(Photo by Bob Hawks, from the TFA Archives, circa 1969)
It appears the Old City Hall and Francis Campbell City Council Building may avoid the wrecking ball after all. If you’ve seen the article in today’s Tulsa World, you already know that the Snyder family, who we have to thank for the renovation of The Mayo Hotel, has made an offer to purchase the Old City Hall building as well as the City Council Building with plans to convert the Old City Hall into a hotel and the Council Building into a restaurant. This is such great news as Preservation Oklahoma named the entire Civic Center Plaza one of Oklahoma’s most endangered places just last week. If the Snyder’s plan becomes a reality it will be a huge success story for historic preservation in Tulsa as well as another indication that downtown is headed in the right direction. The Snynder’s desire to renovate these mid-century buildings, rather than demolish them and start over, speaks volumes about how far preservation in Tulsa has come. It is easy to recognize the importance of a building like the Mayo Hotel, but it takes tremendous vision and an understanding of Tulsa’s history to WANT to renovate a building like the Old City Hall, a building that so many people love to hate. Which is not to say it is not equally important as the Mayo Hotel or any of our art deco buildings, because it is just as important. And the fact that a proven developer, such as the Snyders, recognizes this is very encouraging for Tulsa’s modern architecture and downtown.