading environmental engineering firm for the oil, gas, agriculture, and marine industries. The company has also developed several proprietary software solutions for environmental compliance management and risk management.

Aug 082013
 




City officials are planning a big move for a historic bridge north of downtown Catoosa following a meeting earlier this week.

Most Catoosa residents are familiar with the Rice Street Bridge, which crosses Spunky Creek along historic Route 66. It’s that bridge that will soon be replaced by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation with a wider, newer bridge.

Tulsa’s Channel 8′s community newspaper partner, the Catoosa Times, reported that the Rice Street Bridge has now outlived its use at Spunky Creek. But despite it being 100-years-old, the city of Catoosa still plans to use that bridge elsewhere in the community.

City staffers, including City Planner Greg Collins, have suggested the city use the bridge as a pedestrian walkway along Cherokee Street, south of Pine Street. Collins suggested a refurbished bridge could be used as part of the Safe Routes to School grant project.

If that happens, the city will place the bridge along the east side of Cherokee, between Catoosa High School and Pine. Collins has said there are two ravines to cross and this bridge will cross one of them, according to the newspaper.

Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker said the county is helping in the effort to move the old bridge.

“It’s in poor shape,” Thacker said. “That’s one reason you’re not driving on it.”

Thacker went on to state that Rogers County will move pieces of the bridge to the city’s maintenance yard after ODOT dismantles it.

City Engineer Craig Kupec said the bridge will have to be reconditioned before placing it along Cherokee. That portion of the project will be “somewhat labor-intensive,” he said.

Another obstacle in this project is an existing water line that would need to be moved, according to the newspaper’s report. Kupec has been asked how much moving that water line would cost the city.

He estimated it would cost, on the high end, $42,000.

“It’s possible to excavate rather than bore,” Kupec said. “That, I feel, would be on the high side.”

Brian Kellogg, owner of Kellogg Engineering, said there is no way around moving the 8-inch water line and would need to be moved to accommodate the new bridge. He added that the line is “laying in the way of construction.”

“We have a plan that will suffice for your water line,” he told Catoosa officials.

The old roadway is about 20 feet wide, Kellogg said. The new roadway would be 12-foot lanes and 2-foot shoulders on both sides.

Thacker said the bottom line is the water line must be moved.

“If that line doesn’t’t get moved, that bridge is staying like it is.”

The city council had both of these items on its Aug. 5 agenda. Councilors approved salvaging the old bridge by a vote of 7-0. The second item addressed moving the water line, which councilors also approved 7-0.

 

May 062013
 




We JUST drove past this sign a few days ago before they took it down – glad to see folks who are so involved with the preservation of this historic sign!

YUKON — Along Route 66 in Yukon stands Yukon’s Best Flour with a tall electric sign sitting on top of the mill. The lights have been dim for the past year but will soon get a makeover.

Crews removed the electronic sign Monday morning to replace the sign’s 2,200 bulbs with longer-lasting and energy-efficient LED bulbs and to rebuild the letters.

The group Friends of Yukon’s Best Inc. organized to raise $150,000. Instead, they pulled in $163,000 to give the light a new look.

A large amount of cash came in February when the Yukon Community Support Foundation announced a matching grant of up to $40,000.

Once complete, the sign will be as close to the original as possible.

Apr 072013
 






Another great guest article about a Route 66 historical place……

The month of March was a tumultuous one for a historical landmark along Route 66 in the Asian district of Oklahoma City. Dave Box, the owner of the Gold Dome, applied for a demolition permit in early March after purchasing the structure at a sheriff’s auction in September. Box told News 9 in Oklahoma City that the permit is the only way he can “keep his options open” when he discovered the building would require extensive maintenance and repairs. The application was denied because any exterior renovations require approval by the city’s Urban Design Committee. Public backlash and reluctance by the city to approve any sort of changes to the dome has tempered Box’s plans for the time being.

