Mod Blog

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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Our Favorite Mod Blogs of 2016

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil

I don’t think that many of us are going to regret seeing the nuttiest year in memory, 2016, in our rearview mirror, but before we breathe a big sigh of relief and hope that 2017 will be kinder, it’s time to pick our favorite blogs of the year.  Here are our top 10 picks:

 

1. Mac Teague, the Sign Master: OKC has been home to some pretty fantastic signs over the years, and there was no better sign maker around that the very creative Mac Teague.  There’s so much great eye candy in this blog post that it makes me giddy!mac teague - drexel cleaners sign

2.  On the Road: the Johnson Wax Building and Wingspread: Robyn did a lot of travelling this year and shared her MCM architectural finds with us.  They were all vastly entertaining, but this one about FLW’s creations was tops!

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3.  In Search of George Nelson’s Kerr-McGee Gas Station: My favorite part of writing the Mod Blog is being able to learn something new, and that certainly happened with this post.  When Shane from Tulsa Modern emailed me from a lecture he was attending about George Nelson at the Palm Springs Modernism Week asking what I knew about a prototype of Nelson’s in OKC, I had no answers.  But a few hours of research resulted in a lot of long-forgotten information and photos from the OPUBCO collection at the History Center.

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4.  A Walk Through Time at the Festival of the Arts: A fun vintage photo flea market find was the impetus for this lively post on festivals of years past, and it was just in time for the 2016 edition, which was held back at the site of the first event in 1967.

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5. The Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center: A Magnificent Shrine: When I spotted the brochure featured in this post, I couldn’t wait to share it with the Mod Squad.  The colorful design and impeccable graphics make this one of the best items in my collection of ephemera and, from the feedback I received after posting it, many of you agreed.

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6.  The Oklahoma Modernism Weekend Mod Home Tour: Our first Oklahoma Modernism Weekend was a huge success, but my favorite part was definitely the Mod Home Tour.  Take just one look at this two-part blog post and you’ll see why.  By the way, we will be making an announcement about the 2017 Oklahoma Modernism Weekend soon!

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7.  Architectural Applications of Concrete in Buildings:  This was another post that received a lot of positive feedback, particularly because it features some very impressive architectural photography from around the country and includes several Oklahoma buildings.  It’s good stuff.

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8.  Celebrating 60 Years: A History of the First Christian Church:  For years, I’ve wanted to write a detailed and definitive history of the iconic First Christian Church and, earlier this year, I was given the opportunity to tell the story of the church for a Gazette article that was published just in time for the Oklahoma Modernism Weekend in May.  The problem was that they had a space limit and I had SO much more information than a mere 2,000 words would allow.  So, I expanded the article into a three-part Mod Blog and vomited out every last detail about the church’s history that I knew — it was one of those labor of love things that became even more important when it was announced this month that the 31.8 church campus is for sale as a “development opportunity.”

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9.  Charles Phoenix Bids Adieu to Charcoal Oven and More … I Know!  Another huge highlight of 2016 was when the King of Kitsch, Charles Phoenix came to OKC to say goodbye to one of our dearest institutions, the wonderfully stuck-in-a-time-warp Charcoal Oven.  He hosted a classic car night at the famous venue with what he called the best independent burger sign in the country, which is in safe hands, thank goodness.

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10.  The Founders District: A History of Mid-Century Modern Architecture: When I was asked to speak at Heritage Night for members of the Founders District, it was a great opportunity to talk about the original plan for the area and discuss some of the buildings that make up the district.  And, of course, I had to share all of that good stuff with the Mod Squad, too, which resulted in this post.

That’s it for the Top 10, but I do want to include a couple of the amazing homes that hit the market this year.  Thank you to all of the realtors and owners who invited me to photograph these incredible spaces:

The Byrd House

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The 222 Residence

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Kennedy House

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Ellis House

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Happy Holidays, Mod Squad Style — 2016

Posted by on Dec 25, 2016 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil

We are in the heart of the holidays and what better way to celebrate than with images of Christmases past.  I’ve been posting these in our Facebook group and thought I would collect all of the photos here in one place to keep you in the festive spirit.

