Small Town Mod: Ada

text and photos by Lynne Rostochil

Last week, I told you about some of the great mid-century architecture Ray James designed in Ada, but while we were tooling around town, I noticed quite a few buildings he didn’t design that I thought you might like to see.  The downtown area contains quite a few interesting storefronts, including these next door neighbors designed by local architect, Monroe Parker:

Around the corner is the City Hall/Ada Police Station complex, which was designed by the OKC firm, Hudgins- Thompson-Ball (HTB) and constructed in 1963:

Love that concrete block!

Next up is the Central Fire Station, which was funded by Franklin Roosevelt’s Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (later the Public Works Administration) and built in 1938.  Ada architect Robert F. Ferguson designed this beauty:

Okay, it’s Art Deco and not mid-century modern, but this fire station definitely has the clean lines and subtle ornamentation that gives it a more modern feel, I think.  Besides, I really like it and am including it.  So there.

Here’s one of my very favorites, the Sugg Clinic designed by local architect, Albert Ross and built in 1947: 

I love every detail of this gorgeous, perfectly symmetrical Streamline Moderne gem, from the vertical embellishments on the front to the curved glass block windows on the sides.  It makes my heart skip a beat every time I see it.

Ada also boasts a few grocery store designs that harken back to the days of wood paneled station wagons and white-bread Muzak filling the air:

After shopping for cartloads of Spam and Tang, a weary mom might take her energetic tots to the local playground for some fun on the rocket slide (the slide part is gone now) and swing set:

Going back into downtown, you’ll find this mosaic on an old bank building that is now owned by the City of Ada and used as an annex:

Remnants of the original mid-century drive-thru remain, too:

Across the street stood another bank drive-thru designed by Robert Roloff, but it was demolished in 2009 — bummer.  Here’s a vintage image of what it looked like:

The downtown area isn’t the only part of Ada with good mid-century architecture.  Along with the geodesic Kerr Activity Center, the East Central University campus is home to this angular gem:

The Z-Tree Church of Christ Student Center is a crazy mix of lava rock framed by blue clerestory windows overlooking the school’s football field.  When Ray James and I were driving around the Kerr Activity Center and I mentioned that I liked this building, he said he thought that Tulsa architect, Bill Ryan designed it.  (If Ryan’s name sounds familiar, it might be because he was the creative brain behind Tulsa’s Rose Bowl and Immanuel Lutheran Church.)

Another Ryan design in town is this one for the First Lutheran Church.  Like its sister church (Immanuel Lutheran) in Tulsa, this beautiful chapel sits atop a hill overlooking rolling hills and creeks:

The residential area surrounding the town’s country club also contains some great mid-century ranch-style homes:

As you can see, Ada is well worth exploring for mid-century gems, so hop in your car on a beautiful fall weekend day and go check it out!