History of the Dome

The Gold Dome was built in 1958 as a Citizens State Bank branch. The building, which is on the National Register of Historical Places, is one of only five geodesic domes in the world, according to GoldDomeOKC.net. It was designed by Robert Roloff to not only provide a unique structure for a bank at the time, but also reflect the “golden” future of the state itself. The roof is constructed of 625 individual anodized aluminum panels that were originally a very shiny gold. The panels have faded over the years due to weather and heat. The structure was built shortly after Interstate 35 was completed and State Highway 66A became the official Route 66 at the time. The old route would have required a new set of BFGoodrich tires on your vehicle, as it had become a rough road to travel throughout the years.

How We Got Here

Box, who also owns a local country club and a talent agency, paid $800,000 for the building after the previous owner, Dr. Irene Lam, was foreclosed on. The Gold Dome is currently home to a business complex, cultural center, restaurant and office space for various businesses. Box told The Oklahoman that he may not have done as much due diligence as he should have before purchasing the building. He acknowledged that he does not want to go down in history as the person responsible for destroying a historical Route 66 landmark, but he also does not want to lose money on an investment he’s already second-guessing.

Debate Continues

One architecture blog noted that Oklahoma City is already trying to destroy Mummers Theater, built by renowned architect John Johansen. Now the city is doubling down, trying to destroy two historical sites. A Facebook page called Save OKC’s Historic Gold Dome was created in March and has already attracted over 500 followers.

Box has said he will pay someone $100,000 to take the dome off his property so he can use it as he pleases. But the city responded that the same permits which they already rejected, would be required for that to happen.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user QuesterMark)

By: Katherine Reed
Kat loves being a freelance writer and making her own schedule.

Feb 172013
 






I do not know how they will be able to do this – if the project moves ahead – but I will have to assume it will be through reproductions, paintings, pictures, and maybe an actual sign here or there. I cannot think of too many towns & states who would want to have their old (beat up) sign pulled out of the ground and shipped to Oklahoma… Gives very little for the traveler passing through their state to look at – just my speculation…

Route 66 enthusiasts are organizing to start a new museum in Bethany, Oklahoma, that will focus on billboards and signs from the historic highway.

From Chicago to the Pacific Ocean, billboards and neon signs have lined historic Route 66 for decades.

Kathy Anderson and Arlita Harris discuss a potential billboard and sign museum project Thursday. The signs are in a private collection but represent the type they would like to display in a proposed museum in Bethany.

Signs of the past are disappearing though, said Kathy Anderson, a Route 66 enthusiast and member of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

When Anderson travels old parts of “The Mother Road,” she tries to imagine what the buildings and cars looked like in past years along the highway built in 1936.
“When I am on less-traveled roads, I realize what is missing are the billboards,” Anderson said.
The idea of saving billboards percolated in her mind until “a light bulb went off,” she said.
“There should be a billboard museum,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who lives in Oklahoma City and works in advertising, has a group of city leaders in Bethany interested in the billboard project that also would include neon signs in a museum.

The idea will need space, she said.
“There is nothing shy, demure or petite about signs, and they need a space to be showcased,” Anderson said.
There are museums with signs and billboards along State Highway 66 in Oklahoma, but nowhere is there a museum exclusively for billboards or signs, she said.
A sign collector, a muralist, community advocate and others also are backing Anderson’s idea.
Arlita Harris, secretary of the Bethany Improvement Foundation, said it is an original idea and a timely one.
Bethany has a “good stretch of the original Route 66 with century-old buildings and land along the highway for such a project,” she said.

‘Now is the time’
Her group has worked on painting murals on buildings across Bethany and has promoted tourism among other projects.
“When Kathy sent me the idea for this billboard museum, it was electric,” Harris said.
“We started sharing it with people, and it just grabbed hold.”
“There are no other Route 66 billboard museums out there, and these signs need to be saved. Now is the time to do it.”

Mike Loyd, a Bethany attorney, has collected vintage neon car signs for years.
He has a garage at his office with a large collection of signs and is interested in contributing to the museum.
John Martin, Bethany Improvement Foundation president, said people nationwide have said there is a need for such a museum.
“We need to get it launched,” Martin said,
“Even if it begins modestly. If we don’t capitalize on this, a billboard museum will be in St. Louis or Arizona.”

