This is the map destroyed OKC. Produced by I.M. Pei and Carter & Burgess for the 1965 Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Plan, the map shows the areas of “CLEARANCE & REDEVELOPMENT” that helped create a downtown with a healthy supply of surface parking.
Okay, so the map itself doesn’t appear so destructive at first glance. So here I added a little extra color to highlight the areas with the crosshatch designated to be cleared:
Certainly sheds some light on the areas of downtown today that are hurting for density. In fact, old plans can tell us a lot about how the city came to be the way it is. One of the side benefits of my thesis research (and countless hours crouched over a scanner) is that I have copies of a number of important Oklahoma City plans, including the:
- 1910 Dunn Parks and Boulevard Plan,
- 1930 Hare & Hare Plan,
- 1949 Harland Bartholomew Plan,
- 1965 Pei Urban Renewal Plan, and
- 1975 Gruen Central City Plan.
In addition I have over a hundred pages of correspondence between George E. Kessler’s firm and Oklahoma City leaders dating back to 1893. Kessler’s firm was involved with projects including Fairlawn Cemetery, Belle Isle Park, Classen Boulevard, 1910 Dunn Parks and Boulevard Plan, and was hired by the city in 1920 to produce Oklahoma City’s first comprehensive plan, but unfortunately passed away in 1923 before completing the process. I hope to make all of this available online eventually. Not sure when, likely a project for a another day, but stay tuned.