Posts By: lrostochil

On the Market: A Captivating Cutie in Venice

Posted by on Apr 16, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil. photos by Robyn Arn.

It’s not very often that a nearly perfectly preserved mod comes on the market, but that is certainly the case with a very sweet and well cared for example in the much desired Venice neighborhood.  Sadly for the Mod Squad (and for me personally), founding member Robyn Arn is leaving us and moving to Arkansas and, in the process, is selling her charming abode.  Because she really wants another mid-century mod lover to get the home and protect its originality, she’s giving the Mod Squad a sneak peek and buying opportunity before she lists it next week, and I’m telling you, if you’re in the market for a sweet bungalow with tons of original character in a great location, this is the house for you!

Cute, cute, cute!  I’m a complete sucker for flagstone, and this two bedroom/two bath bewitcher has it in spades:

The charm continues once you step inside the door of the 1950 home and into the spacious, light-filled living room, complete with original hardwood floors:

And, no, none of Robyn’s stunning collection of furniture is for sale, darn it.  But, this shows you just how perfectly mod works in the space, doesn’t it?  Oh and did I mention how bright the space is?  So light and airy and happy!

Dividing the open concept living and dining rooms is a sweet built-in partition/planter that I’m SO in love with:

It lights up, too!!

The formal dining room on the other side of the divider is as bright and open as the neighboring living room and can easily hold a large table and china cabinet:

I mean, really, could this space be any cuter?!  Off of these common areas are the more informal rooms of the house — the open plan kitchen, breakfast room, office, and den.  Let’s start with the kitchen:

This space has seen some sprucing over the years, but the kitchen still maintains much of its character because the layout is the same, with original cabinetry and the peninsula still in place.  And look at all of that storage!  To the side of the kitchen is a darling built-in banquette for more informal meals:

Both the kitchen and breakfast area overlook the den and office, which are separated by a two-sided flagstone fireplace.  Here’s the den:

Yep, that’s a built-in bookshelf you see along that beautifully panelled wall next to the kitchen:

I love every single thing about this room, from the giant fireplace to the panelling that cozies up the space so perfectly.  Here’s the office on the other side of the fireplace:

Pure perfection!  If I had this as my office, I don’t think I’d ever leave the house.

Just off of the office is a half bath:

Also off of the office is a very generous laundry room and two-car garage.

If you have a few cars or need extra storage, you will find all of that in abundance with this house.  In addition to the attached garage, a previous owner constructed a detached two-car carport and storage room in the backyard.  So, there are all kinds of possibilities with these two spaces.

While we’re in the back, take a look at the sweet patio area.  Is this the perfect space for morning coffee/summer dinner/reading or what?

Yeah, I’m SO in love with this place, can’t you tell?  Just wait, it gets even better back inside with the all-original and totally to die for PINK bathroom:

Woo hoo, pink!!  If you don’t already have goosebumps and heart palpitations, this next feature ought to do it for you: the bathroom even has a separate built-in vanity area:

Yeah, I know.  I KNOW!!!  This place is so stinkin’ cute!!!

Off of this darling bathroom are two surprisingly spacious bedrooms — here’s the master with yummy grass cloth wallpaper:

There’s even a second closet in this bright and happy room:

The second bedroom is just as airy and bright as the first:

And the hallway offers up extra room for even more storage:

I have been madly in love with Robyn’s sweet house ever since I met her and would jump at the chance to buy it from her if I could.  I mean, how often do you find a beautifully cared for, three-owner home in such a great neighborhood that hasn’t been mucked up?  Not often at all, as you likely know.  So, if you’re interested in being the fourth owner of this gorgeous time capsule, you can tour Robyn’s abode this Sunday, April 22nd from 2pm-4pm, for a Mod Squad-only open house.  Here are a few last particulars:

2715 NW 33rd
OKC 73112

1,958 sf
2 bedroom/2 bath

If you’d like to chat with Robyn about the home before Sunday, you can message her through Facebook.

Modern Details: Caudill Rowlett Scott and Warr Built Homes

Posted by on Apr 13, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  photos courtesy of Googlemaps, Oklahoma History Center, and Lynne Rostochil.

A few days ago, Terri started a great discussion on the Okie Mod Squad Facebook page about several modest mod carported homes located on N. Miller between NW 47th and NW 50th.  Here are a couple of examples:

And a couple with less dramatic carports:

These unique homes were immediately familiar to me because I’ve seen a cluster of the more dramatic ones in Warr Acres, too.  So, what’s the story behind these post-war cuties?  Well, they were designed by Caudill Rowlett & Scott (CRS) and, well, they appear in the June 1948 issue of Architectural Forum, so I’ll let the article do the talking:

MODERN DETAILS help a merchant builder sell his $9,500-$11,800 houses ($98,000 – $122,000 in 2018 dollars)

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Builder: Warr Built Homes Co.