Bob Palmer, a muralist who lives in Bethany, has painted murals on the sides of buildings along SH 66 from Bethany to Davenport.
He painted a wall mural near the Boomerang Restaurant in downtown Bethany.
Palmer said interest in Route 66 continues from tourists who come from all over the world to see the American highway.
“I do know how popular Route 66 is with people,” Palmer said.
“It is a well-traveled route. Anything that would stimulate business and draw tourism to the area is a good thing.”

By Robert Medley - NewsOK

Nov 102012
 





I will have to make sure I check this out next time I am driving thru Tulsa OK…

TULSA – Hundreds of people gathered at the Route 66 Centennial Plaza to dedicate a massive sculpture to Cyrus Avery, the man commonly referred to as the “Father of Route 66.”

The sculpture depicts Avery, and his family, traveling in their 1926 Model-T Ford, as they came across a horse-drawn wagon.

The horses appear to be startled at the sight of the automobile.

The sculpture is 40-feet-long, 15-feet-wide, and 14-feet high.

It is made of bronze and weighs 20,000 pounds.

“I just wanted to show the rugged individualism,” said artist and designer Robert Summers.

Several of Avery’s descendants came to Tulsa from around the country for the dedication.

“It brings life to the plaza,” said grandson Cyrus Stevens Avery II. “It in fact is a very tangible representation of what went before.”

Route 66 stretches for 23 miles through Tulsa.

Avery is credited for convincing designers to draw the route through town.

The sculpture cost $1,177,841 and was paid for by money from Vision2025.

Scripps Media, Inc

Aug 162012
 


Ron Edwards of the Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK has announced a clean up day at the whale! It is open to all volunteers and it is always a good time – and folks love helping out the whale!! And there is a ‘Blue Tie Event’ as well as a party for the Blue Whale’s Birthday. MANY things going on at the whale!

From Ron Edwards:

Fins,

I have some news to share with you for some upcoming events!

On August 25th at 10 am, we will be doing a Blue Whale Clean Up Day! We welcome any able bodied Fin that is willing to volunteer for a day of clean up to prepare for the 2nd Annual Blue Tie Affair and my 40th Birthday Bash! Please bring a pair of work gloves, boots and any lawn and garden tools you can use to help us out!

On September 6th from 5 to 9pm will be the 2nd Annual Blue Tie Affair! For a donation of $50 per ticket, you will enjoy a steak dinner prepared by Molly’s Landing, live music and a few wineries will be there too! This year only 124 tickets are available and tickets have been on sale for a little over a week. If you would like to attend you can pay and pick up tickets at the Catoosa Chamber of Commerce at 650 South Cherokee, Catoosa, OK. Or you can email me and I will send you a PayPal Invoice that you can pay online. We will then send your tickets to you or you can request Will Call and pick them up the night of the event.

On September 7th, from 6 to 9pm, we will be Celebrating my 40th Birthday Bash with music by DJ Connections, Free Birthday Cake and Ice Cream while it lasts. Please drop by and celebrate with me and my other Fins and then get your groove on too!!

I look forward to seeing you all.

Love, Peace and Chicken grease!!

Blue Whale
P.O. Box 66
Catoosa, OK 74015
bluewhalek2croute66@gmail.com
Www.BlueWhaleRoute66.com

Feb 182012
 



CATOOSA, Oklahoma — A popular Route 66 roadside attraction has been the target of vandalism.

Vandals wrote what is believed to be their names on the cultural icon, which was built in 1972, and Catoosa police are investigating. Police are not releasing photos of the graffiti because they feel it will hinder the investigation.

It is unknown when the act occurred, but a member of the Catoosa Arts and Tourism Society/Fins of the Blue Whale took to Twitter Saturday afternoon to address the situation.

“I’m kinda sad….some vandals have defaced my new paint job. I don’t know why people feel the need to do that, I’m just so disappointed.”

The group later released a statement to News On 6.

