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.