Category Archives: USA

Price Tower/Frank Llyod Wright Skyscraper

Bartlesville, Oklahoma was not on my bucket list.

My daughter lives in Tulsa and suggested we visit Bartlesville and stay in the Price Tower, a forty-five-minute drive from her home.

Price Tower, located in Bartlesville, is one of the only two “skyscrapers” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

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The Price Tower caught my eye and I wanted to visit and find out more about it.

Lisa, my daughter, is not a Frank Lloyd Wright follower, but I am a volunteer tour guide at Taliesen West in Scottsdale, Arizona and she wanted to give me a birthday present. She made a reservation at the Price Tower for one night. She knows what makes her mom happy.

The tower is nineteen stories tall. It opened in 1956. FLW originally designed Price Tower as a skyscraper in Manhatten, New York in the 1930s. The project never went forward because of the Depression.

The Price Tower was called “the tree that escaped the crowded forest”. The crowded forest was Manhatten. The rooms within the building branch out like those of a tree. The trunk of the tree makes its way through the center of the building. There are three elevators and each floor. They are big enough for two people and one suitcase. Ascending the floors on the elevator feels like traveling through the trunk of a tree.

FWL installed levers on the sides of the building that moved back and forth to block the wind. They no longer work.

Harold Price owned oil pipelines and became the largest welding contractor in Mid-America by 1926. Bartlesville was a booming oil town at the time.

Mr. Price wanted a building three stories high and planned on putting a hair salon, a dress shop, and a gift shop. He proposed the price of $75,000. The ending price was much more. Frank Lloyd Wright added on features that were not requested by Mr. Price.

Frank Lloyd Wright had other ideas. He convinced Mr. Price to build the tower to nineteen floors. He told Price that he would recoup the money by renting the rooms out as living quarters, apartments. Mr. Price was not convinced, but he went along with the idea.

Bartlesville now has a nineteen-floor “hotel” in the middle of a town with a population of 36,389 as of 2017. The building is built of cement blocks, mahogany doors, turquoise carpet, and various types of chairs. The windows are tinted in a copper color. Copper represents the “leaves” of the trees. The drapes in some of the rooms are made from woven copper.

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Frank Lloyd Wright used triangles in his design of the building. Price Tower mostly features 30- and 60-degree angles, with triangles everywhere.

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The roof is made of the tectum for fireproof.  Price Tower represents the usual designs of FLW. Common materials, open planning, furniture design by him, and industrial type kitchens crammed in the corner of the apartments.

 

There were eight apartments in the building. Some of the apartments didn’t have draperies or artwork. He didn’t want anyone to be distracted by the beauty he had created. His furniture was built in, he didn’t want anyone to be moving it around. He used cast aluminum chairs. The sofas and chairs were red and diagonal in shape. Not the kind of chairs that make you feel comfortable.

FLW designed the dishes that the renters in the apartments ate from. He designed coffee cups with a red design so that women’s lipstick did not show up on the cups. He didn’t like women’s lipstick on cups.

The rents were expensive and it was hard to find tenants. The rooms were odd shapes and were not designed for entertaining your friends. Many of the tenants moved out. They couldn’t live their lives within triangles.

The Price Tower was redesigned to be a hotel. There are twenty- one hotel rooms. The room we stayed in was a suite. It was surrounded by windows.

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We spent more time in the room in the evening because it was raining. The toilet paper roll, towel rack, and lighting fixtures were copper. We had a full view of the town and of the prairie. I didn’t find the view extraordinary. There were no mountains, lakes or trees to see.

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The Price Tower belongs to the Price Tower Arts Center. Oil prices collapsed in the 1980s at Bartlesville was left with a lesser population and many of the businesses ceased to exist.

Note: Check for tour times before you visit. They are not open every day. You are not allowed to take photos of the rooms that served as apartments. You are not allowed to sit on the furniture. https://www.pricetower.org/

Outpost is the best place for coffee.

There are a few places to have dinner and breakfast.

