Our Favorite Mod Blogs of 2016
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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: