It's all fun and games, til someone puts an eye out......

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bartlesville, Oklahoma

This is the first in a series of posts I am doing on the places I have lived.

I have lived in so many great places and have done so many cool things, that I wanted to share them.

I am starting with my birthplace.

Bartlesville, Oklahoma:

Home of Frank Phillips and Phillips 66.  The oil company that merged with Conoco years back.


It was started by the brothers Phillips and once they struck oil, it turned Bartlesville on its ears overnight.

Frank Phillips has a mansion there in Bartlesville that we visit every time we go home.


It looked so big as a child, and although it is still large, it is no longer the size that intrigues all the guests who visit.  It is the inside look into an oil mogul that was more giving than any other human being in his time.  He had wonderful, beautiful things, but shared them with everyone, even leaving his home and his weekend retreat to be donated to the public for all to view.

Speaking of his weekend retreat:


This main living area in his lodge at Woolaroc, was always my favorite.  It is the coolest log cabin I have ever seen.  If you want to see more, go to  The story of its origination alone is fascinating.

Also in Bartlesville, is the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Price Tower.


It was built by the talented architect Frank Lloyd Wright and has that same green patina copper that is on the Statue of Liberty.  I took it for granted growing up and never really noticed what a treasure it was. 


It is in downtown Bartlesville, which is the epitome of small town mixed with corporate America.
Just look at the skyline:


It is so cute, it looks like it could still have a Five & Dime store right in the center of downtown.  But it still holds a large oil company in a huge building. 
Bartlesville was a great place to grow up.  It had about 40,000 people when I was there.  Pretty small. 
Like in the show Cheers, its the place where everyone knows your name. 

Sometimes that can be a bad thing.....

The High School Building is one of my favorites.  Everyone in my family went to high school in this exact building.  Kind of weird, when you think about it....


It says Senior High School on it because there was also a Mid High School (what used to be Sooner High).
This building used to say College High.  Isn't that kind of cliche, or High School Musical of Bartlesville?  Imagine calling a school "College" High.  Like the movie Grease, or something.  So, basically, Bartlesville was way ahead of its time....


Bartlesville is also home to one of the few remaining vintage Kiddie Parks across the nation.  In fact, recently, there was an article about it and how it has held up through the years.  It has the cutest train that goes under a tiny tunnel.  It is pitch black and everyone screams when they go through.


There is also one of the most endearing carousels I have ever seen.


It has been restored, since the many floods have swept through it, so it is in tip top shape. 

The tickets at the Kiddie Park are something crazy like a quarter and all the snacks are less than $1.  It really is vintage Americana at its best.

Another one of Bartlesville's hidden treasures is Murphy's Steakhouse. 


My mom went here back in the 50's when she was a child, and we went as children as well.  I even take my boys every time we go home.

It is home to the hot hamburger, which is basically, a hamburger patty, topped with deliciously greasy fries, covered in hot, brown gravy.  Its to die for.


If you have never had it, you really should come to Bartlesville just to experience it.  Then make sure you spend the night, as you will surely be in a food-induced coma within about 30 minutes.

The Community Center is another one of Bartlesville's highlights.


It is huge and gorgeous.  Home to many things, mainly, proms and the Nutcracker.  That is what I think of when I drive by.  Take a look at the inside staircase.  Gorgeous.


They really spared no expense when building this.  I do, however remember life before the Community Center.  I found this old picture of a performance from 1981.


We used to have to watch the yearly production of the Nutcracker at the Mid High School theater.  It was tiny and cramped and I can't imagine Baryshnikov would have ever danced there.  One of these days, I will post the story on how we used to start and end all the claps for all the Nutcracker performances.  Oh, how much fun we had......

Growing up in Bartlesville must have been as close to a Dick and Jane upbringing as I could have expected in the 70's.  It had many two children families where everyone knew your name and everyone had a picket fence around their house.  We had Pet and Hobby shows at our schools and people slept with their doors unlocked.

I only have my own memories that I can blog about and show my children.  I try to create a similar environment for them now and I know one day, when they are telling their own children about it, they will be thankful.......