Buildings in the National Register of Historic Places
20 East Archer Street (map it)
Richard Lloyd Jones purchased Tulsa’s first daily newspaper, the Tulsa Democrat, formerly the New Era, in 1919. He renamed it the Tulsa Tribune. The paper was printed in a small two-story building on the same land that is the site of the present building.
The Tribune Building, expanded in 1929, was considered Oklahoma’s largest and most modern newspaper facility. The building was the first in Oklahoma designed and built as a newspaper plant. It introduced the “gravity system,” a method of newspaper production in use in the rest of the nation, but previously untried in Oklahoma. Under this system, the preparation of the daily paper began on the sixth floor and progressed down through press rooms and business offices on the intermediate floors until it reached the printing presses on the first floor.
Built in Tulsa’s original business district, the Tribune Building is similar in style, scale, and materials to other 1920s buildings that were constructed several blocks to the south in what was to become the central business district. Designed as an efficient newspaper plant, its large, elaborately detailed interior also reflected the Tribune’s importance to the growing community.
The building’s symmetrical exterior is organized into four horizontal bands. The lower band, with its sixteen arcaded windows, forms the base. The central portion is topped by a lintel, an entablature, and a parapet wall. A small tower at the center of the roof encloses the mechanical system. The classical order of the building is further delineated by brick pilasters and paired windows that emphasize the building’s verticality. The main lobby retains its terrazzo floor, marble wainscoting and stairway, and dentiled molding. Original elevators, call buttons, and brass mailbox remain, as does the iron catwalk that surrounded second floor presses. The Tribune Building has become the cornerstone for revitalization of Tulsa’s oldest commercial district.
The Tribune Building was listed in the National Register on July 16, 1979. It was listed under National Register Criteria A and C, a, and its NRIS number is 79003644.