Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tulsa Fairgrounds Pavilion, 1932

Tulsa Fairgrounds (South Louisville Ave., and East 17th St.)
Photo courtesy of Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society

Built in 1932, the Fairgrounds Pavilion is an Art Deco treasure. An extremely flexible arena, it can go from ice floor to basketball court to concert seating in a matter of hours.

Designed by architect L. I. Shumway, the arena was built as a WPA project during the great depression. It seats about 6500 in a variety of configurations and hosts ice hockey, rodeos, basketball games and rock concert

The Art Deco ornamentation reflects an agricultural motif as is appropriate for a fairgrounds. The interior also contains Art Deco decoration. With the Great Depression came PWA Art Deco. The Public Works Administration, part of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, provided construction jobs that included government and public buildings. Tulsa is noted for its many Art Deco Buildings.


  1. I was watching THE WILL ROGERS STORY film starring his son Will Rogers Jr. and at the beginning of the movie they showed a shot of waht looked like the Tulsa Pavilion but there was a tower and a statue of WR on horseback. I've seen the statue at the memorial in Claremore.
    Was there ever a tower at the pavilion or was I seeing something different?

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