Architects: Caudill & Rowlett; Gordon McCutchan, Associate

Photographer: Johnny Melton

During the past 25 years, Warr Built Homes Company has built a very considerable part of Oklahoma City — some 4,000 houses of it.  Not until last year, however, did President C.B. Warr and his associate, Clarke X. Pace, decide to offer houses which were more up to date design-wise than the ones they built a quarter of a century ago.  But, they are glad they did — the first new house attracted about 10,000 visitors (some from adjoining states); the first ten built to sample the demand were sold before completion; since then, construction and sales in an 80-unit development, called Warr Acres, have been moving apace.

To design his new houses, Warr called upon Architects William W. Caudill, John M. Rowlett, and associate Gordon McCutchan.  After a thorough study of Warr’s building methods, existing equipment, available materials, and on-site labor costs, they came up with a dozen basic floor plans with variations in exterior materials and colors.  While widely different in plan layout, all models display these design details: 1) open floor plans — living and dining areas are usually combined; 2) low-pitched, shed and flat roofs — frequently in combination with one another; 3) minimum fenestration in north and west walls as protection against cold winds and hot sun, respectively; 4) large fixed windows in the other walls protected by 3 to 6 ft. roof overhangs; 5) separate control of light and air: large windows are fixed sheets of plate glass, flanked by screened louvers; 6) nonbearing partitions, permitting a house to be plastered, floored, and trimmed economically before the space is subdivided; 7) shop fabricated closets; 8) carports with storage walls, instead of garages, at a 60 per cent cost saving.

In addition to these modern design features, Warr Acres’ new houses boast wall-to-wall carpeting in living and bedrooms, flush doors throughout, a 36 in. attic fan, an automatic clothes washer, and 90 x 200 ft. lots valued at $1,500.  Including these items, sales prices range from $9,500 for two bedrooms to $11,800 for three.  Although the unusual character of Warr’s has been viewed without enthusiasm by local FHA offices and mortgage companies, FHA approval and satisfactory financing terms have been obtained.  Thus, the house illustrated (below) was sold for $11,000 with the aid of an $8,000 FHA-insured mortgage held by Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and a $2,000 loan guaranteed by the Veterans Administration:

Consumer reaction, according to Builder Pace, has been “very good.”  Never lukewarm in their comments, prospects are either extremely enthusiastic about the house or definitely dislike them.  The enthusiasts are invariably young people.

While Warr Acres represents a big forward step in the design of merchant builder houses, it is only a step.  The architects agree: “Although we are still very far from an all-successful, livable, and low cost house, the results are gratifying.  We feel that we have made a definite contribution in this area for good builder houses.”

Two bedroom house is opened to the east rear yard by large bedroom windows (flanked by ventilating louvers) and entire wall of glass in the living room.  Bedrooms have generous proportions, measure 12 x 12 ft. and 12 x 15 ft.  Cubage: 7,600 sf.  Sales price: $11,000 including lot.

Two bedroom variation (above) is shielded from cold north wind and penetrating west sun by windowless walls.  Small glass block panels in west kitchen wall were considered necessary by builder, not the architects.  As in the other two bedroom house, a coat closet is conspicuously absent.  

Here is the three bedroom plan:

Here are a couple of the Warr Acre homes today:

As with several of the homes on N. Miller, many of the homes — like this one — have been altered:

Also, I found an article in the Chronicles of Oklahoma by Susan Allen Kline and Cynthia Savage that also discusses the Warr Built Homes:

After having built 150 “conventional boxlike two-story houses” in Mayfair Heights, they (Warr Built Homes) called on Caudill and Rowlett to design one-story, brick veneer, modern style houses.  The houses rested on concrete slabs and the interiors had a combination of exposed brick and lath-and-plaster walls.  Often the brick walls were left unpainted, a treatment the firm later used in school designs.  A house at 2700 NW 47th Street was chosen by American Home magazine as the “American Home of the Southwest” and was featured in its issue of August 1948.  Warr Built Homes showcased the house during an open house on April 11, 1948.  In an advertisement in the Daily Oklahoman, it was touted as being sensitive to its environment, taking into consideration lighting, ventilation, and solar issues…. Here they created up-to-date designs that featured open floor plans, low pitched or shed roofs, minimal windows on north and west walls to protect against winter wind and summer sun, and built-in carports instead of garages as a cost saving measure.  Although the local office of the Federal Housing Administration viewed the development’s “unusual character … without enthusiasm,” the designs found a market, especially among young people.  