 

 

 

11 Cowboy Slang words for “Hot”

Cowboy Slang

Edgar “Frosty” Potter

Have you ever wondered how cowboys communicate?

Here are 11 examples of describing “hot”.

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So hot it’d slip hair on a polar bear.

So damn hot that if a man died an’ went to hell, he’d feel like wirin’ home for a couple blankets

The heat would loosen the bristles on a wild hog.

If somebody had stuck a fork in me, they’d a-found me well done.

It took me two hours to blow a cup of coffee cool.

Even the shade of a bob-wire fence didn’t help me.

So damned hot the prunes started a stewin’ in their own juice.

So hot and dry a grass-widder wouldn’t take root.

We had to feed the chickens cracked ice to keep ’em from layin’ hard-boiled aigs.

Hot ‘nough to sunburn a horned toad.

So damn dry, the bushes follow the dogs around.

7 Facts about Hi Jolly

hijolly_Fotor_FotorHe is buried in Quartzsite, Arizona.

His grave is a pyramid topped with a copper silhouette of a  camel. He died while he was trying to round up a camel who had been scaring the people in the Arizona desert. He was lying next to a dead camel with one of his arms wrapped around the camel’s neck. He died in 1902.

He was a Greek-Syrian and his name was Haji Ali.

Everyone who knew him could not pronounce his name so they gave him the name of Hi Jolly. He was born with the name Philip Tedro. He changed his name to Haji Ali when he converted to Islam.

He worked for the American Government

On March 3, 1855, lawmakers appropriated thirty thousand dollars for a project called the US Camel Corps. Thirty-five camels and five camel drivers were sent to the US. The climate in the Southwest was hot and the terrain was rugged. This proved to be rough for the horses. The experiment with the camels was put into place. Camels didn’t need as much water and could walk longer distances. One of those brave camel drivers was Hi Jolly.

The US Camel Corps came to an end

The camels terrorized the horses, dogs, chickens, and other animals. They bit and spit.

The camels were released into the desert and wandered around. Hi Jolly tried to round them up and put them to work.

Hi Jolly tried to become an entrepreneur

He established a freight line using the camels from Yuma to Tucson. The venture failed because Hi Jolly was not a good businessman.

He became an American citizen in 1880

He worked for the army as a packer and scout at Fort McDowell. He got married and had two children.

He abandoned his family and went looking for gold

He wandered through the desert but never found his pot of gold.

 

Hi Jolly was one of the many men who perished while wandering in the mountains and deserts looking for gold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Stops on Route 66/AZ

Plans to walk in the steps of the Shogun, eat yakitori on the street, visit Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and the Imperial Gardens were washed away by a typhoon on October 12, 2019.

Now, what. I had pet sitters from Australia in my home until October 24. My friend Ruth Ann and I put together a plan. Take a Route 66 road trip. Ruth Ann and I have the same adventurous spirit. We mapped out a plan and reserved our hotel rooms. We were ready.

Stop 1

Winslow, Arizona

Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. The corner commemorates the song “Take It Easy” which was written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey and most famously recorded by the Eagles.

This window is located on the outside of a store that sells t-shirts, postcards, and other Eagle souvenirs.

A door opening to a garden at the hotel Posada

The Posada Hotel

The first hotel was built in 1887 but burnt down in 1914. La Posada was rebuilt and opened in 1930. The Santa Fe Railroad stops in Williams and many passengers disembark and stay at the Posada an oasis in the desert. It is the last hotel standing which employed the Harvey Girls.

The hotel is pricey. Don’t pass up having dessert or lunch in the Turquoise Room.

Stop 2

Holbrook, AZ

We traveled to Holbrook to spend the night. We arrived in the dark after driving miles out of the way because Ruth Ann decided she knew where she was going. The directions on the GPS pointed in another direction. The closer we got to Alberquerque, my trusty driver, Ruth Ann, decided to listen to my directions. We turned around on I40 and Ruth was determined to find wigwams by the side of the road. We didn’t.

