Mod Blog

Broadcast Station Design in 1940

Posted by on Mar 21, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.

You find so much fun stuff on the internet!  Recently, I was wasting an afternoon browsing around and stumbled across this Pick-Ups magazine.  Although it sounds more like a sleazy smut periodical from years gone by, it was actually a publication put out by Western Electric that was “devoted to the development of sound transmission” —

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This issue highlights the winners of a competition to design a 1,000-watt broadcast station.  The winner’s design is featured on the cover; his name was Louis Shulman, and he was an architecture student at New York University:

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Several New York University students won honorable mention awards for the station, but among them was OU’s own Julian Vahlberg.  Here’s his design:

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Yeah, I know, the images could be better.

Julian Vahlberg graduated from OU in 1941 and went on to become a very successful architect in OKC and worked with his brother, Robert, for many years.  Their uncle, Walter, was also an architect, so the love of design ran in their family.  Notable projects of Julian’s include the much-loved and sadly demolished Herold Building and the very space-age Russell Babb Elementary in Harrah.

If you’d like to look at the entire Pick-Ups magazine (it’s really interesting), it’s located on americanradiohistory.com.

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The Plaza Tower Hotel: Designed for the Weary Travelers in Mind

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Postcard from Lynne’s collection and brochure from Matt Goad’s collection.

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Of all of the mid-century modern treasures we’ve lost in Oklahoma City, I really lament losing the Plaza Tower Hotel the most.  Maybe that’s because I remember driving by it quite a bit when I was a teeny tot and even then appreciating its quirky hexagonal beauty.  Sigh.

I am happy, however, that several images of the hotel remain, and our very own Matt Goad even owns a brochure, which pays homage to the building’s unusual shape in its design, from the hotel’s opening days back in 1960.  I really love it and thought you would, too.  Thanks, Matt, for sharing it!

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Go here to learn more about this lost architectural marvel.

On the Market: A To-Die-For Mid-Mod in Midwest City

Posted by on Feb 28, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil

For those of you who are looking for a beautiful mod house that’s in need of a little love, this beauty in the Meadowood addition in Midwest City may be just what you’re looking for.

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Yes, this one is low and sleek and oh so sexy with jaw dropping details that are everywhere inside and out.

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When I say details, I mean things such as this beautifully crafted front door that offers titillating hints of the stunning surprises inside:

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Check out this stunning main living room with gorgeous wood panelling, a dramatic fireplace, and clerestory windows:

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That’s the dining room on the other side of the incredible, one-of-a-kind screen:

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Here’s a detail shot of the wood, tile, and light in this beautiful space:

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It’s surprising to me that this home, which was built in 1961 and is nearly 3,000 sf, has the open flow that today’s home buyer is looking for.  On the other side of the fireplace is a breakfast room/den overlooking the huge back patio on one side and the kitchen on the other:

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One of the most spectacular parts of the home is the all-original and well-appointed kitchen:

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vollendorf house mwc kitchen

There is SO much cabinet space and storage in this L-shaped space that includes a little desk, two large pantry spaces, and cabinets that carry the same spine-like pattern:

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vollendorf house mwc kitchen cabinet detail

And those pulls!

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Even sexier than those are the original Chambers stove and double ovens:

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vollendorf house mwc chambers stove

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vollendorf house mwc chambers oven

You can’t kill a Chambers, so I’m sure that these appliances work as well now as they did when they were freshly installed.  Oh how I love them … almost as much as I love all of the counter space in this beautifully planned kitchen:

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If you aren’t already drooling uncontrollably, this kitchen also contains the much-coveted built-in Nu-Tone appliance center — be still my heart!

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I’ve always wanted one of those babies.  Off the kitchen is the garage, in which the architect thoughtfully added a skylight to brighten up the space — I like:

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This house boasts a true mother-in-law plan with a large bedroom/den on the kitchen side of the house:

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When I tell you there is a lot of storage in this house, I mean it.  There are cabinets, drawers, and built-ins tucked away everywhere, including the closets:

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The bathroom on the MIL side is small but so spunky with pink fixtures and a dark tile that crawls up the walls from the floor:

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How great is that?

