Some 50 years ago my family lived downtown; I could walk to the the big metropolitan library in just a few minutes, cutting through back alleys and parking lots. Since then, it’s amazing how much has changed, and there’s all kinds of construction on new towers right now. At any rate, our first shot is the GE Building, so new it doesn’t even show up on Google Maps, but you can see it on Google Earth.
Next door to that is this refashioned church house now occupied by the offices of Oklahoma State Commerce Department. The building was a long time historic landmark and required extensive renovation to save it. Both of these first two buildings are perched on the east side of Interstate 235, right between the hospital district on the east, and downtown on the west.
NE 8th bends to the SW and is renamed Harrison. This is what the skyscrapers look like just after crossing westward over I-235. This area has a handful of historic buildings preserved, too. However, it’s also in the yuppie loft strip that runs from Bricktown north a ways. During different periods of my life, we occupied three different residences within walking distance of this spot. A fourth is about a mile farther west. One of those buildings is still in use; the others are at least two generations of construction gone.
This the view along Couch Drive toward Leadership Square with the signature red abstract sculpture out front. This is the fourth renovation of Couch Drive that I’ve seen. Right now, they have these humped up tall grass plots (representing the state’s past as mostly a bunch of tall grass prairies) in the middle and a tiny, narrow access drive to the building fronts. It was actually prettier a few years ago, but each new batch of politicians has to make a name for themselves.
Kerr was once a very lovely water fountain that had been donated some decades back by the Kerr-McGee Corporation. I’m sure it got too expensive to maintain, but a sloping patch of green grass isn’t much of a replacement.
There are a lot of eateries downtown, mostly too pricey for someone like me. This whole block features a collection of highly decorated sculptures. These two are basically cast iron with a smooth coating that holds paint. It was impossible to show the rest of them because they alternated between fairly deep shadow and exceedingly bright sunlight and the camera didn’t handle the contrast that well.
To be honest, our downtown district is not all the large. The urban canyon effect is less than 50 blocks square.