The world was celebrating after World War I and new ideas in art and architecture were blooming. Art Deco was one of the most popular movements. Wealthy Tulsans were traveling and determined to make their city competitive with European capitols. Tulsa was, after all, the Oil Capital of the World. In Paris, the latest styles were on display at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industrials Modernes. Art Deco was in – and so was Tulsa.
The earliest forms in Art Deco were based on parallel lines and zig-zags, Egyptian and Aztec motifs. Later came the Depression era PWA-style – more solid and sturdy-looking buildings and reliefs depicting labor and the common man. The last phase is Stream-line emphasizing sleek lines and utilizing curved corners and glass blocks. Tulsa has examples from every era.
The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture offers one-hour walking tours the second Saturday of each month. www.tulsaarchitecture.com and the Tulsa Historical Society hosts Downtown Walking Tours on the last Friday of the month. November and December tours will be rescheduled. www.tulsahistory.org