Tulsa lost a piece of its history a few years ago when the Camelot Hotel was demolished.
The spectacular tribute to Arthurian legend was built in 1965, just five years after the musical Camelot opened on Broadway and two years before the film version of the musical was released. John F. Kennedy’s presidency was sometimes referred to as “Camelot,” and in the wake of his assassination, Americans couldn’t get enough of the medieval metaphor. Castle-shaped architecture became popular, and Camelot-themed businesses became profitable.
Tulsa’s version was a pink, eight-story behemoth at the intersection of Peoria Avenue and I-44, which carried Route 66 through town during the fabled highway’s later years. The hotel featured a turret, moat, drawbridge, iron gates and extensive castle-themed decor. During the 1960s, it was a popular spot for Sunday brunch, and its lounge was the place to see and be seen, but competition from newer hotels dimmed some of its lustre in the 1970s, and the oil bust of the 1980s didn’t do the Camelot any favors. By the early ’90s, it was a shadow of its former self, and it eventually closed.
A Transcendental Meditation group bought the property in 1993 with the intent of turning it into a meditation center, but those plans never materialized, and in 1996, the city condemned the property, citing various health and safety violations. The building sat empty and continued to decline for more than a decade before being demolished in 2007.
This video by FOX23 provides a glimpse of the Camelot’s history:
Here at the Campbell, we have a soft spot for long-neglected hotels. After all, it hasn’t been too long since the Max Campbell Building sat empty. Had it not been purchased by caring owners who were willing to invest the time, money and effort to bring it back to its former glory, it very well might have gone the way of the Camelot.
As restoration work began on the Campbell, it seemed only fitting to honor the memory of another historic hotel with our Camelot Room, which features a regal motif and a luxurious canopy bed fit for a king.
To book a night in our Camelot Room, call us at (918) 744-5500 or visit www.thecampbellhotel.com and ask to reserve Room 220.
Historic images courtesy of The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.