In 2001, there were 27 glass plants in Oklahoma, providing 2,589 jobs to Oklahomans. Oklahoma’s glass industry history is a reflection that paves the way for our state’s future.
How has glass played a role in Oklahoma history?
Where are the 6 current notable glass structures in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma Weather Museum
This building has not yet been built but will definitely be a notable glass structure. It will be located in Tulsa and stand at a height between 75 and 90 meters tall. The tower museum will be built by KTT Architects and will be placed atop a 1920’s two-story warehouse. The cyclone-shaped building will house a weather museum, storm research center and revolving bar-restaurant on the roof. Its structural design will include glass and perforated metal, while some roof surfaces will be covered with plants.
Oklahoma History Center
The Oklahoma History Center is home to a three story glass atrium that provides a view of the state capitol. The museum is 215,000 square feet, which cost approximately 59 million dollars to build. The glass uses 1-inch insulating units with fritted glass to control glare and a low-emissivity coating.
Driving down Route 66 in Arcadia, you can’t miss the giant LED light-up soda bottle. The bottle is located right outside the Pops gas station and stands 66 feet tall. This steel bottle weighs over four tons and stands out as a landmark for this historical store that houses hundreds of different kinds of sodas. The gas station is made of mostly glass and all of their pop comes in glass bottles. Pops opened in 2007, and on a typical weekend they sell close to 9,000 glass bottles. A little-known fact about Pops is that if you drink your pop bottle in the store and give them your empty bottle, they’ll recycle it.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
When you walk in the museum’s atrium you will be greeted within seconds by a glass sculpture bursting with color. In 2002, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art inaugurated the Donald W. Reynolds Visual Arts Center with an extensive glass display and drawings by Dale Chihuly, titled Dale Chihuly: An Inaugural Exhibition. Dale Chihuly was commissioned in 1999 to create a signature sculpture for the new building in memory of the late Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick, a Museum founder. This work of art stands 76 feet tall is comprised of 2,100 pieces of blown glass and was installed at one at a time. TheEleanor Black Kirkpatrick Tower is the tallest Chihuly sculpture in the world at seven feet wide and weighing ten tons. This sculpture is cleaned annually and takes 9 hours to dust from top to bottom.
Oklahoma City Memorial
At the location where the horrific Oklahoma City Bombing event took place stands a memorial of 168 glass, bronze and stone empty chairs with names etched in the glass base of each chair. These chairs represent the empty chairs at the dinner tables of the victims who lost their lives. There are nine rows of chairs representing the victims on the nine floors of the building.
This house, located in Norman, used to represent modern architecture at its finest. The artist who made the plans for this house was an OU graduate who later became an art professor. After teaming up with an architect named Goff, they were able to create a masterpiece the Bavinger family could live in with their two boys and their tropical fish.
This modern house had no walls inside and they slept in pods instead of beds. Bavinger’s students and Goff (the architect) also helped build the house, which was made of 200 tons of locally quarried rock, signature aqua glass cullets, oil rigging equipment and parts, and WWI stainless steel aircraft struts. The family eventually decided to have a place for a pond in the floor. In 1987, the home was awarded the prestigious Twenty Five Year award by the American Institute of Architects.
So many visitors came throughout the years to see their house that they began charging $1.00 admission to see it. Sadly, the home was later sold and picked apart piece by piece, so we can no longer see this great work of art (except in photos).
We are proud to be in the state with such a rich history of the glass industry. Thanks to the Oklahoma glass pioneers, we now move forward on a solid foundation. Like them, we know glass. If you have any questions about commercial or residential glass give us a call.