Oak Tower

Issues concerning Downtown as described by the Downtown Council. River to 31st Street, I-35 to Bruce R. Watkins.
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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby TheLastGentleman » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:09 am

:cry:

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby TheLastGentleman » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:25 am

I still wonder what the deal was with those first floors. Why were they intact?

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby rxlexi » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:02 am

They leveled off the outer skin of the building, filling endless dumpsters with terracotta detail.


Ugh. Gross. :evil:

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby NorthOak » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:31 pm

She was once a grand lady.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby NorthOak » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:33 pm

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JBmidtown
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby JBmidtown » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:15 pm

Why though? What purpose did it serve them to remove the facade?

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby TheLastGentleman » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:22 pm

I've heard that it was because bits of it were falling off, so it was probably a liability issue. Seems like that's how a lot of crimes like this were justified, "We don't want to spend the money on maintaining our building so we're just going to ruin/bulldoze it."

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby missingkc » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:48 pm

I suspect the owners also felt that by making the building look more 'modern' they would make it more marketable.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby Highlander » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:43 am

NorthOak wrote:She was once a grand lady.

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Nice pictures. And a bit heartbreaking. I wonder why it cost so much more to maintain what was there than to put up an entirely new facade (although the owners clearly did not put a lot of $$ into the replacement)? Perhaps the artisans that could deal with the terra cotta material were becoming scarce and too expensive? In any event, what is there today, while not near as nice as the original facade, is a bit improved over the gold and white abomination that adorned one of KC's tallest buildings for a couple of decades. That was an eyesore and marked what was probably the lowest era for downtown. I've looked all over the internet, couldn't find a picture of the 1974 color scheme.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby chaglang » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:19 am

TheLastGentleman wrote:I've heard that it was because bits of it were falling off, so it was probably a liability issue. Seems like that's how a lot of crimes like this were justified, "We don't want to spend the money on maintaining our building so we're just going to ruin/bulldoze it."

I'm told it was a workmanship problem. Either the metal anchors on the building that connected it to the terra cotta was failing, or the connection between the terra cotta and the metal piece that connected it to the building anchors was failing. I can't remember which. IIRC the problem started in the 1940's and persisted through several attempts at a fix.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby UrbanKC » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:18 am

If they can restore a lot of the stuff on the Parthenon, Erechtheion, the Archaelogical site at Epidauros and other sites throughout Greece, Italy etc... Then I think it'd be manageable, especially with modern technology, to restore the sculptural exterior on this building. Though it certainly wouldn't be cheap.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby chaglang » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:28 pm

UrbanKC wrote:If they can restore a lot of the stuff on the Parthenon, Erechtheion, the Archaelogical site at Epidauros and other sites throughout Greece, Italy etc... Then I think it'd be manageable, especially with modern technology, to restore the sculptural exterior on this building. Though it certainly wouldn't be cheap.

It's always been manageable. The money has always been the problem.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby AlbertHammond » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:34 pm

I wish this was an option for this building (don't get excited!). I recently found this image of a building in San Antonio.

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby TheLastGentleman » Wed Sep 06, 2017 4:24 pm

This is on a much smaller scale, but the base of the fairfax building is being restored after having been "modernized."
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby TheLastGentleman » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:58 pm

I'm back to researching this place. I went inside again and got some shots of the lobby since I had a decent camera on me this time, then went over to city hall.

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Here are the shots from city hall. What's remarkable is that there is a lot of gothic detail still exposed, which leads me back to the idea that there is still much more left under the surface. I understand that there was considerable damage inflicted by the modernization to secure the new cladding, but I'm just not convinced it's all gone, especially since there is so much still easily visible. The old pictures are from the library's KC History site and an old architecture book by George Ehrlich.

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Notice how thick the cladding is. If they really leveled off the entire skin, why would it be that way? I believe it's hiding something.

I saw these strange sheds buried among the rooftop junk, along with some ornate railing. Thought they were interesting.

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The alley side has loads of original ornament. You can really sense how the rest of the building used to look while seeing this view. You can also see where the original tower ended before the haydite addition was built on top.

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I was considering that maybe they only stripped off what they needed to put cladding over, but then I noticed these areas, where the modernization seems to engulf the ornament. I can't imagine they would meticulously cut the window frames to fit cladding around. I think it was the other way around, with the plaster being sculpted around the masonry.

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What makes me really confident is that the restoration of the terra cotta has actually been started already, but only on the first three floors. Compare them in these two pictures

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I have no idea when a thorough restoration of the building may happen. It would probably require a change in ownership and possibly use, and a replication of the dozens of spires and other ornaments near the top, which are most definitely missing based on the building's current height. All that said, though, I think it would be far more doable than you'd think, which is a reassuring thought. The stucco appears to be in very poor shape, so I can't imagine how the parts we can't see are like. It's gotta come down at some point.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby horizons82 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:38 pm

Nice work! Those close up shots of the stucco are rough. Can't imagine it's got too many years left in it before damage starts happening internally.

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NorthOak
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby NorthOak » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:06 pm

In all of her (former) glory.

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby TheLastGentleman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:30 am

Here are some more interesting images I found, including what it looked like before the upper half was added. Most are pulled from http://www.kchistory.org, which has a stunning amount of great old photos. I highly recommend a look.

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This one had the caption "Unidentified people atop Telephone Building watching the Graf Zeppelin."

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This was taken the same day.

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Re: Oak Tower

Postby shinatoo » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:54 am

Thank you.
Quocunque Jeceris Stabit

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TheLastGentleman
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Re: Oak Tower

Postby TheLastGentleman » Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:32 am

Found a channel that's posted several videos of someone wondering around the building's outdoor areas. Really interesting! The fourth video really shows how the cladding works and just how rotten it is.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWAiNSU ... ADabRMuVQw

It should be a playlist of four videos. If it's not let me know.

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