So, the “American Home of the Southwest” that Kline and Savage mention and that was advertised in the Oklahoman is right in the heart of Mayfair Heights along the stretch of road on N. Miller that Terri originally mentioned.  Here’s the ad:

I’m broken hearted to show you what this once-glorious home looks like now, but here goes:

How on earth could anyone EVER think that this mess could ever be more attractive than the original?

Some of the homes on N. Miller — well, the ones that haven’t been altered beyond recognition, anyway — are identical to the designs in Warr Acres, and all of the carported homes — both mod and more traditional — in both neighborhoods were constructed in 1948.

Since Warr was building all over Oklahoma City at the time, it’s possible that there are other clusters of CRS-designed homes out there.  I know of one other area of somewhat similar modest mods with carports near downtown Britton that were constructed in 1955.  I don’t know if CRS designed them or not, but they were all sold even before they were fully constructed, as this photo from the OPUBCO collection at the History Center shows:

Here’s the same block today:

So, if you’re out and about and see some cool mid-century mods with carports out in the wild, they may have been designed by CRS, which went on to become an internationally renowned firm just a year after these homes were built when their innovative school designs in Blackwell were widely publicized and praised.  But, that’s a story for another time….


Classic Cars in the Wild

Posted by on Mar 29, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil

Other than finding a mid-mod building I’ve never seen before, there is nothing that delights me more than driving along and stumbling upon a well loved classic car that is still in daily use.  I thought I’d share a few of my favorite “wild” finds with you this week.  First up is one of my favorites for several reasons:

This beauty was owned by an elderly gentleman named Ray:

We met Ray as we were wandering through the small hamlet of Wapanucka. When I was a kid, I used to visit family here and play on the even-then quiet streets, explore the old, abandoned high school with my dad, and enjoy great feasts prepared by all of the relatives. Unfortunately, these relatives are either dead or have moved away, so I haven’t been back to Wapanucka in about 12 years. It was sad to see that all of the downtown is abandoned now, the old high school that my dad and I spent hours exploring has been torn down, and the only sign of bustling life seems to be the corner convenience store/restaurant/gas station at the intersection of two rural highways.

This is where we met Ray. He was driving around town in his jadite green ’30s Ford truck and stopped at the convenience store at the same time we did. As droplets of rain began to fall, we started talking about his beautifully restored truck, and I asked him if he knew any of my family who grew up here. He immediately recognized my grandfather’s name and said that they played together often as kids. My grandfather was the one who broke up fights and kept the order among their gaggle of unruly boys, he said, and I believe it (my grandfather later became a teacher and served a very long term as chief of the Chickasaw Nation — really!).  It was quite a treat to meet someone who knew my family back in the day and to get to photograph his beautiful vintage truck.

Another one of my favorites is this shot I took in Tucumcari:

I’ve been through Tucumcari several times and have always seen the painted car but never the original — got lucky finding them both together on this day.

Here’s another fun find in Tucumcari:

That is one sassy Fury, aye?

Back in Oklahoma, I found this to-die-for Edsel in a grocery store parking lot in SWOKC — how perfect is this beauty?

I’ve met a lot of Squadders when I’ve stopped to photograph their cars.  This photo introduced me to my pal, Ray, and his gorgeous Riviera.  And what better backdrop can you find than the Founders Tower?

And, here’s another Squadder’s car in the wild — check out Jim’s stunning Cadillac in downtown OKC:

Some finds simply defy explanation, like this one in OKC:

And other finds like to play peek-a-boo, like this one in Chicago:

Some offer are purely magical moments of perfect lighting and friendly composition, like this Cadillac in OKC:

While others are good for their seeming ordinariness — is that even a word?  Just looked it up and, hot damn, it is!  Top photo was taken in El Reno and I found the El Camino in Coalgate:

For awhile, I played around with expired film and caught this gorgeous Mercedes hanging out at Mutt’s:

So pretty!  Here’s another one I shot the same day — gotta love an old hearse, right?

