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“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”

Don’t let this happen to the Tulsa Skyride!

The line quoted above is from the old song “Big Yellow Taxi” written by Joni Mitchell. I have not heard Mitchell’s recordings of the song, only the one at the link. The lyrics are dated and mildly political. Apart from any controversy over the lyrics, she nails it with, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” It’s come true way too many times.

It happens a lot of times when things are taken for granted. People think that many of the things and places that they like will always be there. Until they’re not.

Tulsa is well-known for its stunning collection of Art Deco architecture. But how much Art Deco was torn down (perhaps for a parking lot, like the song says)? In 2008 when the National Preservation Conference was held in Tulsa, attendees were dazzled at the sight of Tulsa’s Art Deco. However, they also lamented how many of Tulsa’s Art Deco gems were lost to demolition. Those irreplaceable structures are gone and not coming back.

Tulsa’s Art Deco is a big part of what makes Tulsa special. Imagine how much stronger Tulsa’s Art Deco portfolio might be had ways been found to save classic Art Deco structures rather than tear them down.

When more and more things that make Tulsa special and unique are lost, Tulsa becomes less special and more ordinary.

Friends of the Skyride

The Tulsa Skyride has a lot of friends. These include people who grew up going to the Tulsa State Fair and always riding the skyride. They’ve grown to love the skyride and cherish all the memories they have of their experiences on the ride. Others include former Bell’s employees, some who worked the skyride and some who just appreciated the skyride. Other friends of the skyride include post-Bell’s crew members and others who have performed work on the ride in a variety of capacities. The skyride has friends who have traveled from afar to visit the Tulsa State Fair and ride this skyride because the skyride they used to enjoy is long gone (for example, San Antonio’s much-missed skyride). The Tulsa Skyride’s friends also include all the families that have been enjoying the skyride year after year until the pandemic hit. Friends of the Tulsa Skyride are like a big, extended family, united in their appreciation of this Tulsa treasure.

And then, several weeks ago some of the Tulsa Skyride’s friends alerted me that the skyride was endangered and needed my help. “But wait! I can’t take this on right now! I don’t have the bandwidth…”

About the Author and Photographer

[More to come.]