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November 21, 2017, 12:08:03 am
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Author Topic: Gunboat Park  (Read 3494 times)
johrasephoenix
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« on: July 17, 2016, 03:51:55 pm »

I rode my bike around the Gunboat Park neighborhood for the first time in the extreme southeast corner of the IDL (13th and Frankfort/Elgin).  That's an awesome little neighborhood - a jumble of houses, small apartments, and commercial spaces all mixed together like a real city.  I imagine that area used to be a lot bigger until the highways came through and TCC/churches tore down most of the other small buildings for parking.

It's a shame it's so isolated.  If you could transport that area close to the Brady or Blue Dome it would be really, really cool.  I imagine that's what Greenwood was like before it got urban renewaled for the OSU-Tulsa campus that was never built. 

Anyway, lots of potential in that site ~30 years from now if the east side of downtown keeps developing.  Something that is much more likely to happen if we could get our economy growing again.

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davideinstein
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2016, 07:15:58 pm »

Sad part is that the east side of the IDL isn't really needed at all.
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Bamboo World
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 07:27:58 pm »


User pfox has extensive knowledge of the Gunboat Park area, perhaps more than anyone else on this forum.

If you haven't already, see the 2005 Tracy Park + Gunboat Park Master Plan and the 2006 Gunboat Park Master Plan.


I imagine that area used to be a lot bigger until the highways came through and TCC/churches tore down most of the other small buildings for parking.



It's a shame it's so isolated.


The area wasn't much bigger than it is now, but it had better connections to the south and the west.  The Midland Valley Railroad wrapped around the east side of the Gunboat Park area, and there were never good connections to the east between 11th and 13th, as far as I know.  


If you could transport that area close to the Brady or Blue Dome it would be really, really cool.


Gunboat Park is not far from the Blue Dome District -- only seven blocks, or about half a mile (or a ten minute walk, as dsjeffries might say).

I'm guessing that some of the houses in the Gunboat Park area (such as the pair at 1238 and 1228 South Elgin) were "transported" there from the rapidly developing downtown, probably in the mid to late '20s.  I don't know whether those two houses on Elgin were moved in from somewhere else, but many houses were moved in Tulsa, especially in the booming 1920s.  It's not common to see houses moved these days, but it can be done, if there are not too many obstacles (such as highway overpasses) in the way.      


I imagine that's what Greenwood was like before it got urban renewaled for the OSU-Tulsa campus that was never built.


Greenwood, at least in terms of the core of Black Wall Street between Archer and Easton, was more urbanized than the Gunboat Park area ever was.

Even as far north as Haskell, Greenwood was more urban than Gunboat Park.  Here's an example looking north from Greenwood and Haskell, showing the flatiron Del Rio Hotel apartment building:

Source: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society

I'm not sure what you mean by the comment about Greenwood "before it got urban renewaled for the OSU-Tulsa campus that was never built."  The Helmerich Research Center was built on the OSU-Tulsa campus, east of Detroit.  Tulsa's primarily black Greenwood neighborhood didn't extend west beyond Detroit there.  Standpipe Hill, where OSU-Tulsa built a million dollar signage tower, wasn't part of Greenwood.


Anyway, lots of potential in that site ~30 years from now if the east side of downtown keeps developing.


A limiting factor to potential development in the Gunboat Park area is the risk of stormwater flooding, but there is potential.

There are some interesting apartment buildings in the Gunboat Park area.  Two of my favorites are on the west side of Elgin.  Those were designed by Kansas City architect Matt O'Connell in the early 1920s.  O'Connell was also the designer of the Chalfonte in Kansas City.

The Page Warehouse designed by Bruce Goff wasn't in Gunboat Park, but a few feet away, across 13th Street, to the south:


That Art Deco gem was imploded in the late 1970s (see the implosion beginning at time mark 1:07 in Jack Frank's YouTube video), and the cleared land remains vacant today.


Sad part is that the east side of the IDL isn't really needed at all.


No, it isn't "needed."  But it's desirable for many people who would rather roar by the east side of Tulsa's core than slow down for a few blocks.  

That's true of many highways cut through many cities.
  
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 02:31:30 pm by Bamboo World » Logged
johrasephoenix
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2016, 09:08:35 pm »

Wow that part of Greenwood looks awesome.  It'd be an amazing urban space if it was still standing...

OK - so what do you call the area just north of I-244 on Boulder/Main/Boston/Cincinnnati?  The area that got urban reneweled and remains just a big empty patch of grass north of downtown.  I've always thought it was the western part of the Greenwood neighborhood. 
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davideinstein
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 09:38:39 pm »

Wow that part of Greenwood looks awesome.  It'd be an amazing urban space if it was still standing...

OK - so what do you call the area just north of I-244 on Boulder/Main/Boston/Cincinnnati?  The area that got urban reneweled and remains just a big empty patch of grass north of downtown.  I've always thought it was the western part of the Greenwood neighborhood. 

