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Thread: Myriad Gardens

  1. #26

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    I want to know if the glass, tubular bridge designed my IM Pei has a placard commemorating him or not? If it does, I say remove it and throw it in the dumpster. Now THAT would be a nice makeover for the gardens.

  2. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Your judgment of I.M. Pei, while understood, may also involve some classic mythology over what he did and didn't do. He's often blamed for the worst sins of Urban Renewal. But truth be told, there are some things he had no involvement with: the destruction of the Huckins and Biltmore hotels were not his ideas. Further, city leaders ignored his warning not to tear out Main Street without having a new home for retail established first.
    As for the gardens... I.M. Pei designed the concept, but actual architectural work was done by Conklin & Rossant

  3. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by TaurusNYC View Post
    So now the Myriad Gardens are going to have everything that was supposed to go in the new Central Park: Fountains, pool, skating rink, children's area, great lawn, amphitheater, and restaurants. Won't the Central Park just be redundant? Why not make the Myriad Gardens a garden and leave all the other stuff for the Central Park? Will Maps 3 be a harder sell if the public sees that all those amenities promised for the new park will already be incorporated in the Myriad Gardens?
    What, so we can't have fountains in more than one park??

    A lot of elements were suggested for the new central park--a lot more than could possibly fit in it. Putting some of them in the Myriad Gardens is a good idea. I doubt there will be redundancies, except maybe a grand lawn type thing.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

  4. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Understand the redundancy point, and it may be valid to some extent (at least regarding perception to some voters...that is something that will have to be overcome by the "education" of the voters). Heck, there are some that think the MAPS 3 park and the Myriad Gardens are the same thing anyway (or at least connected, but they are separated by a City block). Even if some elements are redundant, think it will be more of a scale issue than anything else (for example, Myriad "grand lawn" is more intimate at 5,000 while the MAPS 3 one is 15,000 or 50,000 (not sure which number is right, both are stuck in my head and can't locate the source that said...anyone have info?).

  5. #30

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Another new photo, courtesy of Steve's OKC Central blog:


  6. #31

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by metro View Post
    Another new photo, courtesy of Steve's OKC Central blog:

    If all this turns out the way it has been drawn up, I anticipate many, many walks along the Garden sidewalks.

  7. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    I hope it's not that flat though. There needs to be some topography to the park. Otherwise that much space is going to be windy as hell.

  8. #33

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    I hope it's not that flat though. There needs to be some topography to the park. Otherwise that much space is going to be windy as hell.
    It is true that the wind in the summer is usually from the south (I think). But, I'd rather have a little wind than have the park hidden from view by faux Native American burial mounds. This is the only part of the country I've ever lived in that creates terrain, and landscapers around here could use a lesson in natural terrain. I think the berm concept has to go.

  9. #34

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Here's that large rendering from the paper that Steve mentioned:


  10. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Pete, I was thrilled for readers when I opened the paper that morning and saw it blown up to half the page... I have a great, great editor. The best in all my 20 years at the paper.

  11. #36

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by FritterGirl View Post
    Partially true!


    And for the love of all things sacred, please don't call the Crystal Bridge "the TUBE!!!!!!!!"
    For my money, calling it the "tube' is being very nice. Never been in it, never will be in it. Too many historical properties were destroyed so we could have a tube!

    Urban renewal was a disaster, IMO.

  12. #37

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    but, but, but, it's a really nice tube!

    And it's lovely inside the tube too.

    All hail the tube!

    Hmmm, wonder if Steve could finagle a second webcam and mount it on the tiipytop of the north end of the tube once the risers start going up across the way.

  13. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Over the past few weeks it seems as if I've spent more time negotiating and finding solutions, etc., in regard to a webcam than actual reporting. I promise all of you, I know what you want, I want the same thing, and I'm doing everything possible to make it happen.

  14. #39

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by phinzup View Post
    For my money, calling it the "tube' is being very nice. Never been in it, never will be in it. Too many historical properties were destroyed so we could have a tube!