On the other side of the living room, the bedroom wing contains two large kids’ bedrooms…

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… and one of the coolest bathroom set-ups I’ve ever seen.  Off of the hall is a pretty fantastic bathroom with a skylight hovering over an amazing shower/tub combo:

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vollendorf house mwc master bathroom tile shower skylight

The tile is SO fantastic — my photos really don’t do it justice at all.  And, the best part is that it’s in great condition!  The vanity area in the bathroom is very spacious, too, with the cabinet pattern from the kitchen repeating itself here:

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A door from this bathroom leads to another vanity area in the master bedroom:

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Yes, those are lights built into the mirror like a backstage dressing room — how great are they?

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Here’s where the cool really comes in.  There’s a separate vanity area, toilet, and shower just for the master bedroom right next to this one (to the left in the photo):

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So, even though it’s a compact master bath setup, the two separate vanity areas make it seem much larger.  As for the master bedroom, it’s a giant space anchored by a pretty outstanding fireplace:

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vollendorf house mwc master bedroom fireplace

So dreamy, isn’t it?

Okay, if you haven’t totally fallen in love with this house yet, I think the back patio and yard just might send you over the edge.  Part of the patio is covered, which I would take down and open up to create one great big outdoor space:

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Even with the enclosure, the outdoor patio is gigantic and runs the length of the house:

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As beautiful as this patio is, it’s really not the best part of the backyard.  A rounded staircase leads to an equally huge yard that backs up to a creek, so there is plenty of privacy and space for tots to play, for dogs to run, or even for putting in a pool, which is exactly what I’d do.

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vollendorf house mwc

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Yes, this is a house that was definitely built for entertaining in a big way!  I believe the original owner was Kenneth H. Flannery, Jr., who was a local builder and one-time president of the OKC Home Builders Association.  He got into some legal trouble with gambling in the mid-’60s and may have left the state — I find no mention of him in the Oklahoman after 1967.  Anyway, he built a beautiful home for himself and his family, and I really hope that a Squadder comes along and saves it from short-sighted flippers.  Priced at a mere $135,000, there is plenty of room in almost any budget to invest money to fix up this mid-century modern palace and make it shine again.  Go here to see the Zillow listing and schedule a tour of this truly unique abode that is begging for someone to rescue it.

If you’re wondering about this Midwest City neighborhood, here’s a little information about it.  Meadowood was developed by Glenn Breeding and Midwest City founder, W.P. Bill Atkinson.

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The neighborhood was professionally planned to be a self-contained community of 1,000 homes on tree-lined, winding streets surrounding an elementary school and near shopping and the local YMCA.

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The developers began selling lots in 1960, and the more modest homes in the neighborhood started in the $13,500 range, which is about $111,000 today.

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Meadowood also contains several streets of grander custom-built homes on much larger lots — this week’s featured house is one of them and is on the prettiest street in the neighborhood, I think.  Here are a few of the homes on Glenoaks:

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Not too shabby, aye?  I drove all around Meadowood, and the homes are all very well maintained — there are some pretty outstanding examples of mid-century modern architecture, too, especially this gem around the corner:

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The sun was in the wrong spot for me to capture this home in all of its glory — here’s a better shot from the tax assessor site:

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Pretty fantastic, aye?  Also, there’s another Vollendorf house in the neighborhood:

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meadowood neighborhood mwc vollendorf

It’s not easy to capture the true coolness of this house — here’s another tax assessor shot that shows the home in better detail:

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Here are a few more Meadowood treasures:

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Located just minutes from the hubbub of downtown, Bricktown, and Midtown, Meadowood is a great alternative to pricier parts of town.  Check it out!

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OKC’s Beatnik Hangouts: The Gourd and Buddhi

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Photos not credited came from doing internet searches.  

Several years ago, my mom gave me a pile of ephemera from her high school and young married days in the early 1960s.  One piece of paper particularly interested me — a yellowed menu from a place called the Buddhi:

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(Lynne’s collection)

I had never heard of the place, asked my mom about it, and was surprised when she said that she and my dad hung out there quite a bit, sipping on Cokes (because neither of them were big coffee drinkers), and catching many a performance by up and coming folk musicians.  Intrigued, I decided to find out more about the Buddhi.

