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Historic Treasure: Boulder on the Park

Boulder on the Park is a classic Tulsa building, from its distinctive Art Deco appearance — complete with glass-block accents, a striking color scheme, and small octagonal window details — to its origins as an educational facility funded by Waite Phillips, W.G. Skelly and other important oil barons.

Built in 1923 to house classrooms, a shop, gym, auditorium, lab and offices for Holland Hall School, Boulder on the Park got its name and its signature “Art Moderne” look when KTUL bought it and remodeled it for use as AM radio studios from 1947 to 1955. KTUL bought the building at 1859 S. Boulder Ave. — just across from Veterans’ Park — from Aero Exploration Company, which owned it from 1938 until the radio station purchased it and remodeled it.

You can see a picture of Boulder on the Park’s original appearance here. In its original incarnation, it was a pretty standard institutional building — brick facade, sturdy, respectable, but not particularly striking. It was a school, and it looked more or less like any other school of its day.

Here is what it looked like after KTUL repurposed it:

(Photo courtesy of The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.)

And here it is now:

Quite a structure, isn’t it? The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 2, 2003. It is located within walking distance of River Parks and the popular Blue Rose Cafe. With its graceful Moderne lines and soft blue accents, Boulder on the Park holds its own among Tulsa’s prettiest architectural gems.

While you’re in town to explore Tulsa’s historic treasures, why not make a weekend of it? Grab a camera, book yourself a room at The Campbell Hotel — which is also on the National Register — and surround yourself with history. Spend a day photographing National Register properties and an evening exploring Tulsa’s vibrant (and historic) Blue Dome District, then wander down Route 66 to the Campbell to curl up under soft, fluffy blankets in a 1927 room with luxurious modern amenities and enjoy the creature comforts of the city’s newest and best boutique hotel as you dream of the long-ago travelers who once tiptoed over the hardwood floors and whispered down the corridors outside your room.

To book your room at The Campbell Hotel, call (918) 744-5500 or visit www.thecampbellhotel.com.

(Source: Tulsa Preservation Commission.)

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