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Holiday Shopping Guide 2016

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil

Round one of the holidays, Thanksgiving, is over and it’s time to start shopping in earnest for the perfect gift for the Mod lover(s) in your life … and maybe even a little bauble for yourself, too!  Here are some ideas you might want to consider:

1. Splurge on tile art

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One of my very favorite Etsy sellers is Jenn Ski Art, creator of the Mid-Century Modern Patterns coloring book that has had mod lovers breaking out their old boxes of Crayola crayons and reliving childhood coloring fun for a couple of years now.  This holiday season, Jenn has expanded her shop to include some pretty fabulous geometric art tiles that are incredibly fun and very atomic.  She also sells t-shirts, cards, and textiles in her signature mod style — fun stuff!  You can check out her goodies on Etsy at Jenn Ski Art.

2.  Feast on a new cookbook

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Who doesn’t love a good cookbook for the holidays?  This year, my pick is the reprint of Salvador Dali’s Les Diners de Gala, which is packed full of crazy recipes and even crazier art by the master himself.  I don’t know if I’ll ever try one of Dali’s outlandish recipes, but I will surely treasure the cookbook forever.  Bon appetite!

3.  Liven up your space

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Add color, texture, and pattern to your space with one of these fun, hand crafted pillows.  You can find them, along with all kinds of expertly curated decorative items, at Bella Vici  at 1 NE 2nd St., #103 in the Deep Deuce area.

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4.  Pick up a must-have

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Yes, the holiday season is the time to check items off of the “I’ve always wanted” list, and any true MCM lover without a bullet planter would certainly love having one of these brightly colored beauties that are for sale at Perch’d, located at 14 NW 9th Street in Automobile Alley.

5.  Encourage a little travel

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There’s nothing I love more than a good MCM travel guide, and I’ve got a bunch of them.  My latest addition is this gem by Sam Lubell, which provides information about 250 MCM homes and buildings along the West Coast.  Some are buildings we all know and love, but the author also profiles many that are off the beaten path.  The book includes handy maps, DIY tours, and lovely photography, along with recommendations of places to stay and eat.  It’s good stuff!

6.  Inspire the genealogist in your life

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If you have a friend or family member who loves genealogy, you can’t find a more perfect gift than a mod family tree from My Tree & Me.  There are several motifs to choose from, all of which would look great on any MCM lover’s wall.

7.  Bestow a trinket

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Jewelry always makes a girl happy, so why not get her a pair of artist Erin Merryweather’s beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind pair of earrings?  Erin’s creations are oh-so mod and fun and you can find them on her website and at these locally owned shops: Rosegold, Betsy King Shoes, [HIVE] at Untitled, and DNA Galleries.

8.  Become an architect (if you aren’t already one)

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For the wannabe architect in your life, why not splurge on the Lego Architecture Studio?  With over 1,200 pieces and an idea guide to get you started, this set promises hours of creative fun for all.

9.  Create a little holiday cheer

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There’s nothing that says “I love the holidays” more than a cheerful ornament, and there’s no better place than Art Fusion Studio, located at 1218 N. Western, to find unique glass pieces that are perfect for displaying all year long.

10.  Give the gift of OK mod

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For the first time, the Mod Squad has an entry in the holiday guide with a deck of collectible playing cards!  Each poker-sized card features a different MCM building in Oklahoma and you can use the cards for playing games (duh), for learning more about our state’s magnificent MCM architectural heritage, and for mapping out places to visit on your road trips throughout the state.  As if that weren’t enough, the uber talented Matt Goad designed the art for the card backs, and it’s some pretty amazing stuff!  These unique cards make the perfect affordable gift or a great stocking stuffer for the architecture lover in your life.

