Tulsa Fire Alarm Building: Tulsa, OK

Year:

1931

If tasked with naming a uniquely American building, you could do worse than the Tulsa Fire Alarm building. Constructed between 1931 and 1934, the station is a rare example of Mayan Revival architecture, a subset of Art Deco that achieved brief popularity with American and Mexican architects in the 20s and 30s.Though only 6,090 square feet, the building’s octagonal core makes efficient use of space and building materials. The octagonal footprint, promoted by gentleman architect Orson Squire Fowler in the 1840s, embodied America’s progressive and experimental spirit. This civic building served as the control center for Tulsa’s fire department until 1981. The frieze and gargoyles encircling the building’s exterior depict heroic nudes of axe wielding firefighters slaying a two-headed dragon.

After years of relative neglect, the American Lung Association purchased the building and restored it at a cost of $3.2 million, listing the building on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2015 the building was donated for use as a firefighting museum. While the museum is still in the works, plans include a large play area, expansions for exhibit space, and dramatic displays of artificial flame. In the spirit of the building’s design, the Tulsa Fire Department is raising funding through the sales of shirtless firefighter calendars.

Photographer:

Accidentally Wes Anderson