Ruth Anne’s dream was to stay at the Wigwam Hotel. That is why she was looking for wigwams. My directions led us to the Wigwam Hotel in Holbrook. We parked the car and walked into the reception room.

A young girl was sitting on the couch watching TV and munching on popcorn.

“We have reservations for tonight,” I said

“It’s the one in California.” She replied

Ruth Ann and I looked at each other wondering why she thought we had made a reservation in California.

“I made the reservation online.” Ruth Ann insisted

“No, I think I made the reservation. Can you look to see if our name is in your system?” I said

“No, it’s for the one in California. Our guests have all checked in.”

Ruth Ann and I are confused.

“Do you have any rooms available?”

“No, we are full.”

“Ok thanks”

We went out to the car and looked at each other again and broke out in laughter. We drove to the next streetlight and took a left. There were more hotels.

We stopped at Best Western and got a room with a free breakfast.

The next morning we went back to the Wigwam Hotel to take pictures. It was not what we expected. The people who had stayed the night before were all motorcyclists. The wigwams had no windows and were very small. We were relieved that they did not have a reservation for us.

Our next trip will take us to the Wigwam in California some other day.

Stop 3

Ash Fork

Ashfork is part of the longest original section of Route 66, ninety-two miles from Flagstaff. The population of Ash Fork is three hundred sixty people. It is the highest desert town in Arizona surrounded by National Forests. Ash Fork burnt to the ground in 1893.

The only restroom available is inside the Ash Fork Route 66 museum.

Once you step into the museum you experience the southwest history of more than one hundred and fifty years. The museum has a collection of various items from time in the past. Colorful rugs, pottery, and other nicknacks are on the walls, floors, and bookshelves.

A full-scale model of the Escalante Hotel (1906-1948) is on display. One of the Harvey Girls who was left behind in the rush to get out of town sits at the piano waiting for someone to make a request for her to play a song.

Note: There are no hotels or restaurants in town.

Stop 4

Seligman, AZ

Our next stop was Seligman, AZ. at Delgadillo’s Snow Cap restaurant built out of scrap lumber in 1953 right next to an old Texaco station. Over 500,000 out-of-state cars passed through the Arizona portion of Route 66 in 1937. In 1978 I-40 opened up and towns like Seligman were left in the dust because people found it faster traveling the interstate.

Route 66’s heyday was over. Delgadillo’s is the only restaurant to survive. Its Cheeseburgers are made with real cheese and the fried chicken makes use of dead chickens.

The walls of Delgadillo’s are plastered with money, business cards, and messages from all over the world. You will be squirted with mustard as you order but no need to worry, it is not real. The people who take your order will give you a quirky name to answer to when your order is ready.

As you wait, take a walk around the place. Green, pink, and red metal lawn chairs waiting for you to sit and get comfortable. An antique white truck sits in the front of the restaurant with a Santa sitting in the driver’s seat with his hands on the steering wheel waiting to take you for a ride.

Sit at the picnic table and enjoy the life of the past.

Note: There are no hotels in the town. Restrooms are found outside of the restaurant.

Stop 5

Kingman, AZ

Do you want a unique experience on Route 66? Stay at the El Trovatore. The outside walls are painted with murals honoring famous cartoons and a map of Route 66. The rates are cheap and the rooms are themed. There is nothing fancy about this hotel. We woke up and there was no hot water.

Mr. D’s is an iconic place to eat. The menu is extensive and the decor is from way back when. Elvis stands to the side of the entrance waiting for you to take a selfie.

Spaniards came to Kingman looking for gold in the 1500s. The first camel corps lead by Edward Beale located water near downtown Kingman while surveying the land to build a wagon road. Unlike most of the towns on Route 66, Kingman is a thriving little town. Tourism helps to keep the town alive.

Ther are places of entertainment, museums and historic sited, parks, and hiking trails. Choices of restaurants and hotels are abundant.

Note: There are plenty of restrooms.