Decks are $17.00 each with tax and all proceeds will go to fund future Okie Mod Squad events, including the Oklahoma Modernism Weekend.  Supplies are limited, so pick up a pack — or two or three — at RetrOKC, Perch’d, or ReModernOK beginning this Saturday.  You can also order them online through Paypal — our account is okiemodsquad@gmail.com.  If you want your cards shipped, there is an additional $2 fee and be sure to provide a good address.  Cards will be shipped the next business day after payment is received.

… and to wrap up all of your goodies,

 

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you need some great holiday paper like the pattern above by Clint Stone.  Once again this year, Wrap Up Homelessness is offering papers by local artists and all proceeds will support the Curbside Chronicle.  So, support a great cause and get some nifty wrapping paper all at once!  You can find the paper at Blue Seven, A Date with Iris, Collected Thread, OKCMOA, and other local retailers (for a complete list of retailers, check out the Wrap Up Homelessness website above).

 

 

 

On the Market: The Iconic First Christian Church

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Mod Blog | No Comments

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil.

First Christian Church

With a congregation that has dwindled considerably over the last 15 years, it was no huge surprise to hear that the beloved First Christian Church complex is on the market for a whopping $8.2 million.  The price includes all 31.8 acres of land, the main church buildings (sanctuary, education building, Jewel Box theater), the former William Alexander Youth Center (now home to Trinity School), and the nearby administration building.

John Malget, pastor of the church, hopes that a new owner will buy the property and love it as much as they have for the last 60 years.  Fingers crossed that happens.

We will keep you posted on the sale.  In the meantime, here’s a story that Lacey Lett of KFOR did on the sale:

Landmark First Christian Church unsure about future after land goes up for sale

And here’s the listing with ominous wording about development opportunities for the land:

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On the Market: The Innovative Nuway Cleaners Building

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Mod Blog | No Comments

by Lynne Rostochil.  Photos by Charlie Merida and Lynne Rostochil.  (Charlie’s are the lighter images and Lynne’s are the darker ones.)

 

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One of OKC’s most interesting buildings has hit the market for the first time in nearly 20 years.  The old Nuway Cleaners building at NW 31st and May was a rare multi-use project when it was constructed in 1953.  Designed by Hudgins Thompson & Ball, who were working the Northwest Shopping Center across the street at the same time, the Nuway Cleaners building included a laundromat on the ground floor (which later became the Granada Florist space and is now about to open as an antique store):

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Love those slanted windows that let in so much great light:

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And the Roman brick is pretty cool, too:

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The design boasted a revolutionary concept at the time, drive-thru drop off and pick up bays for the cleaners, one of which was so popular that it’s still in use today by Nuway’s successor, Metro Cleaners:

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The bay closest to May is no longer in use and would be a great space for a sno-cone stand or to-go food place:

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This little booth also contains its own safe…

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… and a vented gas heater that looks like it’s been there since Day 1:

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HearthGlo Matic … you’ve got to love that!

In addition to the commercial space, the building includes nine cozy and comfy apartments upstairs and away from the busy street that surround a fun common area:

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How cool is that floating roof?

Some of the units are one bedroom and others are two.  Charlie and I photographed a two-bedroom unit with a lot of original details:

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Pink bathroom alert!

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Cute, cute kitchen:

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Outside, some of the original signage remains, making this building a favorite for photographers around the city, including me.  Here are a few of the images I’ve taken of this very photogenic building over the years:

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The upper story of the cleaners was originally all glass, as you can see in this photo from the 1956 brochure we posted on the Mod Blog a few weeks ago:

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Apparently, the windows broke after an especially rough storm and the Nuway owners bricked in the upper story to avoid future problems:

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How cool would it be to open up those walls again and have the upper level be a loungy bar or restaurant … or even an apartment?

Yes, this building has a ton of potential and if you have a million ideas like I do of things to do with this Metro mid-century modern icon, this might be just the development opportunity for you.  The owner’s granddaughter, Courtney Thanphachanh (and I thought my last name was a challenge!), is the realtor for the listing, which is on the market for $650,000, and would be thrilled to see this beloved property realize its maximum potential.  Call her at 437-5468 with inquiries and you can find the listing here.