Downtown OKC 1930 – 1939

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1930s.race.jpgThe Race
1931.ramsey1.jpg1932.robinson.jpgRamsey & 1st Nat'l
1931.ramsey2.jpgRamsey Tower
1930s.1stnational.jpg1st National
1930s.1stnationalentry.jpg1st National Entry
1930s.skyscrapers.jpgSkyscrapers
1920.bluebookmap2.jpgBluebook Map
1930.wards.jpgMontgomery
1930s.birdseye1.jpgBird’s Eye View
1930s.birdseye2.jpgBird’s Eye View
1930s.cityhall.gifCity Hall
1936.cityhalldecor.jpgCity Hall Decor
1935.civiccenter.jpgCivic Auditorium
1936.courthouse.jpgCourthouse
1930s.oldcourthouse.jpgCourthouse
1936.aerialpostcard.jpgAerial Postcard
1930s.main&hudson.jpgMain & Hudson
1930s.broadway&main.jpgBroadway & Main
1930s.unionstation.jpgUnion Station
1930s.postoffice.jpgPost Office
1933.machinegunkelly.jpgMachine Gun Kelly
1930s.birdseye3.jpgBirds Eye View
1930s.skirvintower3.jpg1930s.skirvintower2.jpg Skirvin Tower
1930.skirvin.jpgSkirvin Hotel
1930.skirvin2.jpgSkirvin Coffee
1930.skirvin3.jpgSkirvin Venetian
1930s.black.jpg1930s.hudson.jpg1930s.biltmore.jpgOther Hotels
1930s.bristol.jpgBristol & Kingkade

THE RACE: RAMSEY v. 1ST NATIONAL

In 1930, the race began to build 2 skyscrapers, both facing Robinson and on the North & South sides of Park Avenue.
This picture looks West, Park Avenue separating the contestants. Ramsey Tower won the race on October 3, 1931.
First National is left, Ramsey Tower (now City Place) is on the right.

See this article at the Okc Metropolitan Library System. Once there, you may need to click your Refresh button to load the article.

1930s.race.jpg

RAMSEY & 1ST NATIONAL
Left: stylized postcard of Ramsey Tower; Right, Main Streetlooking North on Robinson.

1931.ramsey2.jpg1930s.1stnational.jpg
1st National Entry
1930s.1stnationalentry.jpg
1930s.skyscrapers.jpg

WEST SIDE TRACKS & WARDS

On the West side of downtown, things were happening, too. As shown by the 1920 Bluebook map cutout below (click here for the full map
), East of Western and above Main & and East to Walker or Hudson (?), a "hole" is present ... where the East/West Frisco Railroad tracks were located. They are seen in the image of Montgomery Wards, under construction at 500 W. Main in 1930.

1920.bluebookmap2.jpg1930.wards.jpg

BIRDS EYE

Circa 1931-1935. See the empty space @ 9 o'clock, formerly filled by Frisco tracks and yet to be filled with the Civic Center buildings and the new County Courthouse in 1936. Most buildings from 2 to 7 o'clock would be razed in the 1970s.
1930s.birdseye1.jpg
Click here to see the above image but which identifies several buildings.


BIRDS EYE

This postcard shows the new Municipal Building (7 o'clock) and 1936 County Courthouse (9 o'clock).

1930s.birdseye2.jpg

CITY HALL

The postcard shows the 1936 City Hall (Municipal Building).

The second collage shows some of its interior decor, preserved in a recent remodeling.

1930s.cityhall.jpg
1936.cityhall.jpg

CIVIC AUDITORIUM

The Civic Auditorium (we call it the "Music Hall") is directly West of City Hall. This is the architect's rendering of Civic Auditorium, 1935.

1935.civiccenter.jpg

OKLAHOMA COUNTY COURTHOUSE

The Oklahoma County Courthouse, 321 Park Avenue, was completed in 1936. Built during the same time as the Civic Center (Municipal Building & Civic Auditorium), it was consistent with that design but was not part of the same project. In the second image, both the old and new courthouses are seen.

1936.courthouse.jpg
1930s.oldcourthouse.jpg
1936.aerialpostcard.jpg

MAIN & HUDSON, LOOKING EAST

The Hightower is at the left, followed by the Halliburton Building and, further away, the Hales.