“Although the vandalism done to me was not with paint, vulgar or costly, the bigger issue is the act of vandalism, not the content or application. Mistreatment to any property other than your own is disrespectful. I’m simply disappointed that this type of behavior is measured. It is not levels on a scale of 1 to 10, it is all bad form. I forgive the vandals, I just wish there was nothing to forgive them for,” the statement said.

The organization also said the recent vandalism isn’t a new thing. After Christmas, it had to remove the donation box because of frequent break-ins and damage.

“People have always written inside my snot pocket …We never say anything about it,” a spokesperson for the arts and tourism society said. “This is overt.”

The attraction was repainted just months ago

In September 2011, the whale received facelift due to a donation of time, money and man-power, courtesy of The Bill Haynes Company of Tulsa.

-Brandi Ball, NewsOn6.com

Jan 092012
 



Planning is under way for the third Mother Road Marathon, despite a drop last year in the number of participants.

Last year’s Mother Road Marathon cost the city about $31,000 after paying all the bills for the event, according to figures compiled by the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Income, mostly from entry fees, amounted to $32,719, while expenses totaled $63,678, according to Patrick Tuttle, director of the tourism bureau.

It was the second year for the event. The marathon is promoted as the only one along historic Route 66 that treks through three states, starting at Commerce, Okla., going through Cherokee County, Kan., and ending in Joplin.

In 2010, the local bureau spent $30,000, with $20,000 going to hire a promoter, Reinke Sports Group of Winter Park, Fla., to attract participants and provide the awards, prizes and final ceremonies for the inaugural marathon. The city’s relationship with Reinke Sports Group dissolved in a disagreement over ownership of the marketing rights and responsibilities for the labor to put on the run. The city ended up paying Reinke an additional $30,000 to settle those claims and to ensure that it owned the marketing rights.

Dean Reinke was allowed to collect entry fees for the first run, but he also paid much of the costs, including advertising and prizes, said former bureau director Vince Lindstrom. Lindstrom said Reinke never disclosed what he took in or spent from the entry fees. Entry fees have ranged from $30 to $60, depending on the event entered. The initial run attracted about 1,500 participants. Tuttle said last year’s event drew 641 runners: 138 for the full marathon, 292 for the half-marathon and 211 for the 5K run.

Tuttle attributed the decrease in runners last year largely to the impact of the May 22 tornado.

“The perception of some runners was the race wasn’t going to happen, and that was hard to overcome once implanted,” he said. There was a misperception that lodging and restaurants would not be available to the runners, and that volunteers would be focused on tornado recovery and would not be available to put on the event, he said.

Marketing of the event also got a late start because of the dispute with Reinke and the retirement of race founder Lindstrom.

As for expenses last year, costs associated with producing the race such as course certification, equipment, traffic control, transportation for runners before and after the race, and other services and materials amounted to nearly $31,000, according to Tuttle’s figures.

Other categories of expenses included advertising, about $18,000; meals and festivities, including awards, food, beverages and entertainment for the runners, $10,000; and costs to maintain and buy software for the event’s website, nearly $5,000.

Tuttle said the date of this year’s event is Sunday, Oct. 14. That date was selected to keep the event from conflicting with the Chicago Marathon, which is slated for Oct. 7 and draws thousands of runners.

Tuttle has already launched advertising to try to attract runners and plans to attend regional running events to help get the word out. He said the Joplin Roadrunners club is assisting with that effort.

By Debby Woodin – Globe Staff Writer The Joplin Globe

Jan 082012
 



Tulsa has never realized the full economic development and tourism potential from its 24 miles of historic Route 66.

So Councilor Blake Ewing is creating a task force to help the city embrace the opportunities that come from its place along the Mother Road.

“There’s Route 66 travel maps that bypass Tulsa,” he said with frustration. “Motorists hop on Interstate 44 at Catoosa to cut through the city and then reconnect with Route 66 from there.”

Many leaders have championed Arkansas River development in recent years, with Route 66 (tracking along on 11th Street) falling by the wayside, Ewing said.

“I’m not trying to usurp river momentum,” he said. “I’m excited about that, too. But to me, this is lower-hanging fruit. It’s here and it’s underutilized. We don’t have to put water in it to be successful.”