    Urban renewal was a disaster, IMO.
    In all honesty, the Crystal Bridge is a pretty nice facility and one of the city's better tourist attractions. And in all honesty most of the structures that were where Myriad Gardens is now weren't very significant. Urban Renewal had its negatives but it wasn't all bad. A lot of the structures removed by Urban Renewal were pretty blighted at the end of their lives. All people seem to remember is what these structures were like in their hey day. Take The Criterion Theatre for example, it may had been nice at one time (those are the only pictures most see of it) but when it was removed it was pretty run down and deteriorating. Just look at the shape the Belle Isle Powerplant was in when it was removed. Many downtown buildings were in similar conditions.

  15. #40

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by phinzup View Post
    For my money, calling it the "tube' is being very nice. Never been in it, never will be in it. Too many historical properties were destroyed so we could have a tube!

    Urban renewal was a disaster, IMO.
    Yes, I'd much rather have the Biltmore highrise and that whole block of buildings back then have that stupid tube thing.

  16. #41

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    The Biltmore would have made a great condo conversion with awesome views.

  17. #42
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    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    There was no demand (paying demand) that made economic sense to retrofit the Biltmore. That street and area had gotten really seedy with some flop houses and vacant buildings. Biltmore was not well used for its last 15-20 years of its life.

    It is easy to want things to be preserved, but someone has to pay for it. You can't MAKE the owners do it and we see how people don't want the city to pay for anything.

  18. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by phinzup View Post
    For my money, calling it the "tube' is being very nice. Never been in it, never will be in it. Too many historical properties were destroyed so we could have a tube!

    Urban renewal was a disaster, IMO.
    Forgive me, but this is a comment that falls more into urban mythology than factual history. I don't blame you for thinking this - it's what I was raised to believe as well.
    Many sins can be pinned to the legacy of Urban Renewal - the destruction of the Baum Building, the Warner theater and Criterion were needless travesties where structures of far less consequence were built in their place.
    BUT.....
    I don't know of any significant historic properties torn down to make way for the Myriad Gardens. The only truly historic property on that block was the Biltmore (the rest of it was low-rise used furniture stores and pawn shops). Drawings by I.M. Pei called for the Biltmore to be an integral part of the gardens. You can see evidence of this in my book OKC Second Time Around. The Biltmore was a victim of being owned by out-of-state interests who gave up on it being a viable ongoing business.
    After much research into this matter, I will tell you that even today renovation of such a structure, with low floor to ceiling heights and reinforced concrete construction, would be very very daunting and expensive. And should it have survived, I could argue the odds would have higher against the Skirvin being revived (split up resources, the Skirvin wouldn't have been so unique, etc).
    I say all this to argue the following: the Crystal Bridge, in my opinion as a historian of downtown, is one of Urban Renewal's triumphs, and not a failure. I don't think it's fair to let Urban Renewal's sins cast a shadow on this iconic landmark's legacy or its long-term potential.

  19. #44

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    I understand what you're saying, Rover, I just don't totally agree. I read somewhere (sorry, can't cite, so sue me) but they actually considered tearing down First National Tower some years ago. It was/is obsolete, but the answer is never to just tear stuff down that is so architectually important to the city. OKcity was set back 50 years architecturally because of Urban Renewal. I mean come on... even the Skirvin was threatened by the wrecking ball. And yes, you can prevent the owners from tearing down historic buildings. Historically significant structures "belong" to the city, not the individual owners. Short sightedness is why downtown OKcity is filled with swaths of surface parking lots instead of revamped, beautiful, historic buildings.

  20. #45

    Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    ...Steve is right. I saw drawing of the Pei Plan, and the Biltmore was still clearly included in that plan.

  21. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Ironically Doug has more of the renderings from my book scanned in than I do, so maybe he'll post it.

  22. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by ronronnie1 View Post
    I understand what you're saying, Rover, I just don't totally agree. I read somewhere (sorry, can't cite, so sue me) but they actually considered tearing down First National Tower some years ago. It was/is obsolete, but the answer is never to just tear stuff down that is so architectually important to the city. OKcity was set back 50 years architecturally because of Urban Renewal. I mean come on... even the Skirvin was threatened by the wrecking ball. And yes, you can prevent the owners from tearing down historic buildings. Historically significant structures "belong" to the city, not the individual owners. Short sightedness is why downtown OKcity is filled with swaths of surface parking lots instead of revamped, beautiful, historic buildings.

