The Camelot Hotel Of Tulsa, Oklahoma
A landmark hotel of the Tulsa area has been slowly being demolished throughout the months of December. Reporters on the local news described it as going from an icon to an eyesore. I never stayed at the hotel but throughout the years I’ve always studied it and admired it.
Here’s a site with several recent pictures @ Losttulsa.com
A demolition dinosaur gets destructive
Soon this hotel of creative design will be completely demolished, just a large pile of rubble needing to be removed. Plans are to build the 500th QuickTrip store in its place and widen nearby Interstate 44. The QuickTrip corporation started in Tulsa, has it’s headquarters here and the new store will be a commemorative one. I must give respect to the leadership of this corporation in how they have caringly handled the demolition of this landmark. I felt as if they have torn down the building in a kind way. I get the impression they could have chosen to set up an implosion to bring the building down but since they are a family of native Oklahomans, like most, they probably have memories connected with the hotel.
I took my Mom to see it towards the end of the heavy machinery tearing it down. I’ve had the opportunity to drive by a couple of other times and get pictures throughout the demolition.
Memories of the Camelot for me, go back to my childhood. I used to live in West Tulsa and would drive by with my mom on Friday nights as we were on our way to clean a bank building. I was probably around the age of 10 and when we would drive by I would imagine that was where princesses and princes would stay. You know, like the ones who live happily ever after in fairytales. The popular Peoria avenue was always marked by the hotel. When you could see the Camelot in the distance from I-44 it would soon be time to exit if you wanted to “cruise” Peoria.
In my early marriage days, my husband and I lived in an apartment just a few blocks down the road right off the street of Peoria. While we lived there, 10-15 years ago, the health department condemned the building and the windows began to get boarded up. It wasn’t long before a cult bought the old hotel and had intended to rennovate but nothing ever happened. There were rumors that asbestos was present.
When I worked at a local factory I met a woman who had been the kitchen manager for years at the hotel. I loved the stories she told. I wish I could remember all the famous names she dropped. She would tell of their special orders and sometimes how they would act in the wrong ways due to an excess use of alcoholic beverages.
Our local Tulsa news mentioned that Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon stayed at the landmark hotel.
My mom mentioned that she remembered going to a book sale and walking into the hotel across a “mote”. Mom said it was a big deal when the hotel was built in the ’60’s.
The Camelot’s mark on Tulsa’s history has come to a close. That’s okay. I really hope the new QuikTrip that takes it place will be creative and interestingly built so that as people drive by, they won’t say, “That’s where the Camelot used to be. I hope instead people will say, “I’m impressed. QuikTrip did good in “filling the shoes” of the former occupant.