My husband loves this shot from Snyder because the car boasts OSU colors — go Pokes:

For you Sooner fans, how about this crazy pimped out Cadillac I found in Lone Grove:

Love Beetles?  Then, here are a couple for you from Santa Rosa, NM, and Jerome, AZ, respectively:

I love this bright green Cadillac covered in snow in Red Cliff, Colorado:

Check out these fabulous classic car butts that were partying in SWOKC one spring afternoon:

This 1965 Harvester Travelall 1100 was for sale when I visited Marfa a few years ago — oh how I would have loved to bring this ride back to OKC:

Another one I coveted was this sassy Nova on S. Robinson that was patiently awaiting its next adventure:

This one was in the shop at Penn and NW 30th getting a little sprucing:

It always delights me even more to find vintage foreign cars in the wild — they are rare finds, indeed.  I spotted the Austin Cooper in Wynnewood, the Triumph in OKC, and the Volvo in Angel Fire, NM:

These are just a few of my finds.  If you are a classic car stalker like me, please send photos of your finds and I will post them on a future Mod Blog.  In the meantime, let’s enjoy one last beauty riding off in the Oklahoma City sunset:



The Joyce House: A Mod Victorian in Snyder

Posted by on Mar 22, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Photos identified in captions.

Resting atop a 25-foot bluff overlooking a rural granite quarry, the octagonal-shaped Joyce House looms large amid ancient boulders and expansive farmland outside of Snyder.

(Julius Shulman)

It took four tries for John and Evelyn Joyce to realize the house of their dreams.  Three different times they consulted with architects to design their new home and three different times they were disappointed when the experts returned with plans for traditional, ranch-style abodes.  Then, they met with OU architecture professor and all around creative genius, Herb Greene….

The Joyces had unusual requirements for their new home, which was to be built on land owned by the family quarry business.  During their initial interview with Greene, they expressed their desire to build a home that would compliment their vast collection of stained glass windows, heavy Victorian furniture, and traditional Swedish heirlooms… in other words, overly ornate items that a Modernist like Greene might snub a nose at, which is exactly what he did. In his book, Mind and Image, Greene explains in the third person his initial reaction about the project: “To an architect holding to his share of contemporary dogmas, these objects were at first not a stimulus.  They were seen through his stereotyped codes that tended to deny the value of the “old-fashioned.”

Once Greene got to know the Joyce family and walked the cliff top building site, however, he came to embrace the idea of melding old and new and finding creative ways to incorporate the couple’s collection into the design scheme.  When he returned with his most unusual two-story, heavily shingled design that included a protective carport and pyramidal tower, the Joyces knew they had finally found the right man for the job.

(Herb Greene)

Greene chose an octagonal design for the home as a modern version of traditional, often turreted and shingled Victorian architecture so that the family’s heirlooms would look as if they naturally belonged in the space.  The shape also optimized window space to create perfect, light-filled homes for several of the Joyce’s stained glass windows.

(Julius Shulman)

The first level, floor-to-ceiling windows also let the stunning rural views become a focal point in the open plan living areas, kitchen, and dining room.

(Julius Shulman)

To offset the arid landscape, Greene incorporated an indoor fountain under a sculptural, two-level staircase in the heart of the house to bring in soothing sounds of water.  This, according to Greene, gave the home “mild allusions to a sacred place.”

(Bob Bowlby)

Greene also accommodated John and Evelyn Joyce’s eclectic furniture collection by creating a space for a confessional from Minnesota in the master bathroom, an old hotel barback in a downstairs common area, and Victorian chandelier in the entry.

(Julius Shulman)

Here’s a modern-day view of the same area taken by Squadder, Ron Brewer:

Greene also made space in an interior hall cabinet to hide their piano so that it wouldn’t take up valuable floor space when it wasn’t being used.

The Joyces and a few of their employees constructed the house themselves on weekends and holidays for over two years, and it was finally completed in 1960.  During the same time, Greene also designed a small office building at the bottom of the hill for the Joyce’s business, the Roosevelt Granite Company.

(Bob Bowlby)

And Ron Brewer’s photos of the building now:

According to Julius Shulman, who took photos of the Joyce House in 1961, the home was “another ‘experimental’ Herb Greene achievement, more modest than the Prairie Chicken, but nonetheless a demonstration of great prolific talent.”

(Julius Shulman)

The Joyce family lived in the home until John and Evelyn’s health began to decline in the mid-2000s, but looking like a winged creature awaking and half stretching after a long sleep, the home continues to sit proud and high on its perch taking in the rugged Oklahoma countryside.  It was added to the National Register in 2011.

(OPUBCO collection at the History Center)

Not too long ago, Ron Brewer photographed the still-stunning Joyce House and shared a couple of images with the Okie Mod Squad group on Facebook:

The last time I went through Snyder, I also drove by the house.  The gate was locked so I couldn’t get very close, but both the office building and the home are still looking good:

And here’s one final photo by OU architecture professor, Arn Henderson:

Kress: A Mod Delight in Capitol Hill

Posted by on Mar 15, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Photos from the Oklahoma History Center and Googlemaps.

