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Biscuit building still stands

Mary Phillips Published: January 17, 2013
Iten's Biscuit Co. / bakery
Iten's Biscuit Co. / bakery
Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, at top, with I-40 and Bricktown in Oklahoma City Friday, Jan. 30, 2009. BY PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND, THE OKLAHOMAN
Producers Cooperative Oil Mill, at top, with I-40 and Bricktown in Oklahoma City Friday, Jan. 30, 2009. BY PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND, THE OKLAHOMAN

Jan. 1, 1913, was a time of celebration for Oklahoma City.

The new year had arrived with hope of great things, but Oklahoma City was also looking back at the successes of 1912 and hoping that new and more businesses were on the horizon.

Much new business had come to the city in 1912 along with much construction.

A building that met the dawning of 1913 was also here for the Opening Night celebration of 2013.

A story from The Oklahoman for Oct. 13, 1912, stated that: “The first two weeks’ operation of the new $250,000 Oklahoma City plant of the Iten Biscuit company finds orders piling up so fast that the packing force is hardly able to keep up with them, notwithstanding the daily additions to the force that are being made.”

“…In this 150×140-foot (building), carrying, in its five stories and basement 126,000 square feet of storage capacity, everything entering into the production and distribution of crackers and cakes is manufactured.”

“Even the packing boxes are made at the plant. There is a loading dock of six doors, all under cover and lighted with electricity. The furnaces are on the top floor and the processes are all downward, the very laws of gravitation being utilized to effect speed and economy in the producing and distributing agencies.”

OKLAHOMA CITY BUILDINGS / ICING ROOM / DEPOSITING MACHINE: Iten Biscuit Co.
OKLAHOMA CITY BUILDINGS / ICING ROOM / DEPOSITING MACHINE: Iten Biscuit Co.

One concept that was unusual for 1912, but was incorporated into the building, was that each floor had its own breakroom and bathrooms.

It’s hard to imagine that being considered “cutting edge,” but those of us who work in multi-storied buildings are grateful the idea caught on.

The biscuit company served Oklahoma City well for nearly 30 years.

OKLAHOMA CITY BUILDINGS / BAKE SHOP OVENS AND CRACKER MACHINES / BAKING ROOM: Iten Biscuit Co.
OKLAHOMA CITY BUILDINGS / BAKE SHOP OVENS AND CRACKER MACHINES / BAKING ROOM: Iten Biscuit Co.

Then it was acquired by Nabisco, next the Folding Carrier Company and, finally, its current owner, U-Haul Storage.

The 6,000 windows have been covered, but the building still stands and remains a solid part of downtown Oklahoma City

Today we recognize it best by the U-Haul truck that sits on the roof, and while the Crosstown Bridge no longer passes next to the building, it is still visible to citizens and visitors.

May the Devon Energy building and other buildings built in 2012, and the businesses they generate, endure as well as the Iten/U-Haul building.