The story of the Buddhi actually starts with a previous incarnation of the coffee house, the Gourd, which was located at 53 Broadway Circle in Midtown — here’s a photo of the Gourd in 1960:

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OU student Steve Brainard and his father, who everyone lovingly referred to as Pops, opened the Gourd when Steve decided to drop out of college to pursue a career as a folk musician.

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(OPUBCO collection at The History Center)

Pops and Steve rented an old ice house and “Steve hung jute netting to hide the cracking plaster and ceiling, built a raised ‘stage’ at one end and hung lawn lights to shine on it”  Despite the sparse decor and luckily for Steve and Pops, folk music was at the height of its ’60s popularity and the small club that seated a mere 50-60 patrons and charged just $.50 admission opened in 1959 to instant success.  Soon, three of Steve’s buddies — Mason Williams, Baxter Taylor, and Bill Cheatwood — came on board as the house band, the Wayfarers Trio.  The three even recorded an album at the tiny coffeehouse, “Folk Music As Heard at the Gourd”:

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Here’s a photo of the Wayfarers Trio (l to r: Bill Cheatwood, Baxter Taylor, and Mason Williams) performing at the Gourd with friends Johnny Horton and owner Steve Brainard:

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(Baxter Taylor collection)

By early 1961, the Gourd had attracted so much attention and was so favorably compared to other establishments around the country that a detailed sketch of the place was recorded in the Oklahoman by a travelling Beatnik named John Gumm, who wrote an article comparing the Gourd to some of the coffeehouses in Chicago.  He stated that the Gourd, “gave no clue (to its importance on the national folk music scene).  Here were the candle lights, the rough decor, the easy atmosphere, the bitter coffee, the folk singing and the recorded music of any coffee house.  The waitress was sensational, but neatly groomed.  The walls — behind the burlap draping, the bullfight posters, and the candle smoke drawings — were unfinished.  The cement floor was (and is) about as even as a Wichita Mountains trail.”

The reporter went on to talk about Steve Brainard, saying that “I have never seen a folk entertainer who was able to gain so uncanny a rapport with an audience.  Aside from his command of the guitar and banjo and his soft tenor voice, Steve just has the personality to turn casual listeners into ‘enthralled’ regulars.”

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(OPUBCO collection at The History Center)

By the time the article appeared, however, Steve Brainard had moved on from the Gourd to open the much larger Buddhi a few blocks away at 919 N. Hudson.  Under new ownership, the Gourd became the Abstract Coffeehouse, but the tiny venue didn’t last long:

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As for the Buddhi, the new coffeehouse boasted a bigger stage and seating for 200, and for the price of a movie ticket, fans could enjoy the musical musings of such future superstars as Judy Collins:

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Poor Judy.  The first Oklahoman ad I found of her appearing at the Buddhi contained this unfortunate but pretty funny typo:

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Uh oh!  By the next edition of the paper, it had thankfully been corrected:

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Judy obviously was good natured about the incident and appeared at the Buddhi many more times over the next few years, even hosting a few special children’s concerts on otherwise quiet Sunday afternoons at the club.  Children’s concerts weren’t the only “extras” that the Buddhi offered.  During the day when there were no concerts, judo classes were offered to anyone interested in attending.  Also, a series of “Self Expression Workshops” took place in which actors, singers, dancers, instrumentalists, composers, writers, poets, artists, and photographers were invited to “display their wares in this completely artistic endeavor.”  The idea was to have all of these creative minds come together on a Sunday to come up with some kind of performance/show/reading that would be performed on Monday before a live audience.  Sounds daunting but a whopping 56 artists signed up to do the first workshop, and after the performance, one event organizer enthusiastically exclaimed that “talent is running wild in the streets of Oklahoma!”  Apparently so, because the Self Expression Workshop became a semi-annual and very successful event at the Buddhi.

Two of my personal favorite musicians who played at the Buddhi were native Oklahoman and all-’round awesome guy, Hoyt Axton and the bluesy, husky-voiced Judy Henske (click their names to listen to a track by each).  All of the women in my family have had huge, lifelong crushes on Hoyt Axton:

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I mean, how cute and cuddly and sweet and good natured was this guy?!  Sure do miss him….

