Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Guest Post: An Oklahoma Mid-Century Adventure

Preface: Last week, my brother, Andrew, decided to explore some of Lawton, Oklahoma's mid-century relics. Here's a first hand account of his findings. 

I eat one good breakfast each week. I also sleep in once a week. These anomalies occur on the same day and I end up eating breakfast at 2pm. I sit there at IHOP and let the world slow down as I sip on my fifth or sixth cola and polish off my meat lovers breakfast sampler. This ritual allows me to focus on the good stuff and forget about work, money, and all of my motorcycle’s problems (Triumph Daytona, currently mid-top end rebuild-Ed.) This Saturday I emerged from my Zen state with the goal to find mid-century architecture in Lawton, Oklahoma. With a few places in mind and the desire to search I set out. 
First, I stopped to look over a fence that I had ridden by a few months ago. The site was marked with a unique red brick sculpture and was a sign that there was more than meets the eye on the property.  In the back of the lot I spotted iron and a barn with some old signs. Next time I will pay the owner a visit and hear his plans for the cars. This was an encouraging start but I knew there was more out there to see.

On the other side of town amongst abandoned bars and auto repair shops I found treasure. I came across a motorcycle shop with parts piled in a back room. Even though it was closed I could still make out some old and exciting parts. In the corner I spotted a race built Harley single with a soft yellow tank.  That bike has found a way into my imagination and dreams. I will try and catch the owner on my lunch break and see if he could part with it. 

            My next stop was to an abandoned creamery. An old hulk of a truck stands watch over the lot.  The derelict machine caught my eye and drew me in. The building looks as if it is being fixed up in preparation for a new business.

            This week’s final stop and the main event is an abandoned National Guard Armory, constructed in 1955. Every day I pass the unique domed building with the crazy looking garages. As I parked in the lot next to the compound I had no idea how much I would really see. Walking around the fence I spotted an entry point into the mid-century dome.  The wind made it seem like there were people around every corner and behind every door.  Making my way through the dusty building I could see the footprints of those who were there before. Looking up through the broken sealing tiles provided the best view of the dome and really inspired awe at the architecture of this abandoned government building. It was really an adventure because I did not expect the building to be abandoned, open, or accessible.
     The whole experience showed me that even in Oklahoma there is some pretty cool old stuff. If you take a second and forget about the world and today it is possible for you to slow down in time or even, if you are lucky, go backwards.  

—Andrew Ukrop 

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