    I know of no consideration at any point to tear down First National Tower... but... properties that were eyed include Robinson Renassiance, the Colcord and the Skirvin.

  23. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Brzycki View Post
    Here's that large rendering from the paper that Steve mentioned:
    The location of the Tower relative to the Colcord is WAY off in that drawing. I'm not sure if the Tower is in the wrong place or if the Colcord is rendered too small/too far away.
    Don't Edmond My Downtown

  24. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    The items below are contained in this March 2008 blog article at Doug Dawgz Blog: Myriad Gardens and/or in this Okc Postcards article, Doug Dawgz Blog: OKC Postcards ...

    When officially announced in 1972, a June 2 Oklahoma Journal ran this article:

    $17 Million People's Park Plan Unveiled

    Perhaps the most imaginative dream for a people's park in the heart of a large American city was unveiled Thursday as the plan for Oklahoma City's Myriad Gardens. Local officials say they hope to reach for the stars and have most of the park finished by 1976.
    * * *
    Everything from a children's zoo to an ice skating pond and including a 30 foot deep canyon, a two-acre lake, botanical gardens, a sports hall of fame, a classic car museum, arts and science centers, a planetarium, a cluster of restaurants and movie houses, museums and a new Main Library for Oklahoma City is included in the Gardens plan.
    * * *
    A Phase Two plan for the gardens will extend east to Shartel and triple the park's size to a total of 33 acres.

    The image which accompanied the article showed the Gardens as looking like this:

    Click on images below for larger

    As it appeared in Oklahoma Journal



    My colorized image



    Of course, it didn't turn out that way. The money wasn't there to do it. But, as you can see, both the Biltmore Hotel (shown as Hotel Oklahoma) and the Tivoli Inn (originally, the Oklahoma Club but renamed by a new owner to match what was earlier thought to become the garden's original name, the Oklahoma Tivoli Gardens) were marked for preservation.

    Among other things that didn't happen with the plan, note the location of a new downtown library in the southwest corner.

    The Oklahoma Club/Tivoli Inn (if preserved, better it would be were it shorn of its false exterior that the new owner put on it) was also a building worth preserving, in my opinion.

    Click on the image for a larger view...

    The 1922 Oklahoma Club Building from Vanished Splendor (I)



    It was sold in 1961-1962 or so. Below is an ad from a 1961 Oklahoman:

    Larger image not available



    The image below is from the County Assessor's website, showing the changes made by the new owner:

    Larger image not available



    Inside the botanical tube on the north end, 1st level, is a meeting and history area where photographs and other stuff show historical developments. I took the photo below of a photo displayed there, and, at that time, the Tivoli Inn was still in place, although the Biltmore was gone.

    Click on image for larger



    Another photo in the history area in the Botanical tube is the 1960 downtown aerial shown below ... look closely and you'll see a gold border which marks off the then proposed park ...

    Click on image for larger or click here for MUCH larger (it may not open in Firefox for reasons I don't know) ...




    A cropped portion of the above which focuses on the gardens area is shown below ... click on image for larger ...



    The Miller Brothers Dept. Store/Goodholm Building/Sears & Roebuck. On the west side of the Biltmore Hotel, nearer Hudson, another building I would regard as worth having been saved is shown. I'm uncertain about its construction date but CF Colcord purchased the lot in 1909. Initially it was the Miller Brothers Department Store; it became the Goodholm Building; and, last, it was Sears & Roebuck's downtown (and then only Okc) store. The postcard below bears a 1912 postmark on its back side.

    Click on image for larger view.



    Steve, you mentioned scans from OKC: 2nd Time Around that I'd posted of this area ... but I'm not locating them. Which do you have in mind?

  25. Default Re: Myriad Gardens to get makeover...

    WOW...never new any of this...thanks Doug

    "...and including a 30 foot deep canyon..." so someones idea over in Steve's blog about doing an underground cave (under the area between the MG and the new Park, isn't that outlandish...

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