Who would have thought that this bland building in Capitol Hill …

was once a very mod and gleaming Kress store with a funky zig zag roof:

S.H. Kress started the five-and-dime chain in 1896 and by the time this building was constructed in 1960, there were hundreds of Kress stores throughout the country.  According to the National Building Museum website, “Samuel H. Kress (1863–1955) envisioned his stores as works of public art that would contribute to the cityscape. To distinguish his stores from those of his competitors, namely F.W. Woolworth Co. and S.S. Kresge Co., he hired staff architects. Kress achieved retail branding success not merely through standardized signage and graphics, but through distinctive architecture and efficient design. Regardless of their style, from elaborate Gothic Revival to streamlined Art Deco, Kress stores were designed to be integral parts of their business districts and helped define Main Street America.”

Theater owner, R. Lewis Barton was the brains behind the Capitol Hill store.  In an effort to revitalize the aging neighborhood, he bought an entire block of the shopping district along SW 25th between Walker and Hudson and planned to construct the Kress, several small shops, a clinic, offices, a parking garage, and a cafeteria.

This building in the heart of the district was the first of the planned projects to be completed, and it opened in November 1960 at a cost of $550,000 (around $4.7 million in 2018).  The 87,000 sf variety store featured just about everything you’d expect to find in a five-and-dime — clothing, kitchen wares, tools, furniture, decor, and, of course, the ubiquitous lunch counter.  Here are some images of the store under construction:

This thoroughly modern Kress was designed by local architect Calvin Garrett (perhaps best known for designing the Continental Theater in the Founders District) and constructed by his and Barton’s company, B&G Construction.  Here are more photos just before the store opened to the public:

The store was built on a sloping piece of land, so the west entrance led customers up a set of stairs to the first floor shopping area:

There was also a basement level with Capitol Hill’s first escalators ferrying customers between the two levels:

Here are some of the goodies the chain carried:

And here’s the lunch counter, where I’m sure many a tasty meal was devoured — and perhaps where a sit-in or two occurred also:

The offices were compact and efficient,

while the exterior was a true marvel:

In 1964, Genesco bought Kress and began closing down its Main Street stores and relocating them to shopping malls.  By 1980, most of the Kress stores were gone altogether.  After Kress closed, the building became home to a flea market for a few years before being converted in 1988 into offices:

From these images, it looks like the zig zag roof was long gone before this renovation.  Too bad.

As for Barton’s grand plans for the district, I think that most of them were abandoned after this project.  Capitol Hill endured some pretty bleak years but, over the last decade, has started to bounce back in a big way.  The revitalization efforts Barton attempted are happening for real now with the renovation of the old Yale Theater and the conversion of the old Brown’s building to an Oklahoma City Community College campus.

Here’s one last view of the once-stunning Kress building:


Lloyd Wright, OU, and the Miracle of Light

Posted by on Mar 7, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Brochure from Lynne’s collection.

Although Lloyd Wright lived in the looming shadow of his much more famous father, Frank Lloyd Wright, the younger architect created many incredible designs of his own, including the stunning Wayfarer’s Chapel in Palos Verdes, CA:

He also designed the gorgeous but somewhat creepy Sowden House in Los Angeles where the brutal and still unsolved Black Dahlia murder may or may not have taken place:

In 1964, the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture hosted an exhibition celebrating Wright’s architectural designs entitled “Let There Be Light and There Was Light.”  What a great exhibit that must have been!  While we can’t travel back in time and attend, I have found an exhibit catalog to share with you.  Enjoy!

To learn more about the younger Wright’s exceptional life and career, go here.



The ’59 Ford Station Wagons: The World’s Most Beautifully Proportioned Cars

Posted by on Feb 28, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Brochure from Lynne’s collection.

While rummaging through a pile of vintage ephemera at an antique store in Perry a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this fabulous Ford brochure from 1959 touting the all-new station wagons in such cheerful colors as Wedgewood Blue and April Green.  The brochure made me so giddy that I couldn’t wait to share it with you.  Let’s begin with the nine-passenger Country Squire:

I’ve always loved the Country Squire, and we’ve talked about this iconic wood panelled marvel on the Mod Blog before — here and here.

Here’s the dreamy Country Sedan:

And, finally, the classy Ranch Wagon:

Look at all of the glorious styles, fabrics, and colors that you could choose from to create your very own dream car.  Which combination would you go with?

