All photos ©Alison Zarrow 2005-2007. Please see fine print.

Monday, January 10, 2011


The old site is now defunct.

The new download site is on google docs here.
You can view online or download a copy for non-commercial use by clicking "download original" under "file" in the upper left corner.

Please note: Copyright restrictions still apply to the book and all images. No content may be re-distributed without express written permission other than for educational use which is non-commercial.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Do Downtowns Matter?

Do Downtowns Matter? A Case Study of Dispersing "Civic Fauna" in Tulsa, Oklahoma

For the past year I have been working on my senior sociology honors thesis at Stanford. I am am interested in what happened to fraternal, civic, business and professional organizations in Tulsa over the period 1950-2000. I used GIS (computer mapping) to map the number and location of these groups every decade.

It turns out that as downtown Tulsa declined, what had once been a compact home for civic organizations (over fifty per square mile in 1950) also disappeared. The organizations dispersed steadily across the city towards the south and east, exponentially declining in geographic density (down to about one per square mile by 2000). I believe that this loss of "civic density" necessarily led to declining civic health because when groups are far apart, there are fewer opportunities for people from different walks of life to interact informally.

If you have further interest, I have set up a website for my thesis project at where I will continue to post.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On a happier note, Mayo Hotel to open this summer

I've just heard that the Mayo Hotel will opening in August 2009.

for info: The Mayo Hotel & Lofts 115 W. 5th St. Tulsa, OK 74103


A couple of pre-restoration photos of the Mayo I took in 2005 can be seen here.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

additional Temple Israel pics

I previously provided additional photos I took of Temple Israel for someone who wanted to include them with their on photos for this Flickr photoset here.

Old Temple Israel building burns

Bad news for the old Temple Israel building (from KJRH online):

Historic synagogue catches fire in early morning hours

Photo Courtesy News Channel8

Video of the fire here, courtesy NewsChannel8, which has reported that the interior walls have collapsed.

This is especially sad because Kevin Stephens recently purchased the building with a plan to turn it into a community arts building. Recent story about those plans from KOTV here.

I photographed the building, inside and out, for a chapter of my book Abandoned Tulsa. Although the book is now out of print, an online version is available for free here.

My pictures of the building in 2005 can be seen in the Abandoned Tulsa blog archives here.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

National Preservation Conference in Tulsa

This year's National Preservation Conference, a program of The National Trust for Historic Preservation, will be held in Tulsa, October 21-25, 2008.

I have been invited to give poster presentations on two topics:
Creative Documentation of Forsaken Environments: Abandoned Tulsa and Living Legacy: Oklahoma's All-Black Towns 100 Years after Statehood.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Abandoned Tulsa book now viewable online.

I have received several emails from people interested in finding a copy of Abandoned Tulsa as the first printing has now completely sold out. For those interested in looking at the book, a number of copies are available at the Tulsa libraries.

To make the book even more accessible, I have just posted a pdf version online at this site: I have also posted there a pdf copy of wish you were here: Oklahoma's All-Black Towns 100 Years After Statehood, but that pdf contains a blurb watermark since the book can still be purchased at

Please note that although copyright restrictions continue to apply, educators have permission to use the pdf versions of both books for any non-commercial use.

Abandoned Tulsa review

Many thanks to Dr. Jason Baird Jackson, Associate Professor of Folklore in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, for his discussion of my work here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

new photography book about Oklahoma's all-Black towns

My new photography book about Oklahoma's historic all-Black towns is now available for purchase online at
Click on the image below for details.
Oklahoma's All-Blac...
By Alison Zarrow

Friday, May 11, 2007

Abandoned Tulsa in PDN Photography Annual 2007

A series of images from Abandoned Tulsa was selected a student winner for the PDN (Photo District News) 2007 Annual.

Here's a link to an image posted on the online gallery: PDN Annual 2007.

PDN is a monthly publication for professional photographers; the 2007 Annual is the May issue.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Oklahoma's all-black towns - project in the pipeline

This summer I am working on a photodocumentary on Oklahoma's all-Black towns. This project is underwritten by a Fellowship from Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service and is in cooperation with Preservation Oklahoma.

In February 2007, the Town of Boley was named by Preservation Oklahoma and the State Historic Preservation Office as one of Oklahoma's most endangered historic places.