Stop 6

Cool Springs, AZ

Get your kicks on Route 66 at Cool Springs

This is a one-horse town or maybe a one-car town. Don’t drive fast on this stretch or you will drive by the only gift shop for another fifty miles.

The couple who owns the shop is very friendly. The owner gets angry if you don’t park in the designated parking spots. He offers to take your picture while you get your kicks on Route 66.

Note: There is a small public restroom. You can buy sandwiches, hot dogs and drinks.

 

Stop 7

Oatman, AZ

   

Donkeys (Burros) rule this town.

Oatman is another deserted mine from times gone by. It is now a tourist destination (trap) where everyone can get to know a donkey. They wander the streets and don’t belong to anyone in particular. They wait outside the candy store for unsuspecting visitors who have opened bags of chocolates and try to grab your purchase. There is a sign hanging on the inside of the store warning visitors to guard their stash of candy because of the four-footed thieves waiting patiently outside for their sugar fix.

There are “donkey treats” you can buy at the end of the street.

Oatman’s “wild” burros are the descendants of burros brought here by the miners in the late 1800s; when the miners no longer needed them, they were turned loose. Each morning they come into town looking for food. They wander the streets and greet the tourists. Burro pellets and carrots are for sale at many of the shops — the burros will eat all day if you feed them. Shortly before sunset they wander back to the hills for the night.

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My trip to Japan was not to be, but that didn’t stop me from cruising the state I have lived in for so long and know so little about.
Come visit Arizona and its quirky mining towns of the past.

 

 

7 Things to Know about the Arizona State Capitol Building

The Arizona State Capitol Building does not have a gold plated dome, copper chandeliers or turquoise gems. It is small and simple.

Entrance to Arizona State Capitol
  • Bryan Deppa designed the Capitol building in 1898. The US president gave Arizona $100,000.00 to help with expenses. It was renovated by Gerald Doyle in the 1970s.
Arizona State Capitol Building
  • James Reily Gordman donated the land on which the Capitol sits. He owned the buildings around the property and was hoping to make a profit from the homes and apartments. The land he donated was a park.
  • The builders used local materials and manual labor. The granite came from South Mountain and makes up the first floor of the building. Malapai rock came from Camelback Mountain and used for the second floor. Tuff stone came from Yavapai county and was used on the top floor. The wood was collected from five different states.
Winged Victory
  • The Weather Vane is in the shape of NIKE, the Greek goddess of victory, sits on top of the dome. The Weather Vane was given the name Winged Victory. She was purchased for $160 from an architectural catalog. When she was first installed the cowboys of the days would ride by and use her for target practice. Bullet holes riddled her body until they took her down to give her a makeover. She still has a few bullet holes left.
  • The Original dome was not made of copper. It was too expensive at the time. It was built of sheet metal and painted the color of copper.
Arizona State Seal
  • Arizona is known for the five Cs. Copper, Climate, Cotton, Cattle and Citrus. The state seal is missing the cow. An Ohio man designed the seal without ever visiting Arizona. The seal arrived and was installed as a mosaic. The mistake of the missing cow was expensive to fix. The seal was left in its original condition.
  • In 1957 Frank Lloyd Wright submitted his proposal for a new capital building. It was rejected because of the expense. He wanted to move the capitol building to Tempe which would have violated the Arizona Constitution.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2019/07/22/frank-lloyd-wright-arizona-capitol-building-the-oasis-valley-101/1781043001/

Murals You Don’t Want to Miss in Prescott, AZ

A picture is worth a thousand words. Take a walk around the town of Prescott and venture off the beaten path. You will be rewarded the view of these murals inspired by artists from around the world.

My description of these works of art would interfere with your interpretation. I will not provide a description. I ask you to look at them carefully and reflect on what you see.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Traveling is wandering. When you have the time to wander you find places not listed in the “must see” events listed in a guide book or on an app. Take the time to look around and let me know if you find something you didn’t expect to see.

Happy Travels!

Arcosanti: Is it a future living space?

