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03/25/13

Lynda Ozan
Oklahoma Historical Society
405-522-4478

New Oklahoma National Register Listings

The Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office is pleased to announce two new National Register of Historic Places listings and one official Determination of Eligibility. The National Register of Historic Places is our nation’s official list of properties significant in our past.

The Acre Family Barn, located in the vicinity of Canton in Blaine County, is an example of a Transverse-crib barn dating to ca. 1916. The traditional floor plan of a Transverse-crib barn is simple: a central aisle running parallel to the ridgeline flanked on both sides by a row of three or more square cribs, which–individually or in combination–serve as stalls, granaries, or storage space. A haymow or “loft” for hay and/or grain storage is above ground level. A wagon door is in one or both gable ends of the barn. The Acre Family Barn was listed for its architectural merit because it demonstrates the distinctive features of the Transverse-crib barn as it has been adapted for use in Oklahoma.

The United Founders Life Tower, located at 5900 Mosteller Drive in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County was designated for its architectural merit.  It is a highly individual mid-twentieth century high-rise building that showcases a limited timeframe in which recent technological developments and the freedom to experiment in architecture gave rise to rare building forms and details, as exemplified in the folded plate roof system and unusual slender decagonal form of this tower, plus its cantilevered balconies. The unusual form of this building responds very well to its relatively isolated location at one of the highest elevations in the region, highly visible from nearby freeways and Lake Hefner. It helped to catalyze the development of the northwest side of Oklahoma City and facilitated the development of other high-rise buildings in the vicinity. United Founders Life Tower was a singular work of an architectural firm of regional renown and it displays innovative framing techniques as well as being an early example of design-build construction.

The Keeper of the National Register issued a formal Determination of Eligibility (DOE) for the third property, the Mummers Theater. Because the theater is private property and the owner objected to listing, it cannot be entered in the National Register. Therefore, the Keeper issued the DOE to confirm that the building does meet the National Register criteria.

The Mummers Theater at 400 West Sheridan, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County has been determined eligible for the National Register for its architectural merit at the national level and for exceptional significance. The Mummer’s Theater is a unique singular architectural sculpture which was the result of a specific design process borrowed from electronic boards; how they work, how elements are put in place, and how communication occurs to create the desired effect. It is the work of well-known nationally and internationally recognized Modern Movement ad-hoc architect, John M. Johansen. Constructed from drawings and sketches before computer aided-design programs were available, its design received international and national attention at the time and it became a recognized source of inspiration to other architects, such as Frank Gehry and Richard Rogers. It received the American Institute of Architecture highest award in 1972. It is used in architectural history books as one of the best examples of architectural ad-hocism and individuation. Johansen considered Mummers Theater the best work of his career.

Listing in the National Register is an honorific designation that provides recognition, limited protection and, in some cases, financial incentives for these important properties. The SHPO identifies, evaluates, and nominates properties for this special designation.

For detailed information, contact Lynda Ozan at 405-522-4478 or email lozan@okhistory.org.





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