Sunday, November 15, 2009

Great Music, Great Spaces, Great Images: Mayo Hotel

This afternoon at 2:00 was the third in the series of Great Music, Great Spaces, and Great Images. The first was last Sunday at Boston Avenue Methodist Church and the second was Thursday evening at the Performing Arts Center. We didn't make the second. The third was the one I really wanted to see because it was at the recently restored Mayo Hotel, at 115 West 5th Street. The Mayo was built in 1924 and for a long time was Tulsa's premier hotel. It fell into decline in the 1970s and was closed for a time. It looked like we were going to lose it but it was saved by the people of Phillips Slaughter Rose who began its restoration in 2001.

The Mayo was built with 600 rooms, a grand ballroom and enough meeting rooms to be a prime site for large conferences. It had restaurants and shops in the basement to provide a convenient venue for groups of all sizes.

In 1964 I did my practice teaching at old Tulsa Central High School and made some friends who got me interested in the SPEBSQSA, that is the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. They had several quartets in the group and a large chorus. It was a lot of fun. We rehearsed in one of the meeting rooms at the Mayo and I was there every Monday night. What I remember most was that just inside the main lobby entrance was a spacious men's room made entirely of marble. It had a nice echo and the acoustics were perfect for acapello quartet singing.

A chamber sized group of musicians from the Tulsa Symphony performed a great program of music by Jacques Ibert, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, and Darius Milhaud in the restored Crystal Ballroom.

The ballroom has been completely restored to its original 1924 beauty. It was in rough shape with part of the ceiling falling down and water damage everywhere. All of the ornamentation was created new to match the original. It is really beautiful. And the music was great too.

After the performance we went up to see the penthouse on the 16th floor, which has also been restored. It is all wood paneling and stained glass windows. Very elegant.

All the overstuffed furniture is leather and very comfortable. It is what a elegant penthouse should be.

From the windows and outdoor terrace is a grand view of Tulsa. It looks west up the Arkansas River. The view would be better if it were not raining, but this is quite a place.


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Funny that the dominant color scheme seems to be white, most hotel have warmer tones. I like it though, makes it look very classy.

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

When renovating something that was 85 years old there were many layers of different colors on the walls. The bottom layer was ivory so they went with the original. I agree that it looks very classy.

DrillerAA said... [Reply to comment]

The 1965 Senior class of Edison had our banquet and prom at the Mayo. I still have a souvenir goblet from the occasion. I will definitely have to find a reason to return to the scene of the crime for a glimpse.

Yogi♪♪♪ said... [Reply to comment]

I think the Mayo restoration is quite the success story. It was in sad shape when we moved to town in 1992. They spent a considerable amount of money. I haven't seen the interior yet even though I work right across the street.