Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Adah Robinson Residence, 1927

1119 South Owasso Avenue
View of the front on the west side.

Teacher and designer Adah Robinson, with the help of her student Bruce Goff and Joseph Koberling, built her house and studio facing Tracy Park. This hollow tile and stucco Art Deco house has leaded glass windows, terrazzo floors and contemporary spaces decades ahead of its time. The two-story living room has an open balcony running the length of the room and a sunken conversation pit with a fireplace. The home was originally designed by Goff with only a two-burner kitchenette unit at the end of the dinning room. When this was discovered by Robinson, she insisted that Koberling build a kitchen. A small kitchen was inserted into a north corner of the house without disturbing the rest of the plan.
(Excerpted from the Tulsa Preservation Commission)

View of the north side.

View of the south side.

View of the front entrance.

Adah Matilda Robinson was a painter, printmaker, and art teacher in Tulsa art circles for three decades. Born July 13, 1882, in Richmond, Indiana, to Francis Wills and Catherine Robinson, she studied at Earlham College, at the Chicago Art Institute, and with Charles Hawthorne, George Elmer Browne, and John Carlson. In 1905 her family moved to Oklahoma City, where she taught art privately, then briefly at Epworth University, and afterward in the public schools. In 1916 or 1917 she moved to Tulsa to teach her specialty at Central High School and then privately. She founded the University of Tulsa Department of Art in 1928 and thereafter served as its chair. There she was instrumental in founding Alpha Rho Tau art fraternity, and she helped establish the Tulsa Art Association.

During Robinson's career, in addition to painting and printmaking, she articulated the intellectual concepts that guided the overall design of Tulsa's Boston Avenue Methodist Church, now a National Historic Landmark, and she is widely credited with responsibility for the elaborate decoration of the interior. She also redesigned the interiors of Tulsa's First and Second Churches of Christ, Scientist, when those buildings were renovated in 1935 and 1950, respectively. Adah Robinson died in Tulsa on March 10, 1962. (Excerpted from Oklahoma State digital library)


  1. Great post. I especially liked the photographs.

  2. Hmmmmm, a small kitchen? It's barely big enough for two people to fit in! And actually the 'kitchen' is in the SE corner of the orginal house, the house was added on to on the east side, it's like a huge sunroom now. The 'dining room' which is large enough for a table that is about 3x5 and 2 chairs is on the north side of the house. An exterior door is off of this area. This area is more like a foyer/hall that leads out to the large sunroom. There is a very nice pool on the north side of this sunroom.
    I have a friend who is a friend of the man who lives in this house. I had the pleasure of meeting him and visiting with him one day for a few hours. He himself is a retired architect.
    I was happy to see that this house has not been altered from it's original style. Not much has been changed inside and it has been well taken care of. I'd say it's about 99% original!

    1. This is fascinating, thank you! I hope it's been preserved as a national landmark.

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