Other performers who played at the Buddhi were Pete Seeger …

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… and perennial 1960s favorites, the hilarious Smothers Brothers before they hit the big time with their controversial and totally innovative TV show at the end of the decade:

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Steve Brainard was drafted into the Army not long after the Buddhi opened and returned often until he decided to make the move to California to pursue his musical career even further.  The Buddhi closed for a bit in 1964 then reopened with Pops running the place alone.  It must have been renamed the New Buddhi then:

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(Oklahoma’s Coffee Houses and Folk Music Era Facebook page)

After a couple more years, Pops closed the still-popular coffeehouse for good in about 1968.  One other 1960s coffeehouse, the Black Brick, which was famous for its non-alcoholic fruity drinks and loungy floor pillows where people could relax and hang out, may have been located where the Blue Door is now.  It lasted a bit longer but I believe it closed in the early 1970s.

As for Steve Brainard, he continued with his music until settling down to get married and have kids.  He eventually ended up back in Oklahoma in Guthrie.  Here’s a last photo of Steve and the Wayfarers gang preparing for a performance at the Buddhi in 1961:

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(OPUBCO collection at The History Center)

You can read more about the Gourd and Buddhi and the acts that played at each place here.  Also, local writer and photographer John Gumm wrote a several-part article about Beatnik hangouts around the U.S. — read his entry about the Gourd here:

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brainard 1 - final gourd buddhi

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Signs o’ the Times in Small Town Oklahoma

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil.

On a recent girls’ trip to a secluded cabin in the eastern part of the state, I marked two great vintage signs off my must-see list — the deliciously Googie Isle of Capri, which has been a mainstay in Krebs since 1950:

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… and the stunning End of Trail Motel sign in Broken Bow:

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These are just two of a plethora of great signs located in small towns all across Oklahoma.  I have dozens more that I’ve “collected” over the years, including several in Bartlesville:

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Murphy’s Steakhouse is a true Bartlesville icon and is home to the famous hot hamburger — you can try the recipe for this gut buster at home if you dare!

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Sadly, the Limey was closed and long gone when I took this photo, but the cheerful sign still spins in its efforts to advertise … well, nothing.

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I love the Googie greatness of the Comanche Center sign, don’t you?

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The Traveler’s Motel sign isn’t too shabby, either.

I took these on a trip to Muskogee in 2010:

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This beautifully restored sign in downtown Muskogee, OK, received the Downtown Mainstreet Best Sign award in 2009. Here’s what the Main Street newsletter said about the sign:

“The black metal sign with neon tubing and diamond design projected from the Surety Building above the corner of Third and Broadway for over 90 years. After four generations of family ownership, the jewelry store closed over 30 years ago. However, the sign remained a landmark in Muskogee. Martha Griffin, who rents the space where McEntee’s was, received permission from the building’s owners to restore the sign. She incurred the expense herself as a gift to the community. Work included removing the sign, simply cleaning the surface, replacing the neon gas, and reinstalling it. As the nomination states, ‘It took several attempts to get the neon to work properly, but the sign now provides a beautiful glow over a very historic corner of Muskogee’s downtown.'”

The eight-story Surety Building where McEntee’s Diamonds lived for decades was built in 1910 for the Southern Surety Company. It was added to the National Register in 1986, and, after being vacant for years, was converted into an apartment building. It looks like it’s in great shape today.

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There was talk a few years ago of restoring the circa 1922 Muskogee Hotel and turning it into artist space, but I’m not sure if that has happened.

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Sadly, a 2007 fire destroyed the cluster of beautiful gingerbread buildings that made up this business in downtown Muskogee, and the ruins and sign came down a couple of years ago from what I hear.

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The very original Trail Motel in Enid is one of my favorite mom and pop places to stay, and the sign is so fun!  And how great are these gems in McAlester?

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I love these beauties in Chickasha, too:

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And you have to love a little God Mod neon, like this one in Healdton:

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The long-gone Eagle Park in Cache is still remembered through these wonderfully rusty and crusty leftovers:

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The trading post is still open, and you can book tours of the nearby Quanah Parker house here.

