Married to the Empire

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bartlesville Trip

While we went to Bartlesville, OK to volunteer at The Voice of the Martyrs, we had a day to simply do some sightseeing.  There are actually some very interesting things to do there. 

We started out by visiting the home of Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum.  (Interesting little sidenote is that I went to school in Norway with several kids from Bartlesville.  We were all oil babies, so many of their dads worked for Phillips.)  The tour of his home took about an hour, and it was very interesting.  It's a beautiful home without being too big.  The tour guide pointed out all the needlepoint pillows in the home, saying that Frank's wife loved doing needle work, but only did small things because she had to hide it when her husband walked in.  He said he made enough money that she didn't have to do her own needle work.  I found that amusing because he obviously didn't understand the joy that can come from creating something yourself. 

Next we visited Price Tower, which is the only skyscraper built by Frank Lloyd Wright. 

It's a bizarre building designed to make people uncomfortable in certain places within.  (Why anyone would create a building with the intention of making the occupants uncomfortable is beyond me, but then, I'm not an artist.)  The elevator ride alone had me practically hyperventillating.  I dislike elevators to begin with, but these were old and tiny.  Four people maximum, and that was with us crammed inside and in each other's personal space.  *shudder*  (I wish they'd allowed photos inside, as it really needs to be seen to be understood.) 

We visited a former residential apartment, and the half-bath downstairs was like an airplane bathroom--tiny and cramped.  The furniture all had to be custom made because the rooms were all so oddly-shaped.  (And let me tell you, the dining and desk chairs were u-g-l-y.  If you've ever seen old Star Trek episodes with Captain Christopher Pike, who is in a wheelchair, well, these chairs were like his box of a wheelchair.  Just weird and unattractive and likely meant to be somehow futuristic.) 

When the tour was over, I couldn't get out of that building fast enough!  Steven's take was that it was a piece of junk.  Wright may have been some fabulous architect, but he didn't design things to be functional.  Even the windows were awful, as they were made of aluminum and caused wall damage because they leaked.  The louvers on the outside of the building flapped noisily in the wind.  We couldn't even figure out how they could possibly get furniture into this building!  Just completely impractical. 

Next we went to the Woolaroc, which is the one thing I wanted to do most.  (So naturally, we went there last and didn't get enough time to do everything.)  It's part animal preserve/sanctuary, part fabulous lodge (again, once owned by Frank Phillips for entertaining out-of-towners Oklahoma-style), part museum.  Steven was all happy in the museum because there were walls and walls and walls of guns.  Yep, this is the South.

On the way home the next day, we kept seeing signs for The Toy and Action Figure Museum, so we stopped off.  It's in a little two-bit town that looked a bit rundown and ghost-like.  We're pretty sure this museum is about all it has going for it.  But wow, were there ever a lot of action figures!

An interesting little place to stop, but honestly, not worth the $6/person admission fee, as it just wasn't all that big or impressive.  They did, at least, have several vintage, carded Star Wars figures.  We'd have had no respect for the place if they didn't!


Becky said...

Frank Lloyd Wright did quite a few buildings in Wisconsin, where I live. Very, very different!

Rhonda said...

Woolaroc is one of our favorite places too. We have spent entire days there and still did not have time to see and look as long at things as we wanted to.
The western paintings are my favorite things, and the animals that are still alive out on the grounds.
Did you see the buffalo that eats soda cans as it recycles them?
You were in my state but still a few hours from me.