Now, let’s check out how the Ford wagons ride:

They might be terrifying to parallel park, but you’ve got to love that “bowling alley” loadspace!

With all of that girth above, the wagons needed some pretty zippy horsepower and a strong suspension:

These cars had all kinds of fun options and even a few safety features, too:

While Mom could enjoy carting the kiddos around in the Country Squire, Dad could opt for one of these sportier Fords:

Finally, if you get a magnifying glass, you might be able to read the specs for the ’59 Ford wagons:



1964 Fall Parade of Homes

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Catalog from Lynne’s collection.

I have a few vintage catalogs featuring new home tours, such as the Parade of Homes, so I thought I’d pull one out and share it with you.  This one is from the fall 1964 Parade of Homes tour and features some great eye candy.  I’m including “now” shots from the Tax Assessor website so you can see how these designs have held up the last 50 years.  Let’s begin with a few necessary and very fun ads:

Here’s a map of all of the homes on the tour, along with builder information and addresses:

The star of the tour was the magnificent House of Good Taste that we profiled on the Mod Blog in 2014.  Located in what was then the Rolling Hills addition (now known as The Greens), the home backs up to a private park as you can see on this map:

And here’s how the home was promoted:

When the home went on the market four years ago, Squadders Mike and Lindsey purchased it and have lovingly turned it into a true showplace, I’m happy to say.  It was even featured on our first-ever Oklahoma Modernism Tour.  Here’s the house today:

Lookin’ good!

Next up is another great ad for Frigidaire:

The second home on the tour is a five-bedroom colonial in Quail Creek:

It looks like it has received a bit of updating, but it’s still recognizable:

Time for a little digression in the form of that sweet Comfort ad at the bottom of the page featuring the Quail Creek house.  A few years ago, I stumbled across a couple of vintage photos of the air conditioning company.  The first is a ’50s image of the company’s building at 1808 W. Main:

Here’s the same building today — it hasn’t changed a bit:

The second vintage image is a photo of a Comfort billboard featuring the company’s charming polar bear mascot:

The address on the billboard is a block from their original headquarters.  It’s here:

Looking at the Chrysler Airtemp sign in the billboard photo made me realize that the giant Amundsen sign that’s there now was repurposed — even the badge at the top of the Chrysler sign was reused.  Here’s a close-up of a Chrysler Airtemp sign I found in Sulphur:

And a better shot of the Amundsen sign:

Yep, they are the same, don’t you think?

I’m not sure when Comfort left W. Main, but the company is now located in the warehouse district between NE 23rd and NE 50th east of Broadway Extension and the original Comfort sign is still in use on top of the building:

Pretty cool, aye?

Okay, digression over.

The next stop on the Parade of Homes tour is this beauty located on N. Villa:

The real house is quite a bit different from the drawing above, but I like the detail on the brick to the left and on the garage doors:

This Lakehurst cottage looks very much the same today as it did when it was first constructed:

So charming!

From Lakehurst, it’s over to Edgewater, where a more traditional model made the cut:

This one still looks pretty original, too:

Here’s another Edgewater traditional:

And the same house today:

Getting tired of all of the traditional homes?  Yeah, me too.  Luckily, we’ve got a great group of mods coming up, and they are kicked off by a couple of ad pages:

I know!  How cool is that house with all of the concrete brick?  Did you see the fab garage door, too?  Wowza!  That one must have been on a previous tour because it’s not here and I can’t find an address for it, darn it.  Oh well, we’ve got some good ones coming up that will surely impress.  Here’s a mod Edgewater for you:

And the house today:

I don’t know what happened to the planned pitched roof, but I like the built house better, anyway.

Here’s another Edgewater rock cottage:

This one hasn’t changed much, either:

Now, let’s head over to MacArthur Terrace for a cute, L-shaped modest mod:

The home now:

Love that rock!

Next up is a split level, also in MacArthur Terrace:

The promotion states that it has a Spanish influence, but I’m not seeing it.  What I am seeing is that the house is still looking good today:

Ready for another digression?

Why are garage doors so ugly and bland now?  I love seeing old garage doors with fun and funky designs that make them blend with the house better.  I’ve taken tons of photos of cool garage doors because they are a dying breed.  Maybe I’ll do a Mod Blog about them sometime, but in the meantime, I’ll share a few of my favorites with you.  Here’s a three-car delight!

And check out these doors in Belle Isle that mimic the concrete block design on the side of the house:

This diamond pattern is the best!