Shawnee is home to some great signage, too:

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And, finally, this is one of my very favorite sign finds ever:

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This sticker sign was on a window at an abandoned sheet metal and appliance repair shop in Sulphur, OK.  When I took the photo in 2010, Sulphur was a pretty bleak looking place with just a few businesses open in the downtown area.  Here’s the building as it looked then:

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All of that changed when the Artesian Hotel opened, of course, and now most of the structures have been restored and are occupied.  The building that accommodated this beautiful sign for decades has been revamped, too, and this delightful piece of signage is, sadly, gone.

Such is progress.

Classic Car Badges

Posted by on Feb 8, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil.

I love typography.  Maybe because I love language so much, I also love the way individual letters and numbers look in all kinds of different styles.  Sleek, sharp, exaggerated, or simple, typography alone communicates so much about its subject and you don’t find that anywhere as obvious as in classic car badges:

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That flowy, neat and tidy Country Squire badge tells me that this car is stylish but practical, leisurely but purposeful.  On the other hand, the capped blocked letters on the Shelby badge are all about power and strength … and, of course, the slithering cobra helps with that impression, too.

Over the years, I’ve taken hundreds of photos of the little chrome monikers attached to classic Dodges, Fords, Cadillacs, and the rest.  It always intrigues me to think that designers put so much time and effort in creating the perfect little symbol and type for their latest models to perfectly encapsulate the car’s function and attract its perfect audience.  They are so interesting and fun compared to the bland and boring substitutes we get now:

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Yuck … let’s get back to the fun stuff.  This one has to be one of the very best badges EVER:

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Everything about the butt of this lovely Chrysler makes my heart sing, and the badge is tops!  Here’s another favorite:

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… and a few more:

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And I love this trio from the Corvair family:

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And I always love anything rusty and crusty:

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These are pretty amazing, too:

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And how cool is it when the symbol is incorporated into the badge like this:

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The typography on these is so fun:

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Finally, let’s wrap it up with one of my very favorites — a truly scary Dodge:

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I have tons of these badges in my collection and will be sharing more with you soon.

 

 

 

Fay Taylor, Fashion Illustrator Extraordinaire

Posted by on Feb 2, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

text and fashion photos by Lynne Rostochil, vintage images from the OPUBCO collection at the History Center

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When the iconic Ruth Meyers boutique in Nichols Hills Plaza closed recently, owner Cindi Shelby conducted one last sale for the ages, and generations of loyal customers arrived to pay their last respects and share decades of happy memories with each other.   I overheard the always lovely Cindi and her numerous friends/customers laughing over wedding dress fittings and finding “the perfect one,” of designer suits purchased decades ago that remain trendy today (thank you, Calvin Klein), and of giant-sized ’80s jackets that could swallow a person whole, which made all of us giggle and wonder what on earth we were thinking:

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Let’s hope that particular fashion trend NEVER returns.

Anyway, all of the reminiscing was only part of the fun.  Among the mannequins, fixtures, and display pieces for sale was a huge collection of fashion illustrations by the amazing Fay Taylor:

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Hundreds of pieces were piled high on every available surface in the back of the store.  Here’s a small sampling of the delicious eye candy that greeted loyal patrons hungry to take a memento from their favorite shop home:

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Over a three-day period, I spent hours carefully looking at each incredible piece of artwork, trying to convince my budget that I needed to rescue every single one.  Sadly, the budget said no to that idea, but I did pick up a few treasures, including this fun beauty:

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Most of the artwork was from the 1980s, but Fay actually began her collaboration with Ruth Meyers soon after the shop opened in 1975.

