Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

These Walls: Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum

Article excerpt

Like many things in this northwestern Tulsa suburb, Sand Springs leaders named their 1930 library for beloved community founder Charles Page. While his memory remains legendary, the classic structure lives on under its own light as one of Oklahoma's zigzag art deco treasures, a three-story jewel in Sand Springs' nostalgic downtown.

"For many years this has stood out, pleasing all the people who walked in," said Ruth Ellen Henry, a lifelong resident of the community. "One lady said this is like walking into a piece of fine art. That's a good way to put it."

The community came second to Page's desire to establish a home for orphaned children and widows. Setting aside land for their use in 1907, the busy entrepreneur, water developer and oilman soon mapped out a town to support what he called the Sand Springs Home. That spurred rise to a small industrial juggernaut in those hills along the Arkansas River, supporting its own zoo and amusement area.

Page always meant to add a library to the mix, but the needs of his Home's growing population always took precedent. So it fell on the Sand Springs Women's Club in 1920 to start the library. In April 1921 its 500 books took shelter in a corner of City Hall. There the volunteer library grew, although Henry said the seat of government didn't always prove the best place for quiet contemplation.

With her husband's sudden death in 1926, Lucile Page decided to finally fill his wish and commissioned plans for a hilltop library overlooking downtown. Her vision took on the vestiges of a memorial, with a series of huge windows cut into 18-inch haydite block walls covered in stucco.

The design by architect Otis Floyd Johnson of Chicago's Lorado Taft Studios brings guests through a bronze entryway to a small lobby of Italian and Tennessee marble. Side stairs lead to a main hall of white plaster, the floor a two-tone cork checkerboard. Soaring columns divide that into three main rooms accented by colorful art deco trim. …

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