New garage doors need to be as fun as these, don’t you think?

Digression #2 over.  The next two homes on the tour keep the contemporary vibe going:

Here’s the first one today:

Where did that whole second story on the back go?

Here’s the second one now:

Pretty.  And it still has its original garage door, too.

Next up is one in Bethany:

It looks about the same:

One of my favorite homes in the entire Parade is this beauty in Windsor Hills:

I’m so in love with the angles and the way the wood on the siding to the right offsets them so beautifully.  Unfortunately, someone didn’t like that effect and removed it (if it ever had it)  The bank of clerestory windows on the side weren’t added, either — too bad.  The home is still nice, though:

Here’s a “Leave It to Beaver” house, also in Windsor Hills:

And now:

You’ve got to love any development called Talk of the Town and any street named Zedna Drive, don’t you?  Well, this house claims both:

It’s still pretty cute now:

And one last digression.  How great is that Local Federal ad?  The bank was located across from the beloved Founders Bank at 5701 N. May.  It was designed by Sorey Hill Sorey and was quite a beauty when it opened in 1964.  Here’s a model of the bank showing all of its great lines:

And here are a couple of interior shots of it:

At some point, the building expanded and was glassed in — see this photo from 2003:

It still had a cool factor but wasn’t nearly as nice as the original.  Just three years after this photo was taken, the aging building was demolished by new owners, IBC Bank, and replaced with one that is a real yawner:


Digression #3 over.

Let’s continue the tour with this cutie in SWOKC:

Here it is today:

Here’s another one in southwest OKC:

It looks very similar today:

The next house has a name, the Phoenix and is described “as modern as tomorrow” — love that:

How is it holding up now that tomorrow is here?  Very nicely, I’d say:

Del City makes an appearance with this contemporary entry:

The home looks pretty perfect today:

In Midwest City, we have a stop in the lovely Meadowood addition.  This is such a great neighborhood today and contains many great mods — go to the Mod Blog to see a few, including one of the coolest MCMs I’ve ever toured.  This one is not quite as cool:

But it has been well maintained over the years:

We wrap up the tour with one last ad for kitchen counter tops and drain boards:

Fun stuff!






The Architecture of William Henry Ryan

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

Text and photos by Lynne Rostochil unless otherwise stated.

A few weeks ago, Oklahoma lost one of its most outstanding architects when William Henry Ryan died in Tulsa at the age of 93.  An Oklahoma City native, he attended OU and studied under Bruce Goff during the architecture program’s glory years.  Afterward, he set up practice in Tulsa and continued designing buildings into his late 80s.  It’s always sad when such an amazing talent dies, but luckily for us, he left an incredibly impressive body of work behind in the Sooner State for us to cherish.  Here are a few of his projects:

First Lutheran Church, Ada

This modest but distinctive church sits atop a large hill overlooking park land.  Its defining feature is the exposed trusses supporting a folded plate roof.  Very simple but very elegant at the same time.

Z-Tree Church of Christ Activity Center, Ada

I’m not 100% sure that this is a Bill Ryan design, but when Ada architect, Ray James and I toured Ada and I admired this building, he attributed it to his friend, Ryan.  It certainly looks funky enough to be a Ryan design and since Ray James was spot on with all of the other building identifications he made for me that day, I’m pretty sure this one was designed by the Tulsa architect.  It sits on the East Central University campus overlooking the football field and just up the hill from the Kerr Activity Center that James designed.

Rose Bowl, Tulsa

It’s impossible for me to drive around Tulsa and not stop by and take a few shots of this Googie icon.  The Rose Bowl opened in 1962 and served the community until 2005.  After that, it sat vacant for a few years before becoming an events center and activity area serving underprivileged youth.  Owners are looking for sponsors to help revitalize the building — go here to learn more.

Elks Lodge, Tulsa


This piece of Googie deliciousness opened in 1957 and the dramatic and innovative design was featured in several publications.  Sadly, the round buildings were demolished in the late 1990s and the new lodge is a pretty bland and dismal affair compared to the original structures.  Learn more about the Elks Lodge here.

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Broken Arrow

With its sweeping back and crazily pocked tail, this church looks more like a prowling animal than a building to me.  It’s so incredibly perfect in every detail.  I took the above images in 2014 before the botching began.  As you can see below, some dummy added a very insensitive copper roof to the front of the building, which closed as a church in 2001 and is now open as a wedding chapel.  Check out these photos from the Chapel on the Hill Facebook page:

Ugh!  That is so inappropriate, but it gets worse.  The owners have added a Tuscan gazebo outside to really jumble up the architectural style:

For good measure, here’s another one:

And look at how the interior is furnished:

I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  I just tell myself that all of this crap can be undone someday.

