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Automobile Alley - Looking Back

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: June 20, 2014
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I had fun Thursday night joining old friend Chad Huntington on a tour of Automobile Alley. Broadway is thriving these days, but we both remember a time when the area was a disaster zone – with seemingly no hope for a revival.

Sometimes, photos tell a lot more of the story than words. So let’s get to it:

First, Chad Huntington spoke about the St. Nicholas Hotel building, now home to Schlegal Bicycles at NW 8 and Broadway. The building was seriously damaged by the 1995 bombing, and then assumed destroyed by a five-alarm fire that followed just a few months later.

Nichols Hotel, 1950s
Nichols Hotel, 1950s
BUILDING EXTERIOR: MOOD OKC GROWTH in Automobile Alley on Thursday, July 21, 2011, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman   ORG XMIT: KOD
BUILDING EXTERIOR: MOOD OKC GROWTH in Automobile Alley on Thursday, July 21, 2011, in Oklahoma City, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Magnolia Petroleum Building:

Magnolia Building early 1990s when service station area was closed with windows and home to an office supply store.
Magnolia Building early 1990s when service station area was closed with windows and home to an office supply store.
The Magnolia building today.
The Magnolia building today.
The C.R. Anthony Building before the windows were covered and after the building was renovated to what it is today.
The C.R. Anthony Building before the windows were covered and after the building was renovated to what it is today.

Now for the curious case of the Fifth Avenue Lofts, previously home to Wesbanco. If one visits the site of Boyington Properties, you see the following newspaper clipping was used as the basis for renovating it into what it is today:

So by this logic, the building was renovated to look like this:

But that’s not quite right. In fact, it’s not right at all. The following photo shows how the building appeared in its earliest years:

Oh how I wish it looked like this today.

More photos of the building over the years:

The Fifth Avenue Lofts building as it appeared for years until it was renovated in the late 1990s.
The Fifth Avenue Lofts building as it appeared for years until it was renovated in the late 1990s.

Red Prime Steakhouse, the earliest Buick dealership in the state:

 

One more set of shots of the 1015 and 1007 N Broadway buildings, now home to Coffee Slinger, Cardinal Engineering and Rawhide.

 

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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