Saturday, June 24, 2006

Blue Dome District Development Stirrings

Life continues to creep slowly back into downtown Tulsa. The recent opening of the Blue Dome Diner (and Rt. 66 Road House) as well as the extended run of the very popular Lion King at the PAC have things hopping down at the Blue Dome District. More and more new businesses are opening along East 2nd, near the former gas station that gives the district it's name. In addition to the college bar, classic cooking and live music, there is a planned conversion of a old warehouse into loft apartments. This is a good sign, as more residential is needed in this fast growing area.

The Blue Dome is one of my favorite examples of Tulsa's Art Deco. From the Tulsa Preservation Commission:

The Blue Dome was built in 1924 and served as a Gulf Oil Station. This was the first station in Oklahoma to have hot water, pressurized air and a car wash. It was also open 24 hours, seven days a week. The station attendant lived upstairs in the dome itself.

It's great to see some positive development being made in this area of town, neighboring this unique building. Maybe some of those huge flat parking lots will be overtaken by some well-designed new construction as well.

KTUL reporter Jerry Giordano recently wrote a story about the changes that are bringing more entertainment options to this part of Tulsa.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bell's Amusement Park Planning to Reopen on Monday

After what has been the longest in-season park closure in Bell's history, repairs and inspections are nearing completion. They plan on reopening this Monday, June 26th.

This article from the Tulsa World gives more details on the recovery efforts.

As previously mentioned, Bell's Amusement Park was hit by a freak microburst on the morning of June 6th. It destroyed their vintage 1924 ferris wheel, the 26th such wheel ever built.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

41st & Garnett Arby's Upgrade

A welcome demolition for a change. This time at 41st and Garnett Rd. A new Arby's has been built just north of the very aged '80s Arby's on the NE corner. The new store was opened just in time for them to start the demolition of the old one. I've frequented this resturant many times over the years, but I'm not the least bit sad to see the old building go. I'm glad to see yet another new building in this area. Now, if they can just do something about that former Texaco across the street.

Several more pics in the Arby's photoset.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Recent Happenings

I don't really have any new pics for you, but I wanted to post several links to some things happening around town recently.

Michael Bates took his family to the newly opened Casa Viva (formerly Casa Bonita). From his comments, it sounds like they'll do quite well once they smooth a few operational things out. I look forward to spending a few hours there with my own family soon.

In a recent Route 66 News blog entry called A Route 66 Guide to the "Cars" Movie, Tulsa's Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge was listed among probable inspirations for a particular scene. This guide is a very interesting read. There's some great information about the people (many of them Oklahomans) along Route 66 who influenced the Pixar folks when creating this movie. One of those people is Michael Wallis, famous Route 66 author and Tulsa resident, who served as a consultant on the movie in addition to playing The Sheriff. [thanks for the link, Kyle]

Jennifer Weaver is an ardent East Tulsa advocate and lately a much better investigative journalist than many of the "professionals" working for our local media outlets. She submitted a recent editorial posted on detailing some new information and making a plea for a comprehesive plan from Eastland Malls out-of-state owners, outlining their intentions for the property. She mentions a recent rezoning request for Eastland Mall area to Light Industrial. Strangely, the mysterious request has been withdrawn, but the drama continues.

Bell's Amusement Park has had an interesting week. Just days after announcing an agreement with its neighbors allowing them to upgrade the park with a new roller coaster, a micro-burst with winds around 65-70 mph did some serious damage to the park on Tuesday morning. The worse was the destruction of their 1924 ferris wheel. The attraction, which had been at Bell's for over 40 years, was literally folded in two with no hopes of restoration. Less damaged was the Phantasmagoria and log rides. The fairground buildings and Big Splash water park also received minor damage during this odd early-morning storm. 6/15/06 Update: Still Cleaning Up []

Finally, I was recently informed that
"TU's about to start leveling the old apartment complexes between about 8th and 11th streets -- all the stuff that's between Skelly and Delaware. I think they're gonna leave the Metro and Wendy's until the very last...Also I think they're gonna tear down half of the Twin Towers dorm before too long -- the one they were planning on closing for a year to get it up to fire code."

It's sad to see such a push to destroy so much along this path, just in the interest of creating a "Grand Entrance" to Tulsa University. I'll do my best to get some pics before everything has been removed.