Oct19 MedicalDentalArts tulsa time warp

A composite image of the Medical and Dental Arts building that opened in January 1928, and the area as it is today.

With three existing hospitals and St. John’s Hospital nearing completion, there was still limited space for Tulsa medical professionals to operate in 1926. Most clinics were spread throughout buildings downtown and not centralized in one location.

The Tulsa County Medical Society formed a committee and chose local architect Arthur M. Atkinson to construct an 11-story medical center starting in 1926 that would be funded by a private group of doctors and dentists. Ninety percent of the available space was sold before construction started. Atkinson even took special requests from doctors to customize their facilities.

The terra cotta Medical and Dental Arts building opened in January 1928. Its ornate mix of architecture styles led it to be considered the first art deco building in Tulsa.

The building was the main home for medical professionals in Tulsa for over 30 years, but by the mid ’50s it was slowly losing tenants to clinics outside of downtown.

On Sunday morning, July 12, 1970, a 153-pound explosive collapsed the supporting columns of the Medical and Dental Arts building in 11 seconds, changing the corner of Sixth Street and Boulder Avenue forever. It’s now a parking garage. 

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