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  1. #201

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by okcsince1987 View Post
    I haven't posted anything here in a few years. But from time to time I pop in and look over stuff that interests me. I've since moved to Dallas, then to Reno, back to OKC, and finally (hopefully for good) to Dallas. Anyway, I know this is off topic but I'm wondering if anyone knows just how tall the Biltmore Hotel was that was demolished in OKC... ? I've read some stuff that said it was 26 stories but doesn't specify the building's height.

    Also, yeah... the downtown could use some lighting up to make it look more lively. I absolutely hate admitting Tulsa looks good. Ugh. Idk how. We're so much bigger and successful. It confuses me.
    245 ft (75 m) - 26 stories - 619 rooms

    Source (#40-Sheraton-Oklahoma Hotel): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...shed_buildings

    Nine of the Most Beautiful Buildings We Ever Razed - OKC Edition: http://newsok.com/article/3935152

  2. #202

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Thank you. I think I saw that and converted the meters to feet but I wasn't entirely sure.

  3. #203

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    From Wikipedia:

    Oklahoma

    The Oklahoma Biltmore in Oklahoma City was an unassociated hotel that once stood downtown, at 228 West Grand Avenue. It was built in 1932 during the Great Depression by the city's prominent civic leaders at the time, headed by Charles F. Colcord. Designed by architects Hawk & Parr, the Biltmore had 619 rooms and was 24 stories high, making it the state's second tallest building only to the Ramsey Tower built in 1931, when it was completed. In 1936 alone, the Biltmore was headquarters for 104 conventions and saw 114,171 guests. After a $3 million renovation in the mid-1960s the Biltmore was renamed the Sheraton-Oklahoma Hotel. By 1973, the hotel had left Sheraton, and the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority agreed with the owners that the Biltmore had outlived its useful life. In contrast, architect I.M. Pei had envisioned keeping the hotel, and his sketches and models all showed the tower overlooking the surrounding "Tivoli Gardens". The hotel was one of the largest demolitions in the country at the time it was blown up on October 16, 1977 by a team of demolition specialists to make way for the "Myriad Gardens". Hundreds of low-yield explosives were planted throughout the building so that it would collapse and fall inward into an acceptable area only slightly larger than the hotel's foundation.[17][18]

  4. Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    From Wikipedia:

  5. #205

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    No reason to at just that just for being wikipedia. The page where that quote is from appears to be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowman...otels#Oklahoma, and it has citations for the data (http://www.okhistory.org/research/hm...&action=Search and The Vanished Splendor: Postcard Views of Oklahoma City). Wikipedia, always look at the citations.

    Now, I might myself at it for a different reason since whoever added the text appears to have directly plagiarized those sources, but that is a separate issue from whether the information is reliable.

  6. Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by David View Post
    No reason to at just that just for being wikipedia. The page where that quote is from appears to be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowman...otels#Oklahoma, and it has citations for the data (http://www.okhistory.org/research/hm...&action=Search and The Vanished Splendor: Postcard Views of Oklahoma City). Wikipedia, always look at the citations.

    Now, I might myself at it for a different reason since whoever added the text appears to have directly plagiarized those sources, but that is a separate issue from whether the information is reliable.
    The sad face was meant for the demolition of the builtmore. I intended to quote the whole text, not just "from wikipedia"

  7. #207

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Oh, haha, okay.

  8. #208

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    These recent posts got me to thinking about the Biltmore so I did an image search. Since there's also a really crappy hotel in OKC that's also called Biltmore, I got several photos of gross crap that people found while staying there.

    Anyway, I found this old photo of the Biltmore that we're talking about. It's from the Oklahoman. I just find it real interesting to look at these old photos and see how dense our downtown used to be. I believe this photo is looking south.



    Also, notice the lack of superblocks. I know we can't do anything about the Myriad gardens (nor should we) but I hope that we can restore the street grid when it's time to get rid of the Cox Convention Center. Also, there's no reason for the block to the west of the Myriad Gardens to be a superblock either. And you might as well consider the block Devon is on a superblock. There's no reason to drive on Harvey south of Park unless you're going into one of the parking garages at Devon. I just feel that superblocks are bad for traffic (whether pedestrian or auto), they aren't on a human scale and they aren't friendly to people trying to get around the city (especially visitors).