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I love these illustrations so much because Fay’s woman is confident, happy, on the go, and so incredibly stylish — much like the dazzling Fay, Ruth, and Cindi themselves:

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Fay’s two big loves — fashion and drawing — meshed early on.  According to a 1994 Oklahoman article with Fay, “her first memory of wanting to draw is when she was 8 years old and her teacher called her to the blackboard. While she was waiting for the teacher’s instructions, she picked up a piece of blue chalk and started to sketch.  ‘I was so attracted to that blue chalk,’ Taylor recalled during an interview in her home studio in Oklahoma City. ‘I started to draw a high-heel shoe. I always loved shoes. ‘”

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Once she began drawing, Fay found her passion in life and and was off and running.  However, at the time, no school offered fashion illustration classes so she had to learn everything on her own.  In the Oklahoman article, she recalled one experience with a boss during her early years as a fashion illustrator: “(he) remarked that the hands Taylor had drawn on a figure looked like ‘dead fish.’ She has since mastered the art of drawing hands. Taylor laughs about that critique now, but she said it was devastating to hear at the time.”

I think she definitely got the hands thing down, don’t you?

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Fay’s career kicked off when she was hired as an artist for a retailer in Kansas City.  In Oklahoma City, she worked as the head artist for Kerr’s and later for John A. Brown’s, while also writing and illustrating a weekly column in the Sunday Oklahoman.  Here’s one of her first columns and sketches for the newspaper from 1941:

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I love this column from 1964:

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Unencumbered with a husband or kids, Fay enjoyed a life of fashion, glamour, and travel.

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For a few years, she lived in Dallas and freelanced for Sanger Brothers and the Dallas Times Herald.  She also spent time in California as an illustrator for I. Magnin, but Fay loved life in Oklahoma City and returned home to be near friends and family.

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After her return, Fay opened Fay Taylor Books & Gallery in the shiny new Shepherd Mall in 1964.  Two of her nephews ran the shop, which often featured her watercolors and work by artists from all over the state.  She also carried a wide selection of art books and beautifully curated gift items.  The store was around for awhile, but I found no mention of it in the Oklahoman after 1967, so I assume that it closed that year.

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How lovely are these brides?

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Fay used a combination of pen and ink, watercolors, and pastels for her distinctive illustrations:

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This one just screams ’80s with that funky ‘do and those green tights!

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According to the Oklahoman profile on Fay, “When Taylor draws, she listens to classical music – ‘Especially if the drawing is not going right. I’ll get up and put on Chopin or something soothing. Then I just come back and start drawing again.  I can’t worry about, will this sell? Will they like it? I forget about all that and just draw and look out the window now and then and watch the squirrels run around. ‘”

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She even replicated fashion accessories in beautiful detail:

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Perhaps Fay’s biggest talent was for capturing the true likeness of fur.  In each of her illustrations of a fur cap or coat, the garment looks so textured and real that you have to refrain from petting it.  Amazing!

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Is your head about to explode yet?

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Fay’s women are confident, carefree, and in a constant state of motion with their beautifully coiffed hair blowing oh-so-perfectly in the presumed Oklahoma wind.

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I can just say that my hair has NEVER looked that lovely blowing in the wind; instead, it slaps me in the face, gets caught in my eyelashes, and looks like a discombobulated mess.  Obviously and much to my regret, I’m not a Fay kind of girl — darn it!

Her ladies look perfect in loungy clothing:

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… or all dressed up with somewhere to go:

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After the equally stylish Ruth Meyers opened her boutique in the tony Nichols Hills Plaza, she hired Fay to illustrate the store’s designer fashions in 1976.  It was a symbiotic partnership that would last the rest of Fay’s career.  OKC’s fashion trifecta of Ruth, Cindi, and Fay is on full display at an ’80s event:

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And here’s Ruth hard at work in her shop:

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Cindi recalls one work trip to New York City with her two fashion powerhouse friends.  The trio had just arrived in town and their car pulled up to drop them off somewhere.  When Ruth and Fay got out of the car, every head turned in their direction to check out the two elegant fashionistas, assuming that they surely must be famous.  They were so stylish and such a strong presence that the two ladies from Oklahoma made everyone else on the busy Big Apple street look dull in comparison.

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Fay loved hats!  “I don’t feel totally dressed unless I have a hat on,” she said during her 1994 interview with the Oklahoman.  That love is in evidence in many of her drawings of behatted lovelies:

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Fay retired for a short time in the mid-’90s but couldn’t stand being idle and soon went back to work with Ruth.  Here she is at work in her beautiful home overlooking the Quail Creek golf course:

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I think that every one of her creations is really Fay herself, don’t you?

