On our day off on Friday, we decided to head to Bartlesville visit the Price Tower again.  We had done so a couple of years ago but at that time I had not realized that we needed reservations to take a guided tour.  This time we got online and set that up and so we headed north with confidence.

I have a low-level fascination with architecture and so was quite interested in getting the “back stage” view of the Frank Lloyd Wright creation.  I couldn’t help thinking all the way through the tour that although it was really cool, if I had been the patron who was paying for the building, I would have been plenty pissed off by the time it was done.  It was an expensive building at the time and it did not have to be.  Still, the owner at the time was thrilled with it so I guess there’s no harm done.

What struck me about it was the small scale of things.  It reminded me more than anything else of being in an RV.  If you had been a renter back in 1957, it would have been exactly like living in an Airstream trailer.  The furniture came with the apartments for the most part since the architect wanted everything in the building to be self-consistent as far as design went so he simply designed all the furniture, carpeting, and wall coverings.  But the scale of things was quite small.  I don’t see how you could have actually owned all that much stuff because there is no place to put much of anything.  I guess it would have been great if you were single and just starting out. 

Unfortunately, the price tag would have prevented most people who were just starting out from renting; in 2009 dollars, the rent would be about $3000 a month.  In Bartlesville, Oklahoma, that’s a bit of a stretch.

The elevators were custom made for the building and reminded me of the mine-shaft elevators in a gold mine we visited once in Colorado.  Again, they were tiny; four people made it really crowded.  They were not square – more of a trapezoid.  In fact, there is not a single 90 degree angle in the entire structure.

But it was still really cool.  Until it actually got crowded with people, no place in the building seemed small.  It was a place that felt pleasant to be in for a variety of reasons – no doubt that was exactly what the architect intended. 

We ate in the restaurant they have there.  The former apartments are now a destination hotel and the restaurant goes with that half of the building.  Sitting there gave us plenty of time to take it all in and gave us some pretty nice views of the prairie all around us. 

After all this, we headed home to attend a concert of patriotic music at the local community college theater.  The local symphony does this every 4th of July and it’s quite popular and always sells out.  We had never been and we may have been the only ones there under the age of 60.  It was quite nice though and it was a good way to end a day.

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