East Central High School, Tulsa

The photo above (from the newson6 website) doesn’t really show how incredible this structure is.  Go to Googlemaps and look around and you’ll see that this is truly an impressive structure.  The school opened in 1964 and is still serving the community today.

These are just a few examples of Ryan’s body of work.  If you know of others, please let me know and I will add them here.

We were very lucky, indeed, to have had such an agile mind working here in Oklahoma for so many years.  Now, it’s up to us to take care of the treasures he has left us.






Roadside Oklahoma Through the Eyes of John Margolies, Part 3

Posted by on Feb 7, 2018 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Photos by John Margolies courtesy of the Library of Congress.  Other photos by Lynne Rostochil unless otherwise stated.

This week, we wrap up our look at the Oklahoma roadside photography of John Margolies, whose nearly 12,000 photos can be found on the Library of Congress website.  We’ve finally made it to the S’s!


Sunset Motel, 1982

What a sign!!  Here’s what the motel itself looked like:

And here’s an ad for it that I found in Pinterest:

If this address is correct, the Sunset was located right by the Western Motel.

Western Motel, 1982

I really don’t know how this gem of a sign has managed to stay put all of these years, but it’s still around and looking mighty fine:


Beauty Shop, 1979

This shop was located along W. Farrell, and I believe the building is still there.  It’s been altered considerably, but those five little windows are the giveaway.

Hamburger Castle, 1982

How cute is this building?  The Hamburger Castle opened in 1949, and I believe it closed in the early ’70s when the owners opened Benton’s Cafe downtown.  Benton’s is still a hot spot in town, but I don’t think this building is still around.


Middle Path Cafe, 1979

This was located at 11th and Yale, and it doesn’t look like the building is there now.  There’s a gas station on the site now.

The Golden Driller, 1979

This Oklahoma icon was built in 1952 for the International Petroleum Exhibition and was dismantled and reassembled a couple of times until it was permanently installed in front of the Expo in 1966.  Since then, it has become an internationally recognized Route 66 icon.

Iceberg Restaurant, 1979

This is actually the Cave House, which was constructed in the 1920s as the Cave Garden Restaurant:

And here’s the home now:

(Last two images from the Cave House website.)

Industrial Tile Building, 1979

Does anyone know where this was located?

KTEW Studios, 1979

This bit of Art Deco fabulousness is alive and well and is now home to KRJH TV.

Rose Bowl, 1979

Designed by William Henry Ryan and constructed in 1962, the Googilicious Rose Bowl is one of the coolest pieces of architecture in T-Town, and that’s saying a lot because there’s a ton of amazing architecture there.  The bowling alley closed in 2005 and is now an events center.  New owners are raising funds to spruce up the building and sign.  You can go here to donate.

Here are some photos I’ve taken of the Rose Bowl over the years:

Swinney Hardware, 1995

Swinney’s was a fixture in Tulsa for over 70 years when it closed in 2008.  This fantastic sign was removed, and the building sat empty until it was purchased in 2016 with the intention of converting it into retail/restaurant space.  Does anyone know if this great sign was saved?

Tastee-Freez, 1979

Leo Moranz and Harry Axene opened the first Tastee-Freez in Illinois in 1950 and just seven years later, there were 1,800 stores nationwide.  There are just 50 locations left today, and this one located on E. 11th street is, unfortunately, not one of them.

Will Rogers Motor Court, 1979

Here’s what the motel looked like:

And here’s the site now.  You can read more about this lost Route 66 gem here.


Dairy Ice Cream, 1979

There’s not much left in tiny Verden, including this cute sign.


Dairy Bar, 1979

It looks like this place is still around and it’s known as Bubba’s Dairy Bar now.  If you look down the street and to the right in this Googlemaps image, you can see that the sign is still intact.  Here’s another image I found of the sign at


Dairy Boy, 1982

According to, Dairy Boy began popping up throughout rural Oklahoma beginning in 1957 and within just a few years, there were 162 locations throughout the state.  Now, there’s one in Minco and another in Okemah.


And that’s it for our tour of John Margolies’ Oklahoma images.  During his life, Margolies published several books of his photographs, and many Oklahoma images made the cut.  You can go here to purchase his books.  Also, these images I’ve shared with you are just a small smattering of his work.  If you’d like to check out more of his photos, make some popcorn and grab and drink because you’ll be camped out for a long time viewing them on the Library of Congress website.