Creating a scene: The idea behind the task force, which would include Route 66 stakeholders, such as University of Tulsa, Hillcrest Medical Center, Bama Pie officials and neighborhood leaders, as well as city officials, is to look for ways to reinvigorate the pathway.

Some ideas include creating tax increment financing districts along Route 66 to help spur development, with the taxes generated being invested in improvements, and looking for federal Brownfield grants to clean up some of the vacant, dilapidated structures, Ewing said.

The councilor also envisions a fund being established for the city or the Tulsa Development Authority to purchase neglected properties and turn them into meeting locations for car clubs until they can be resold for commercial purposes.

Ewing said he also would like to encourage businesses along Route 66 to upgrade their signs to sleek neon versions to create a vibe.

This could be done by possibly creating a grant program to help business owners pay for the difference between a regular backlit sign and a neon version. Sign ordinance changes likely would be needed.

“Businesses will respond to these kinds of gestures,” he said. “When you add it all together, you create a scene that people want to be a part of.”

Vision 2025 investment: Route 66 hasn’t been completely ignored. In Tulsa County’s 2003 Vision 2025 package, $15 million was set aside for various improvements tied to a Route 66 master plan.

Completed so far are renovations to the Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge – the former 11th Street Bridge – and the Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza and skywalk, at the east end of the bridge.

Avery was the former Tulsa County commissioner who is known as the father of the Mother Road because he lobbied Congress in 1926 to make it a 2,450-mile national highway that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Some streetscaping projects along the route also have been finished.

Still to come is the Route 66 Interpretive Center at the plaza by Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

The museum has $2 million from Vision 2025 and $5 million from the 2006 third-penny sales tax package tied to it but is expected to need more in private funding. A feasibility study is under way, city planner Dennis Whitaker said.

A streetscaping project on 11th Street between 89th East Avenue to Garnett Road will soon begin.

It will include a kiosk at the intersection of 11th Street and Mingo Road that will tell the story of motor courts and how they evolved, along with other facets of Route 66 history, and wayfinding signs directing traffic.

Also this year, two Route 66 gateways will be built – one on the east side and one on the west side of Tulsa’s stretch – and a larger-than-life bronze sculpture will be installed at the plaza.

The sculpture, titled “East Meets West,” will depict the Avery family riding in a Model-T as they encounter a horse-drawn carriage on its way from the west Tulsa oil fields.

Whitaker, who will be part of the new task force, said that having public and private partners at the table will help take the master plan to the next level.

For all of Tulsa: The revitalization of Route 66 would not only benefit the five council districts it passes through, Ewing said, but also it would benefit the entire city by being an economic development and tourism engine.

Ewing owns numerous businesses in downtown’s Blue Dome District, including Joe Momma’s Pizza, Back Alley Blues & BBQ, Boomtown Tees and The Max Retropub.

His closest endeavor to Route 66 is The Phoenix Cafe, a coffee shop and used bookstore that will open at Sixth Street and Peoria Avenue soon.

Ewing said he would be considering his own Route 66 business investment if not for his role as a councilor in the task force.

“I don’t want my pursuing a personal development to compromise what I see as a much bigger thing for Tulsa,” he said. “But I see the potential, and I know other developers will, too.”

Author and historian Michael Wallis took Tulsa to task in his 1990 book “Route 66: The Mother Road” for not capitalizing on its Route 66 heritage.

“Tulsa gets much higher marks now,” he said. “There have been little victories here and there.”

But Ewing’s task force is exactly what’s needed to see the effort through.

“I’m usually dubious about politicians, but he’s standing behind his words and I’m excited,” Wallis said.

The lure of traveling Route 66 by car is powerful to domestic and foreign tourists and continues to grow, he said.

“A lot of people falsely think it’s about pure nostalgia,” he said.

But it’s much more than poodle skirts, cheeseburgers, James Dean and ’57 Chevys. Those are just a small slice of the pie.

“This is the classic American road trip, from the land of Lincoln to Hollywood. They get all the variance of terrain, culture, cuisine and music. Tulsa needs to stake its claim as part of that.”

By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer