Since the urban development of Tulsa did not begin until the late nineteenth century, there are very few real estate styles popular before the turn of the twentieth century found in Tulsa residential neighborhoods. The late nineteenth and early twentieth-century styles represented include National Folk, Folk Victorian, Queen Anne, and Neoclassical. Styles popular during the first quarter of the twentieth century include Art Deco, Bungalow/Craftsman, Colonial Revival, English Cottage/Tudor Revival, Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, Italian Renaissance, Italianate, Prairie School, and Spanish Eclectic.
The Art Deco Style sought modernity and more artistic expression to complement the machine age during the period 1920-1940. Several single-family Art Deco dwellings were built in Tulsa during this period. Most utilized the Streamline form with its pattern of horizontal aerodynamic forms.
The Bungalow/Craftsman Style was popular between 1905 and 1930. This style was nationally fashionable for middle-class, single-family dwellings. Distinguishing features of this style include a low-pitched roof with wide, unenclosed eave overhangs; exposed roof rafters and triangular knee brackets; and a full- or partial-width porch supported by tapered square columns and brick or stucco piers.
The Colonial Revival Style was popular from 1910 until 1955. Distinguishing features of this style include an accentuated front door; a symmetrical facade; and a side-gabled roof with dormers. This style is more commonly found in the Maple Ridge, Swan Lake, Owen Park and Reservoir Hill neighborhoods. There are a few examples in the Cherokee Heights neighborhood.
English Cottage/Tudor Revival
The English Cottage or Tudor Revival Style was very popular in the Midwest during the 1920s and was sometimes used by developers building speculative housing. These houses are generally built of brick, although a few were frame with horizontal wood cladding. Distinguishing features of this style include steeply pitched, side-gabled roofs with one or more prominent, steeply pitched cross-gables; front-facing brick or brick-and-stone chimneys with chimney pots; and arched porch entrances and doorways. The Oak Cliff neighborhood is composed almost entirely of Tudor Revival houses.
The Folk Victorian Style, popular between 1870 and 1910, is generally defined by the Victorian decorative detailing on simple frame houses. This detailing includes decorative wooden shingles, gingerbread woodwork, and turned porch columns. The one-story gable front-and-wing and the pyramidal house are the most common types and can be found in the Irving, Brady Heights and Brady Heights II neighborhoods. Other examples can be found in some additions platted before 1910.
The Gothic Revival Style was popular between 1840 and 1880, but it was never as popular as the Greek Revival and Italianate styles. Distinguishing features of this style include a steeply pitched roof, usually with steep cross gables; wall surfaces extending into gables without a break; windows extending into gables with Gothic shapes; and a one-story entry or full width porch, commonly with flattened, pointed arches.
The Greek Revival Style is based on ancient Classical precedents. Once known as the "National Style," it was the dominant style of American domestic architecture from 1830 to 1860. Distinguishing features include a low-pitch roof; a porch supported by square or round columns with Doric capitals and no bases; and a wide band of trim beneath the eaves, mimicking the entablature of Greek Temples.
The Italian Renaissance Style was popular between 1910 and 1935. Distinguishing features of this style include a low-pitched hipped roof often covered with ceramic tiles; smaller, less elaborate upper-story windows than those found below; entry ways accentuated by small classical columns or pilasters; widely overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets; and arches above doors and first-story windows and porches.
The Italianate Style is a Renaissance Classical architectural style with origins in early 15th Century Italy. This style profoundly influenced 18th Century building in the American colonies. Distinguishing features of this style include balanced, symmetrical facades; pedimented doors and windows; arched openings; and cornice-lined brackets and pilasters.
Tulsa National Folk Real Estate
The National Folk Style spread across the nation along the path of the railroad and continued in popularity through the first half of the twentieth century. Historic photographs indicate this style was very popular during Tulsa's early development. Distinguishing features of this style include a lack of detailing and simple, overall design and construction. Many National Folk houses are one-story with a square mass and hipped roofs. The front is usually covered with a full-facade porch.
Tulsa Neoclassical Real Estate
The Neoclassical Style, a subtype of the Eclectic Style, can be found in many additions platted before 1910. Distinguishing features of this style include a facade dominated by a full-height porch; a roof supported by classical columns with Ionic or Corinthian capitals; and a symmetrically balanced facade. This style was particularly popular between 1900 and 1920.
The Prairie School style, one of the few indigenous American architectural styles, can be found in some additions platted prior to 1925. Generally two stories, distinguishing features of this style include a low-pitched, hipped roof, with widely overhanging boxed eaves and a one-story porch. A subtype, known as the American Foursquare or the Prairie Box, has a simple square or rectangular plan, low-pitched hipped roof, and symmetrical facade.
Popular between 1880 and 1910, typical, two-story examples of the Queen Anne house are rare in Tulsa. Distinguishing features of this style include an asymmetrical facade; a steeply pitched hipped roof with cross-gables; patterned shingles; bay windows; and a wrap-around porch. This style can be found in the Irving and Brady Heights II neighborhoods.
The Spanish Eclectic style, popular between 1915 and 1940, freely borrowed elements of the Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival styles. Distinguishing features of this style include a low-pitched, red-tile roof; prominent arches above the main entrance or front-facing windows; and a stuccoed exterior. This style was particularly popular in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood.
In 1929, General Patrick Hurley* introduced the Ambassador Hotel to Tulsa. One of the first "extended stay" hotels, the Ambassador was created to provide upscale temporary housing for oil barons and their families while their own mansions were built. The ten-story Mediterranean style building is one of Tulsa´s most beautiful structures, graced with Italian terra cotta relief panels and limestone cornices. Hurley never got to bask in the elegance of his hotel. About the same time as the opening, Hurley was appointed to the Secretary of War post, the first Oklahoman cabinet member.
Tulsa´s oil business continued to grow. In 1960, Kewanee Oil and its subsidiary Delbert Development Company purchased the Hotel Ambassador, bringing its collection of commercial properties on this 1/2 mile area to five-earning it the reputation of "Little Rockefeller Center". A $1.25 million overhaul was undertaken to create an apartment hotel, primarily targeting commercial occupancy.
After the oil business decline, the hotel became senior retirement housing, and closed entirely in 1987. In 1997, developer Paul Coury and a group of civic-minded citizens purchased the property to begin the $5.5 million renovation to restore this historic structure to its early day elegance.
Seventy years after the Ambassador Hotel first opened its doors, "La Dolce Vita" returns.
Oklahoma Green Country