Four Historic Art Deco Buildings Preserved

GTR Media Group photo
MORROW GEOPHYSICAL BULDING: The long streamline art deco building at 3345 S. Harvard Ave was built in 1948 and was originally called the Morrow Geophysical Building. This photo shows the entrance to the elongated structure.

In reviewing the many Tulsa buildings about which I’ve written, I’ve found four art deco structures that were not addressed and deserve attention in this column: The Mayo Motor Inn, La Maison, the Morrow Geophysical Building and the Midwest Equitable Meter Co. Building. These buildings were constructed in the later years of the art deco popularity which began in the boomtown years of the 1920s.

The Mayo Motor Inn at 416 S. Cheyenne Ave. was built in 1950 as a covered parking amenity for tthe Mayo Hotel. The architectural firm of this small two level parking garage was Leon B. Senter and Associates. At the center of the east façade was originally a control office which serves now as a small retail shop with main vehicle in and out entrances on either side. Corners of this shop are rounded in a streamlined manner and balanced by a tall art deco neon sign centered above. The buildings exterior is finished in a smooth white stucco punctuated with upper-level black steel casement windows. The north elevation is highlighted by a large painted mural sponsored by “Film/Music/Arts/Culture”.

La Maison at 1736 E. 11th St. was originally a small dry cleaners’ establishment. Today it houses a custom lamp and lighting company. The ground floor is faced in terra cotta tile and orangish tan brick. At the second floor the exterior has been refinished in cream colored stucco. The north elevation, the main front, is a series of Tudor arched storefronts with black marble bases and dark blue stained-glass transoms and sidelights. The arches are framed in terra cotta.

The long streamline art deco building at 3345 S. Harvard Ave. was built in 1948 and was originally called the Morrow Geophysical Building. A massive stucco fascia emphasizes its long one-story look and is augmented by a bright horizontal painted stripe located directly below the fascia’s soffit. The rest of the exterior is finished in two colors of stucco with strongly rounded north and south corners. A massive semi-circular arch frames the main entrance and was probably the product of a later remodel. After it’s Morrow Geophysical era, the building was the headquarters for Tulsa’s American Red Cross. After some subsequent changes in ownership, it was purchased by its current owners and is occupied by Tulsa Spine and Rehab, Midtown Dentistry, and Cannon Oral Surgery. A spacious centered lobby runs east and west thru the building to front and rear parking. Little of the original interior remains.

A review of the fourth building, the Midwest Equitable Meter Company concludes this column. It is now located at 3130 Charles Page Blvd. in Tulsa’s west industrial district which has seen more prosperous days, the building was built in 1929. It was the work of architectural firm Rush Endicott and Rush and designer Bruce Goff. This architectural firm was responsible for the Page Van Lines Building, the Tulsa Club Building, The Guarantee Laundry Building, and the Spotlight Theater Building. The Boston Avenue Church Building which also received the input of RER opened the same year.

The building’s exterior is an interplay of two colors of brick utilizing alternate courses of corbeling and 2 ½ courses of soldier brick to form a fascia. The structure’s footprint is a narrow rectangle with a series of tall windows (now boarded up) at the long sides. A V-shaped parapet crowned with a pointed stone block featuring, in raised letters, Midwest Equitable Meter Company highlights a small single door main entrance.