If you have comments or suggestions for this project, please email them to me at zarrowmail-ali {at}

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Camelot Hotel: Going, going, gone

Article in 4/11/2007 Tulsa World: Camelot Razing Sought

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.
(lyrics to Camelot reprise)

There's a chapter on the Camelot in my book. Take a look at the June 2005 archives of this blog for a few interior photos.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Camelot will remain despite I-44 widening

Article in today's Tulsa World


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sand Springs Home Documentary

Here's a link to article in the Tulsa World about a DVD documentary about the Sand Springs Home and its demolition: Remembering Home


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Abundant Life Building article

Today's front page of the Tulsa World features an article about the Abundant Life building, Oral Roberts' former headquarters. There's also another related article about the building's history. Last April I was lucky enough to get permission to photograph inside the building. There's a chapter on this building in my book. There are a couple of exterior photos and and old postcard in my April 2005 archives here.
Tulsa World articles:
Iconic Buidling Poses Dilemma
Building has Oral Roberts' Imprint

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Julia Solis interview

Julia Solis, author of the foreword to the Abandoned Tulsa book, was recently interviewed by the Village Voice.
Abandoned Tulsa
is mentioned briefly.
  • article
  • Labels:

    Saturday, March 18, 2006

    When I'm not photographing abandoned buildings, I'm shopping at:

    Saturday, February 25, 2006

    Rose Bowl Sold

    According to the February 25 Tulsa World, the Rose Bowl has been purchased for $295,000. According to the article, the building has been significantly vandalized since it was closed.

    The new owner is uncertain of his future plans, but is restricted by the seller, AMF, from using the building as a bowling alley.
    Here are two pictures selected from those that I took in March which were not previously posted or included in my book.

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    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Desk Graveyard, Lowell Junior High

    Desk Graveyard, Lowell Junior High (from Abandoned Tulsa) was recently selected as a finalist in the 12th Annual American Institute of Architects Miami International Photography Competition.

    Take out a new membership in the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture and receive an Epson 9600 color print of this photograph!
    Contact TFA at (918) 583-5550.


    Friday, February 03, 2006

    You can now buy Abandoned Tulsa at:

    • Borders - 2740 E 21st Street, Tulsa Tel: 918 712-9955
    • Steve's Books- 2162 S. Harvard, Tulsa Tel: 918 743-3544
    • Borders - 8015 S. Yale, Tulsa Tel: 918 494-2665
    • Furnace Press web site

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    Sand Springs Home

    The Sand Springs home was created as a home for orphans and widows by oilman Charles Page in 1908. The main building, erected in 1917, is now being prepared for demolition.


    More schools

    Thanks to the many folks who have emailed, written & posted comments on the site as a result of reading the Tulsa World article. Thanks also to those who have passed along suggestions of places to see. Here are a few places I've been lately:

    Mingo Elementary, near the Tulsa Airport on North Sheridan, was in its own school district, then was transferred to the Tulsa Public School System, and is now owned by the Tulsa Airport Authority.

    Mingo Elementary

    Irving School, built in 1909, is at the corner of West Admiral and North Maybelle.

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    Sunday, January 08, 2006

    Abandoned Tulsa book signing

    In conjunction with the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture, I will be signing copies of Abandoned Tulsa at the mid-town Borders (2740 E 21 Street) in Tulsa on Saturday, February 4th from 2-4 pm. Those who purchase the book at the signing and also take out a membership in the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture at that time will receive a print from the book.

    Beginning February 4, the mid-town Borders will be stocking the book; other Tulsa locations where the book can be purchased will be listed on this site.

    Abandoned Tulsa can also be purchased on the Furnace Press website

    2/4/06 Borders book signing

    Thanks to everyone who came!

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    Pre-order Abandoned Tulsa!

    The Furnace Press web site is now up & running for pre-orders of Abandoned Tulsa.

    (Click on Publications, then on the book cover)

    The book will also be available for purchase in Tulsa in February. Details to follow.

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Found 4,530 miles west of Sherwood Forest:

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Abandoned Tulsa, the book

    Abandoned Tulsa will be released in late January / early February by Furnace Press.

    Furnace is a publishing collaborative between Ars Subterranea, The Society for Creative Preservation, and Place in History, two New York organizations devoted to urban history and culture.

    Before too long you will be able to place a book order directly through the Furnace Press web site as well as locally in Tulsa. If you'd like to be notified when that web site is ready for orders, just send an email here.

    Abandoned Tulsa
    is one of three inaugural releases by Furnace.

    The book will consists of color and black & white photographs (most of which are not on this blog), essays about the buildings, and a variety of archival material never before published. It also includes a special foreword written by Julia Solis, author of New York Underground: Anatomy of a City.

    Sorry it's not in time for the holidays, but maybe in time for Valentine's Day!

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    Whittier: post-demo

    All that's now left is the empty lot at Lewis & I-244
    and a memorial on the corner.


    Whittier Elementary

    This school was built in 1917 with an extension added in 1929. I took these photos this summer, before this school and Lowell Jr. High (see earlier entry) were demo'd. Both schools received improvements through the Works Progress Administration in the late 1930's.

    WPA document courtesy
    Tulsa Public School Archives


    Friday, November 25, 2005

    Coming soon...

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Rose Bowl Update

    Fire at the Rose Bowl; arson suspected. See KOTV news.

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    visitors to Abandoned Tulsa