View Full Version : India Temple Building (1902)

Doug Loudenback
08-16-2006, 06:48 AM
Steve Lackmeyer wrote a poignant story about this building in yesterday's Oklahoman at

Details of Braniff's historic facade finally told
By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman

I wanted to share Bob Maidt's story at a triumphant moment.

Maidt and his son Bob Maidt Jr. were veterans in the plastering business, and I was first introduced to Bob Maidt Jr. when he helped me understand the pros and cons in the use of EIFS stucco in new construction.

In March, I wrote a story about a building on the Kerr-McGee campus that was to be part of a condominium development. At first glance, the building at Broadway and Robert S. Kerr Avenue in Oklahoma City is hardly spectacular. But developer and architect Anthony McDermid was aware that the concrete facade covered up a historic facade that dated back to 1902. The building, far from a forgettable Urban Renewal addition to downtown, is a true gem -- and its restoration would give back a bit of history in an area that lost much of its past in the 1960s and 1970s.

But McDermid had no information on how the fake facade was added or whether the original India Temple facade was still intact. Before and after photos were printed with my story, and Bob Maidt Jr. immediately recognized the project as one completed by his ailing father. Maidt Jr. later e-mailed saying he approached his father, who was bed- ridden, and memories started to flow.

The elder Maidt, 82, had been released from the hospital a couple of weeks earlier, with doctors telling the family they could do no more to relieve the man's failing health.

"He did most of the Kerr-McGee work, so I figured it was his job," Maidt Jr. said. "I went over in the afternoon, after work, and he seemed pretty excited. It perked him right up -- put a gleam in his eyes. He said, 'Oh yeah, I remember doing that.'"

Maidt Sr. not only recalled the job, but also told his son where to find the job files and photos of the new facade's installation. The original building, he said, wasn't seriously damaged during the 1960s-era renovation.

For Maidt Jr., the conversation was a chance to relive the days when the pair worked together, running the family business. Their plastering business had been started a century earlier by Maidt Jr.'s grandfather's uncle, Albert Maidt (who also was one of the founders of Twin Hills Golf and Country Club). The family business had passed from one generation to another until it closed in 1997.

The visit about the Kerr-McGee campus building would be their last. That night, Maidt Sr. died. Ironically, the story that sparked the Maidts' visit had been written a couple weeks earlier -- intended to run at a later date. Had the story been delayed one more day, the information needed to restore the India Temple building to its original facade might have disappeared forever.

I'd hoped to tell the Maidts' story once McDermid and his partners started on the property's renovation. Now that renovation, and the future of two other old buildings on the former Kerr-McGee campus, appear to be another unfulfilled downtown dream. A deal between McDermid's Corporate Redevelopment Group and Kerr-McGee fell apart last week.

As the two sides go to court, hundreds of new residential units are being added to downtown, leaving the prospect of the planned Braniff Towers a question of will, timing and demand.

Meanwhile, if someone does decide to bring the old India Temple building back to life, Maidt Jr. is waiting to share more details about his father's last discussion about what's under the concrete facade.

The India Temple was built in 1902 at 101 W. 2nd (now Kerr - Northwest corner of Broadway & Kerr). The smaller side of the building faces Broadway.

It still stands, but as part of the Kerr-McGee campus and its exterior is so different that you'd not recognize it from its extreme makeover.

It remained the India Temple until that organization relocated in 1909. It would become the "Wright Building". It served as the temporary quarters for the Oklahoma Legislature From 1913-1917, until the the State Capitol was completed.

08-16-2006, 09:42 AM
It just boggles me why anyone covers up such architecture and replace it with crap. I guess that was the Urban Renewal mentality

08-17-2006, 03:04 PM
I thought the condos were cancelled?