Oklahoma City Gold Dome Safe for Now

 Daily, Oklahoma  Comments Off on Oklahoma City Gold Dome Safe for Now
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.

Cross Country Trek – Route 66

 Daily, Oklahoma  Comments Off on Cross Country Trek – Route 66
Mar 042011


The afternoon air in Oklahoma City on New Year’s Day, 2008, was still crisp and cool, but with the sun shining brightly overhead it promised to warm up more as the day passed. After spending the morning at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, I was ready for some lighter hearted entertainment in the afternoon before heading out of Oklahoma and into Arkansas.

Continuing along the famed Route 66 into Arcadia, Oklahoma, there were two places I was very excited to visit. The first was a roadside restaurant, gas and convenience store called Pops, and it was anything but ordinary. The first thing that came into sight was the 66 foot tall, 4 ton white metal spiral structure of a pop bottle, complete with a straw sticking out the top. The store and restaurant was no less impressive, built with steel beams and glass, with a long stretching “canopy” that ran over the gas pumps outside, providing a shelter from inclement weather. Inside, the glass walls were lined with shelves from floor to ceiling, featuring rows and rows of different types of colorful sodas in glass bottles.

The sight of all those colors and the promise of countless interesting fizzy sodas to be had provided some serious fun. After fueling up the U-Haul and checking out the huge soda bottle landmark, I headed inside where there were all sorts of Pops souvenirs, clothing items and of course, bottles of soda. With over 500 different varieties to choose from, it took a while to settle on three mix-and-match six packs filled with all sorts of sodas. The pop was sorted by colors, red being represented by cranberry, black cherry, raspberry and fruit punch flavors to name a few. In the orange group were orange, mango, peach and tangerine. On and on it went. Choosing root beer was a feat unto itself, as the selection boasted over 100 varieties, including some with funny names, like Zuberfizz Root Beer, Jackson Hole Snake River Sarsaparilla and Judge Wapner’s Root Beer.

Choosing sodas to fill my six packs was a blast, though it was a challenge narrowing down which ones to just marvel at and which ones to actually take home. For more information on Pops, visit http://www.route66.com.

Just up the road from Pops was the Round Red Barn, another popular landmark on Route 66. Built in 1898, the barn was used for livestock as well as a place for the local townspeople to hold dances and events. It is the only true round barn in the country, and was designed this way to supposedly help withstand Oklahoma’s tornadoes. No one knows if the design actually helps ward off the twisters, but as the barn is still standing, the signs are good!

In 1988 the barn’s 60 foot diameter roof collapsed after 90 years of wear, and it took a group of local volunteers and $65,000 raised through various donations and fundraisers to rebuild the immense roof and restore the barn. As a result of these efforts, Arcadia’s Historical Society Members were given the National Preservation and Honor Award which recognized their accomplishment in preserving the barn.

The Round Red Barn is a unique centerpiece in the small town of Arcadia and is still used for various local events. It is open to the public to visit anytime and donations are welcome. For more information, you can visit www.arcadiaroundbarn.org .

Winding my way back to I-40 from the old Route 66, I was struck again at how beautiful Oklahoma was with the lush green foliage present in January and the red roads prevalent in the countryside. Crossing a bridge over Lake Eufaula heading east, I found myself laughing out loud at an exit for Lotawatah Rd. I wondered who in the world named that road and marveled at the originality and humor in the name.

Oklahoma gave way to Arkansas as I pulled into the town of Van Buren for the night, just as the sun went down on the evening. I felt truly blessed after the New Year’s Day I spent paying my respects to the memory of sad events, and then having a little fun picking 18 kinds of soda pop out of 500 offered. I was thrilled at having visited and photographed the only round red barn in the country and was happy I could officially call myself a Route 66 traveler after three full days along the old route.

Copyright 2011 The Times and Democrat