Entrance to Arcosanti (Carol Kubota)

Imagine living with six thousand people in the middle of the desert. Your housing unit is stacked on top of another making the building a honeycomb structure.

Living quarters and the amphitheater ( Carol Kubota)

You would take part in musical performances in the lower levels of the structure. This structure fills up with water during a performance. The water comes from below the surface.

You have a kitchen to prepare your food. The nearest town with a village supermarket is fifteen miles away. The road is not paved and has mud crevices on both sides. Not a place you want to travel after or during a rain. You and your 5,999 neighbors would grow all of the food you need to eat in the middle of the desert and not much grows without an underground water source. A community cafeteria prepares food where you can sit and eat and get along with all of your neighbors. There is only one problem. The cook left because there was no money to pay him and now the cafeteria is empty. There is a coke machine with a few bottles of soda and water.

The design studio (Carol Kubota)

Paolo Solari, an Italian and an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, planned to build a futuristic utopian city. No cars or any other types of public transportation would exist. Volunteers, artists, and concrete people would volunteer to make the place come alive.

It didn’t work out the way Solari planned. He was short on money. The volunteers had no money and were working for a free space to live. They built the walls from concrete, silt dug up from the desert soil. Solari like his teacher and mentor Frank Lloyd Wright built with concrete cast in the earth. They were both organic architects. Solari’s vision was to develop a civilization, Wright’s vision was to develop for urbanization. Solari referred to Wright’s vision as a failure.

The desert view from the community room (Carol Kubota)

Olive and fig trees provide shade for the summer and help to keep the buildings cool. The total land space is 4400 acres. The people who live here are part of an urban experiment. Seventy-five people inhabit the limited living space. Students live in the upper apartments in shared spaces and don’t have cooking facilities in their rooms. They have a bed, a desk, and a lamp and very few personal items. Our tour guide lives in one of the shared spaces. She makes $250 per month from tips that the guests leave with her after the tour. Her rent is free and she works eight hours a day. She lives here because she feels that there is too much stimulation in the outside world. She likes the peacefulness of her living situation. She doesn’t feel lonely because there is always someone to talk too. Every window in the living quarters looks out onto the untouched desert. There is a trail that leads to the bottom of the gorge.

Look out from the cafeteria window (Carol Kubota)

Solari’s idea sprung from “arcology”. Architecture and ecology, a field of creating architectural design principles for densely populated ecologically low impact human habitats. There is shading in summer and a greenhouse effect is used for heat in the winter. The idea is to densify the living space and conserve the natural environment. The place is isolated. There is experimental gardening. The idea is to grow up, not out. There are an amphitheater and performance center. Different activities take place during the year and the public is invited to attend. The idea is that arcology settlements could solve the problems that society deals with. Loneliness, spending too much money, becoming greedy, and only thinking about yourself. The money earned to keep the place up is the sale of Solari’s bells which are made on site.

A living space designed for shade (Carol Kubota)

The occupants of the buildings share in the cleaning of the public spaces. There are no janitors, policemen, doctors, or hospitals. People take care of each other. The people who live here are the CEO, painters, potters, an art instructor who travels to Prescott to teach in a community college. One child lives on campus and is home schooled. The rent and the cost of living are low and the pay is minimal.

The “city” is being built without money or professionals. Failure and success are part of the deal. How can the next step be made more promising than the last?

Hope is never lost (Carol Kubota)

Solari passed away and left his people to figure out how to proceed without him. His dream and vision live on. There is no foundation to guide everyone. The current CEO has been on the board for less than one year.

The lessons we can learn on the impact of human habitation or any given ecosystem could be self-sustenance to reduce the human impact on natural resources. Pedestrian economies have proven to be difficult to achieve in other ways. Can society move backward?

Arcosanti was established in 1970 and is still a work in progress.

A vision of the future in the middle of the Arizona desert (Carol Kubota)

Arcosanti is located on I75 going North. The road leading to Arcosanti is not paved. The entrance fee is a donation of $10 per person. There are no eating or drinking facilities on the campus. You can take your dog on the tour.