The building showing it's edge, lower right, is the Levy/Mercantile Building.

1930s.main&hudson.jpg

BROADWAY & MAIN, LOOKING NORTH

Left: Tradesmen's National Bank in foreground (now BankFirst); Egbert Hotel; Medical Arts Building (light color, now 100 Park Avenue); Skirvin Tower under construction (finished in 1936, now 101 Park Avenue Building); the darker 5-story Wright Building; and, last, the Pioneer & SW Bell in background.

1930s.broadway&main.jpg
At right: behind the billboard, Insurance Building (originally Bass & Harbour), followed by the edge of the Skirvin.

UNION STATION

Union Station, aka Santa Fe Station, was built in the 1930s and, today, is used as Amtrak Depot on EK Gaylord. It is privately owned and, hopefully, the interior will be restored to its original state.

1930s.unionstation.jpg

POST OFFICE

Post Office & Federal Courts, 1932, on NW 3rd (now McGee) between Harvey & Robinson.

With this expansion, the earlier building was redesigned and doubled in size, notably adding the tower in the center. For the all Post Office images at this location,  click here. For a brief building history, see  the official link's description.

1930s.postoffice.jpg

MACHINE GUN KELLY

A new courthouse should have a fine trial, right? In 1933, Machine Gun Kelly was tried in Federal Court in the above facility. When arrested in Tennessee, he coined a phrase when he said, "Don't shoot, G-Men!" The trial was short. Upon conviction, he was sent to Alcatraz for the kidnapping of Oklahoma Citians Charles F. Urschel and Walter R. Jarrett. For more, see this  FBI Famous Cases description  or the Alcatraz History website.

1933.machinegunkelly.jpg

POST OFFICE BIRDS EYE VIEW

A birds eye view view of Post Office, looking North along Robinson, shows these other buildings:

The Elks Building around 8 o'clock; the Journal Record Building around 1 o'clock, and, around 5 o'clock, the edge of a balcony of the Ramsey Tower.

1930s.birdseye3.jpg

SKIRVIN TOWER

Two postcards showing the Skirvin Tower at the NW corner of Park Avenue & Broadway.

Left: This shows an artist's rendering of the planned 26 story Skirvin Tower, before the Wall Street Crash.

Right: After construction started in 1931, resources dwindled, plans were scaled back, and constrution on the actual building was finished in 1936 at 14 stories.

1930s.skirvintower1.jpg1930s.skirvintower2.jpg
Balliets was a tenant from 1936-1972. WKY Radio operated here from 1936-1951 (TV from 1949-1951), occupying 2 floors. The building was gutted in 1971 and is now the 101 Park Avenue Building. Also, see Bob Blackburn's excellent article and the 1940s image.

SKIRVIN HOTEL EXPANSION

At the NE corner of Park Avenue & Broadway; expansion and remodeling was completed in 1930; see
Bob Blackburn's excellent article.

Also, see the entire Skirvin collection and the other images below.
1930.skirvin.jpg

SKIRVIN COFFEE SHOP

The Coffee Shop in the expanded and renovated Skirvin.

1930.skirvin2.jpg

SKIRVIN VENETIAN ROOM

The elegant Venetian Room in the expanded and renovated Skirvin.

1930.skirvin3.jpg

OTHER HOTELS

HOTEL BLACK (1930), NW corner of Grand (now Sheridan) & Hudson, is now One North Hudson Building; HUDSON HOTEL, built in the early 1930s at the NE corner of Grand & Hudson; and, BILTMORE HOTEL (1932; 33 stories; 200 W. Grand; destroyed in 1997 - see 1997 pics). In addition to the Skirvin and Huckins, the older Bristol and Kingkade Hotels were still around, as is shown by their common stationery, below.

1930s.black.jpg1930s.hudson.jpg1930s.biltmore.jpg


HOTEL STATIONERY

Both the Kingkade (19 W Grand) and Bristol (300 N Broadway) were constructed in or before the 1910s. By the 1930s they were apparently under common ownership, as indicated by this hotel stationery logo from that period.

1930s.bristol.jpg

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