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Over the years, the prolific Fay saw her illustrations in appear in such revered fashion and style publications as Vogue, Town and Country, and Harper’s Bazaar.

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In addition to all of her other work, Fay was a founding member and the regional president of Fashion Group International, an organization for women in the fashion industry.

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In 1991, Fay was honored with the Byliner Award by the OKC chapter of Women in Communications.

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Here’s one of those giant ’80s jackets I mentioned at the beginning of the article.  Somehow, it doesn’t look so exaggerated and impossible through Fay’s eyes, does it?

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This one was my very favorite of all of Fay’s art at the sale:

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And how cute are these holiday illustrations?

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One of the giant scrapbooks at the sale that was packed full of Fay’s work that appeared in the Oklahoman:

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Fay Taylor died in 2000 at the age of 89.  I find it remarkable that, when most women of her generation were supposed to be contented with domestic life, Fay vehemently rejected that limited notion of women’s capabilities and blazed a path of her own in a male-dominated workplace … and she did it so successfully and with a great deal of class, too.  She was certainly a pioneer and a woman to admire.

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Thanks to Holly and McKenzie Carlin for allowing me to photograph their Fay illustrations.  Also, a special thanks goes to Cindi Shelby for sharing her sweet memories of Ruth and Fay and for being such an icon herself.  You will be seeing her soon in a new space, so stay tuned!

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The Drawings of Garth Kennedy

Posted by on Jan 24, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil.

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Last fall, the beautiful mod treehouse in Forest Park that engineer Garth Kennedy designed for himself and his family sold with all of its contents intact.  Realtor Monty Milburn kindly opened the house to visitors before the house sold, and what a treat that was!  View photos of the house on the Mod Blog.  In addition, Monty discovered a pile of architectural renderings and drawings by Kennedy and allowed me to photograph them to share with you.  As far as I know, all of these are unbuilt projects.  First up are drawings from 1985 for the Omnitheater:

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Here are drawings for a vacation cabin for the Glenn H. Moore family that were likely completed before 1955:

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And check out this rendering for an office for Dr. G. McBride, Jr.:

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And how great is this lake house?

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Yeah, I love that one a lot, but this one to be built on the shores of Grand Lake is even better … and it’s in color, too:

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Next up is a plan for a home addition for Dr. Gifford McBride from 1975:

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And here are a couple of plans for mountain cabins:

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Here’s the second one:

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And, finally, here are a few drawings Kennedy made of his own beloved home:

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I’d like to thank Monty Milburn for loaning me these plans to photograph — they are a true treasure!

Sportsmanlike Driving

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  

With a newly minted driver in the house, the topic of being safe behind the wheel has been at the forefront of many conversations with my teenager over the last year.  I’ve also regaled him with stories of taking driver’s ed back in the early ’80s, where I had fun using ancient driving simulators that, no joke, looked like this:

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My high school was built in 1961 and the simulators must have been purchased then and used for well over 25 years.  Another memory of driver’s ed was the fear and terror of having to sit through such horrors as “Mechanized Death.”  The thing that was so bad about that was that my driver’s ed class was 4th period … lunch time.  We’d go eat lunch and return to have to watch blood and guts and crunched up cars for the rest of class, which wasn’t the least bit fun.

With all of the talk about driver’s ed over the last year with my son, it’s perhaps no surprise that I was immediately drawn to this instruction manual from 1955 when I spied it at an antique store recently.

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Of course, there has to be the requisite declaration of love on the first page:

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Shari must have really loved Fred a lot because there are little hearts and “FC + SS” throughout the book … except, mysteriously, on the last page of the index where she wrote “SS + DD”.  Hmm, wonder what happened to ole Fred….  Anyway, the book contains some great illustrations to enhance its message about driving while sleepy or under the influence:

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Yep, this is when most states didn’t prosecute if a driver’s blood alcohol level was less than 0.15% as established in 1939 by the National Safety Council and the American Medical Association.  That’s nearly twice as high as the legal limit of .08% now.  Yikes!

