Buildings in the National Register of Historic Places
Public Service of Oklahoma Building
600 South Main Street (map it)
The Public Service of Oklahoma Building was an early Art Deco construction in Tulsa. The selection of this style by a generally conservative utility company established its acceptance and paved the way for the host of Art Deco buildings which were to follow. This building is also significant historically because it reflects the tremendous growth of Tulsa from 1920 to 1930. By 1927, construction costs in downtown Tulsa were averaging one million dollars a month. By 1930, Tulsa had more buildings of ten or more stories than any city of its size in the world.
The building is constructed of reinforced concrete, with a steel structural frame, and steel window frames covered by light grey Bedford limestone. The company was also in the retail business in 1929, and the windows on the ground floor are large enough to accommodate displays of merchandise. The stylized arch design of these windows reflects the Gothic predecessor of Art Deco. One of the most unusual features of the building is its beautiful nighttime illumination by a series of strategically placed lights. The architect, Arthur M. Atkinson, who was also a professional engineer, implemented this feature to showcase the client’s product which, of course, was electricity. The torch shaped, light fixtures are decorated with Art Deco motifs of chevrons and stepped-back geometrical patterns. The building continues to be a viable part of downtown Tulsa and provides a visible and tangible link to an important period in its past.
The Public Service of Oklahoma Building was listed in the National Register on April 10, 1984. It was listed under National Register Criteria A and C, and its NRIS number is 84003443.