Our Favorite Mod Blogs of 2015
by Lynne Rostochil
Well, another year has flown by and many of us are taking a moment to reflect on the adventures, triumphs, failures, and challenges 2015 had to offer. In that vein, we thought we’d also look back on the year and pick our top 10 favorite Mod Blogs of 2015. Enjoy!
1. Okie Mod on the National Register: We didn’t realize how many great MCM properties have made it onto the National Register until we put this blog together. Over 50 buildings in Oklahoma have been recognized, and we hope that number will continue to grow as more people become aware of and appreciate our state’s architectural delights.
2. Penn Square: Oklahoma’s First Modern Shopping Mall: Many of you shared memories and even some of your personal photos of Penn Square, all of which made this one of our most fun and popular Mod Blogs ever.
3. The Funky Goodness of Tamac Pottery: It seems that everyone in Oklahoma has heard of Frankoma Pottery, but very few know of Perry-based Tamac Pottery. After seeing a few pieces at an antique mall this year, we immediately wanted to know more about the company and the designers who created this very unusual, amoeba-shaped dinnerware. It’s a little-known and fascinating story!
4. On the Market: A Mid-Mod Dream in Yukon: Another very popular Mod Blog was devoted to one of Oklahoma’s first examples of residential Modernism, the Harris House in Yukon. We wrote the blog as the home was coming on the market and, because it needed so much work, its future was quite uncertain. Thanks to a great realtor who appreciated the history and character of the home, so many enthusiastic admirers, and one couple who looked beyond the neglect and bad renovations and saw the beauty and potential of the home, I’m happy to report that the Harris House now has a new owner who is committed to reviving this masterpiece. I love a good story with a happy ending.
5. The Architecture of Fritzler-Knoblock: Who knew that so many great MCM medical buildings once existed near Baptist Hospital? Most of them were designed by Fritzler-Knoblock and Robyn (with the help of Knoblock’s daughter Kynda Knoblock Houara) did a great job of putting together a history of the firm and their projects.
6. Henry Kamphoefner series: A lucky find at an antique bookstore in Texas that mentioned Kamphoefner at OU led to this in-depth, four-part series about the architect’s years teaching at OU and how Bruce Goff arrived on the scene after WWII. This little-known chapter in Oklahoma’s architectural history was a lot of fun to research and write about, making this one of my personal favorites of the year.
7. Edgar Tafur and the Art of Mercy: Another of my personal favorite Mod Blogs told the story of the stunning art that is peppered throughout the original Mercy Hospital building on its current campus in NWOKC. If you haven’t been to Mercy to gawk at Tafur’s incredible work, you must add it to your list of things to do in 2016 — you won’t be disappointed, I promise.
8. Oklahoma State Lodges: The Fabulous Fountainhead: This was certainly the saddest blog of the year — I still can’t believe that such an amazing building with so much potential was so unceremoniously demolished. Sad, sad. We also wrote about Fountainhead’s sister lodge, Arrowhead, which is now a rehab facility run by the Church of Scientology.
9. The Architecture of Leslie G. Brauer: If you’ve driven through Chickasha and marveled at all of the MCM architecture there, you’ve likely been admiring the work of Leslie G. Brauer, a student of Goff’s at OU who spent his entire career in Chickasha and has left a very impressive body of work there.
10. On the Road: Encountering Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin: Robyn covered her fun road trip adventures in great detail for the Mod Squad in two posts, both of which are packed with photos and details that will make you want to hit the road yourself!