In addition to discussing driving while fatigued or drunk, the book discusses the practical aspects of being behind the wheel, like stopping distances:

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This guy is not a nice and thoughtful stopper, apparently:

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Chapter 5, “The Psychology of the Driver”, is my favorite.  Meet some of the people who the book deems as bad risks.

The Egotist:

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The Show Off:

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The Over-Emotional:

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The Rationalizer and the Thwarted:

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Who is the Thwarted, you ask?  Well, here’s a description of this driver:

Some persons do absurd things to compensate or make up for failure.  There is a strong desire in man to be masterful, to achieve something, to assert himself and display his power.  If circumstances prevent him from showing mastery in one situation, he tries to show it in another.  A familiar example is the man who does not amount to much at the office or shop and so tries to lord it over everybody at home.  The unimportant fellow looks for a chance to appear powerful.  The really important man doesn’t need to hunt for artificial outlets, for his desires for mastery and self-expression are being satisfied normally.

Wow, that’s intense … makes me wonder if Shari fell out with poor, milktoast Fred (because, face it, the name Fred doesn’t conger up images of the star athlete in school) for the much more confident sounding “D.D.”

Love this one instructing future drivers to “keep power under control.”

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The second half of the book moves away from the psychology of driving to the act itself and begins by familiarizing students with gauges and devices on most cars.  Here’s the illustration for all of the gadgets on a manual transmission car:

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There is even a big section of instruction about engine parts…

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… and the rest of the makings of a car.  No computers here:

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I really love this one:

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I drove a beat up 1972 Chevy pick-up with “three on the tree” when I was in my ’20s  — looked something like this but with tons of rust and more than a few dings not caused by me:

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I still miss Old Yeller.  Anyway, as anyone growing up “back in the day” (whenever that was), you know that even more terrifying than “Mechanized Death” was knowing that your entire driving career … and thus, social life … hung in the balance with the dreaded parallel parking task on the driver’s test.  Fail that and fail the entire test.

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Looks so easy, but so many people had to take the driver’s test two, three, or four times before they passed and all because of parallel parking.  That’s not the case now; otherwise, I think my kids would never have gotten a driver’s license.

This image just made me giggle — she’s got a pretty good “Oh shit” expression on her face as she’s trying to figure out this crazy graphic.

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And, this one make me very happy for anti-lock breaks and 21st century technology:

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I doubt this has changed much in the last 60 years…

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… but I guarantee that very few people are following 120 feet behind the driver in front of them when they are driving 60 mph:

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And watch out for those pedestrians!

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Well, that concludes our tour of driver’s ed ’50s style.  Be safe out there!

The Posh Parks of Oklahoma in the Ford Times

Posted by on Jan 12, 2017 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Magazine from Lynne’s collection.

 

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Recently, I picked up the August 1971 issue of the Ford Times that features an effusive article on the Sooner State’s newest state lodges, the glitzy Fountainhead and the organic modern Arrowhead, both of which were designed by Bailey Bozalis Dickinson & Roloff and completed in 1964.  Here’s the article:

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We’ve covered the sad fate of both Fountainhead and Arrowhead in previous blogs, and this entertaining article makes me miss them even more.  What a loss.  To counter my forlorn state, I went on to read this very fun snipit about the shiny new 1971 Mustang, a car that “makes every driving day a pleasure.”  Check it out:

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I don’t know about that every day is a pleasure claim.  A high school friend of mine had a gold ’72 Mustang that was beautiful to look at but awkward and clunky to drive and broke down like clockwork every few weeks.   But, she looked great in it when it did run, so she didn’t care.

The magazine features one more fun article that brought back some good memories.  This one is about the Ford Wagonmaster and immediately made me think of being an un-seat-belted kid rolling around in the far back of my Mom’s mustard-colored AMC Hornet Sportabout (sorry, Ford) while she tooled around town listening to The Carpenters on the 8-track.  We had the ’71 model:

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Ours was a no frills model without the crazy Gucci package.  Darn it.  And, while I didn’t mind the Hornet too much, it wasn’t luxurious as my aunt’s giant, wood paneled Country Squire, which offered considerably more rolling around room.

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Here’s the article about the Wagonmaster that will surely make you smile and remember the station wagons of your youth:

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