  9. #209

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Man, I look at the density, the architecture and the streetwalls in that old photo and it puts me on the verge of tears. To think of what we had and lost...

    And then I think about it again. Would all of those old, small buildings really be economically viable in 2017? Would there be literally hundreds, if not thousands of small businesses willing to set up shop in all those spaces? There is a lot of downtown St. Louis that still looks like that, and, with the exception of the "artistic-type" blocks that are well gentrified, many of the buildings are either underutilized or out-and-out vacant. I used to wonder, when I worked in Downtown St. Louis, which is so averse to tearing anything down, which is the greater error? A historically intact, beautiful but under-utilized downtown, or a partially-razed, rebuilt and at-least-on-the-surface-of-things, more thriving area? Obviously there's a happy medium. But it doesn't make it any easier to look at photos like that one...

  10. #210

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    same can be said about streetcar, regarding had but lost...

  11. #211

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    These recent posts got me to thinking about the Biltmore so I did an image search. Since there's also a really crappy hotel in OKC that's also called Biltmore, I got several photos of gross crap that people found while staying there.

    Anyway, I found this old photo of the Biltmore that we're talking about. It's from the Oklahoman. I just find it real interesting to look at these old photos and see how dense our downtown used to be. I believe this photo is looking south.



    Also, notice the lack of superblocks. I know we can't do anything about the Myriad gardens (nor should we) but I hope that we can restore the street grid when it's time to get rid of the Cox Convention Center. Also, there's no reason for the block to the west of the Myriad Gardens to be a superblock either. And you might as well consider the block Devon is on a superblock. There's no reason to drive on Harvey south of Park unless you're going into one of the parking garages at Devon. I just feel that superblocks are bad for traffic (whether pedestrian or auto), they aren't on a human scale and they aren't friendly to people trying to get around the city (especially visitors).
    Seeing that picture almost makes one sick at their stomach. What OKC once had and was like and all lost. My best friend that I taught with for 30 yrs before he moved to the Oklahoma History Center, he has since passed away nearly 8 years ago, we used to refer to Urban Renewal here as, "the rape of Oklahoma City".

  12. #212

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    I M Pead or I am Peed!

  13. #213

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    To be fair to Pei, his plans didn't call for the Biltmore to be torn down. I don't know what city leaders were thinking. Maybe they got overzealous with Pei's plan to tear down some buildings and just thought, "Let's tear everything down." Who knows.

    It also brings up another interesting question; if Pei's plan had come to fruition, would we still want it today or would we be looking to tear down the Pei buildings? I know in the '60s and '70s that new was in and old was out but we were basically tearing down some classic, old buildings to make way for a bunch of buildings in the Logan's Run style of architecture. I just don't think we would want to be living in 2017 in a Logan's Run style downtown. I think it's best it never got built. But I hate that it tore down much of our downtown and left it with a bunch of empty parcels and surface parking lots.

  14. Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    These recent posts got me to thinking about the Biltmore so I did an image search. Since there's also a really crappy hotel in OKC that's also called Biltmore, I got several photos of gross crap that people found while staying there.

    Anyway, I found this old photo of the Biltmore that we're talking about. It's from the Oklahoman. I just find it real interesting to look at these old photos and see how dense our downtown used to be. I believe this photo is looking south.


    Much of that area to the south of the biltmore is where the new park is being constructed. If you look closely enough, you can see Union Station in the top left corner. My whole life that area has been a wasteland. Amazing to see what was there not too long ago.

  15. Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    I am very happy to have these old photos but its more heartbreaking to look at than to know that someone took time to make the Notebook. Quite a melancholy feeling.

  16. #216
    2Lanez Guest

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by stlokc View Post
    Man, I look at the density, the architecture and the streetwalls in that old photo and it puts me on the verge of tears. To think of what we had and lost...

