Oklahoma City, the second time around
Once upon a time, there was a famous architect of Asian descent who produced a plan that radically altered the center of a major Oklahoma city.
No, not Bing Thom and Tulsa, but I. M. Pei, whose plan to redevelop Oklahoma City resulted in the demolition of most of its original commercial district and the creation of the Myriad Gardens, the Myriad Convention Center, and that Habitrail-like thing just west of Myriad Gardens.
Via Doug Loudenback, we learn of a new book that puts Pei's plan in the context of fifty years of history of downtown Oklahoma City's decline and renaissance.
According to the book's blog, OKC, Second Time Around: A Renaissance Story, by Steve Lackmeyer and Jack Money, "chronicles a 50-year period in which hundreds of buildings were demolished in downtown OKC, the demise of Urban Renewal, early development of Bricktown, and downtown's recent resurgence."
Loudenback, an online chronicler of Oklahoma City history, gives the book five stars plus an infinite number of plusses, for providing both beautiful pictures and informative text covering the history of downtown OKC in detail, both positive and negative. I was especially interested in Loudenback's description of the chapter on Neal Horton, an early advocate for Bricktown, whose pleas for city investment in basic infrastructure fell on deaf ears, and who didn't live to see his visions come to pass.
I plan to pick up a copy of this book when I'm next in Oklahoma City. The same kind of book needs to be written about Tulsa.
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