OSU-Tulsa owns that land is what I've been told.
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johrasephoenix
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2016, 07:14:37 am »

Yep, it's owned by OSU-Tulsa today.  But historically what was that neighborhood called before it got torn down?  I actually don't know - I always thought it was Greenwood but it looks like Greenwood didn't actually go that far west.
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Conan71
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2016, 08:04:04 am »

“Sunset Hill” or “Northside”.  Apparently, it did not have a formal neighborhood title like Brady Heights to the west or Greenwood to the east.

http://thislandpress.com/2014/06/18/steps-to-nowhere/
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2016, 08:23:26 am »

“Sunset Hill” or “Northside”.  Apparently, it did not have a formal neighborhood title like Brady Heights to the west or Greenwood to the east.

http://thislandpress.com/2014/06/18/steps-to-nowhere/

Fascintating read.  So I guess this was where the old 'Standpipe Hill' was.  My grandmother for one of my birthdays gave me a 3-book pictorial history of Tulsa published by the World (and many, I dare say most, of the photos contained within it were from the Beryl Ford Collection) and had several references to that location from early in the 20th Century.
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2016, 08:58:48 am »

Charlie Sitong did wonders for the apartments around Gunboat park....
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2016, 09:11:56 am »

Yep, it's owned by OSU-Tulsa today.  But historically what was that neighborhood called before it got torn down?  I actually don't know - I always thought it was Greenwood but it looks like Greenwood didn't actually go that far west.

Technically the land is owned by UCAT Trust, University Center of at Tulsa.  It was formed to buy the homes and raze them to make way for Tulsa to finally have it's very own public university.  Unfortunately, OU took over what is now the Schusterman Center, OSU has never ventured west of MLK and Langston remains Langston. 

The members of UCAT are appointed by the mayor and they meet infrequently.  It is a public trust not any different from the trust formed to construct ONEOK Field and develop the area around.  The only recent action UCAT has done was to allow OSU to build the gateway guard tower signage to their "campus" on Standpipe Hill.  The hill was once home to Tulsa's water tower prior to the reservoir being constructed at the top of the hill in the Oak Cliff neighborhood about a mile north and half mile west.  You now know that area as Reservoir Hill.

I believe Vision has a couple million bucks earmarked for OSU to finally complete a project on the UCAT land west of MLK.  I'm of the  believe a well done mixed use development on this land would do more to benefit north Tulsa than any project completed to date.  There is a lot of energy in downtown and this land is part of the barrier keeping north Tulsa from plugging in.

Charlie Sitong did wonders for the apartments around Gunboat park....

Yes, Charlie did a great job there and with the Dresser Mansion.  He also re-habbed several of the old apartment buildings on the north side of Cherry St.  Saw the vision for downtown and that area about fifteen years ago.  I believe he finished the final building in 2004.  Like the area north of downtown it is too bad the energy in Blue Dome hasn't quite crept into Gunboat.
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2016, 09:44:14 am »


“Sunset Hill” or “Northside”.  Apparently, it did not have a formal neighborhood title like Brady Heights to the west or Greenwood to the east.

http://thislandpress.com/2014/06/18/steps-to-nowhere/


In my opinion, This Land isn't usually a reliable source of information, especially concerning the history of Greenwood and Tulsa's 1921 Race Riot.  However, the "Steps to Nowhere" article by Michael Bates is very good.

Here's a link to Fowler and Kelly's 1918 Aero View of Tulsa lithograph mentioned by Bates.

While previewing this reply, I see rdj has already mentioned the UCAT (or University Center at Tulsa) Trust.  I think OSU-Tulsa has some plans for the vicinity of Main and Fairview, but I've not seen them.  Jack Crowley had some ideas for the area (circa 2009-2010) in the Downtown Master Plan, including a traffic circle at the John Hope Franklin-Main-Boulder intersection, with surrounding housing and a turn-around for a Boulder Avenue trolley.  

Getting back to Gunboat:  I agree with Breadburner and rdj:  Charlie Sittong and his mom have done some nice rehab work.  It was good to have him serving on the Tulsa Preservation Commission ... although I think his term has expired and someone else has been appointed.
  
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 08:55:20 am by Bamboo World » Logged
Conan71
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2016, 12:40:20 pm »

Fascintating read.  So I guess this was where the old 'Standpipe Hill' was.  My grandmother for one of my birthdays gave me a 3-book pictorial history of Tulsa published by the World (and many, I dare say most, of the photos contained within it were from the Beryl Ford Collection) and had several references to that location from early in the 20th Century.

I believe I got my three volume set as a Christmas gift from my mother.  Nice compendium!
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2016, 12:42:07 pm »

I believe I got my three volume set as a Christmas gift from my mother.  Nice compendium!

They're like coffee table books.  Brown cover with gold lettering.  Looked at them all the time.
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Libertarianism is a system of beliefs for people who think adolescence is the epitome of human achievement.

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Bamboo World
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2016, 12:52:46 pm »


I believe I got my three volume set as a Christmas gift from my mother.  Nice compendium!


I purchased my three-volume set at The Phoenix, on the southeast corner of Sixth Street & M.B. Pearl Avenue.
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2016, 01:16:40 pm »

https://www.amazon.com/Tulsa-Times-Pictorial-History-1986-1988/dp/B000T3EW52

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