    And then I think about it again. Would all of those old, small buildings really be economically viable in 2017? Would there be literally hundreds, if not thousands of small businesses willing to set up shop in all those spaces? There is a lot of downtown St. Louis that still looks like that, and, with the exception of the "artistic-type" blocks that are well gentrified, many of the buildings are either underutilized or out-and-out vacant. I used to wonder, when I worked in Downtown St. Louis, which is so averse to tearing anything down, which is the greater error? A historically intact, beautiful but under-utilized downtown, or a partially-razed, rebuilt and at-least-on-the-surface-of-things, more thriving area? Obviously there's a happy medium. But it doesn't make it any easier to look at photos like that one...
    Are the two options mutually exclusive? Had whole blocks not been demolished, surely some would be vacant today. But that doesn't mean we're better off having knocked all of them down.
    Last edited by 2Lanez; 04-27-2017 at 10:27 AM. Reason: grammar

  17. #217

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    2Lanez, you're exactly right. They are not mutually exclusive and it's too bad that more care wasn't taken to preserve our built environment. It's not the monumental structures, Devon etc., that make a city, it's the block by block working spaces that define its character.

  18. #218

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by stlokc View Post
    2Lanez, you're exactly right. They are not mutually exclusive and it's too bad that more care wasn't taken to preserve our built environment. It's not the monumental structures, Devon etc., that make a city, it's the block by block working spaces that define its character.
    While I'm a lover of monumental structures/tall buildings, you are dead on right about the block to block working spaces that define and make the character of a city. Kudos to Dan Krutka, because that is what he is always saying about infill building.

  19. #219

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross MacLochness View Post
    My whole life that area has been a wasteland. Amazing to see what was there not too long ago.
    Same with me. And wasteland is a perfect way to describe it.

  20. #220

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by SOONER8693 View Post
    While I'm a lover of monumental structures/tall buildings, you are dead on right about the block to block working spaces that define and make the character of a city. Kudos to Dan Krutka, because that is what he is always saying about infill building.
    Which brings up another thing about that picture. There was no wasted space. Plazas became a big deal in the '70s. You can see it on what used to be the Myriad. Especially before the extra convention space was added onto the north side of it. You can see it on Leadership Square. Cotter Ranch. You can see it on the drawings of the Pei Plan. I thought we were over plazas and that's why I hate to see one on the new BOK building. They're always drawn or shown in the plans with lots of use and people milling around and hanging out in the plaza but it never happens that way IRL. The Leadership Square plaza is a barren wasteland. Plazas have terrible street interaction.

  21. #221

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Oklahoma City was built on a human scale for the oldest form of transportation in human history - walking. Once the city started to be redesigned around the automobile, it went to crap. Fortunately, things are moving in the right direction, but with a pseudo-commitment to urban design on a human scale. There is still too much weight given to cars.

  22. #222

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by dankrutka View Post
    Oklahoma City was built on a human scale for the oldest form of transportation in human history - walking. Once the city started to be redesigned around the automobile, it went to crap. Fortunately, things are moving in the right direction, but with a pseudo-commitment to urban design on a human scale. There is still too much weight given to cars.
    That's correct. At one time before the Pei plan you could do and walk to just about anything in the downtown area. It was a city. Then came ghost town.

  23. #223

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Pei's plan more or less built around the automobile. From what I can tell by looking at pictures and plans, it appears his planned called for wide streets and boulevards. It doesn't look all that pedestrian friendly.

  24. #224

    Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Pete, if I'm taking this thread too far off topic, feel free to move these posts.

    I found this article which I thought had some interesting things in it. I thought this was of particular interest:

    This morning, I read this old article at OKC Central about a architecture critic’s visit to Oklahoma City and comments on the City’s efforts back in the 1960s through 1980s with interest.

    ...on the quality of the setbacks and plazas surrounding downtown office buildings, is the influence of architectural trends and the general lack of urban understanding. Simply put: a good architect does not necessarily equate to a good urbanist. In fact, many renowned architects are very poor urbanists with destructive tendencies when given an opportunity to work at too great a scale.

  25. Default Re: Cotter Ranch Tower

    Quote Originally Posted by traxx View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Pei's plan more or less built around the automobile. From what I can tell by looking at pictures and plans, it appears his planned called for wide streets and boulevards. It doesn't look all that pedestrian friendly.
    I think there were planned pedestrian areas surrounded by big garages and wide boulevards ala the remaining CBD stock flanked by Santa Fe & KerrMcGee garages and EK Gaylord.

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