Abundant Life Building

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City/Town: Tulsa
Location Class: Commercial
Year Built: Around 1958
Year Abandoned: 1980's
Status: EndangeredNational Register of Historic Places
Photojournalist: Billy DixonDavid LindeJohnny Fletcher

“In the yellowed pages of an old newspaper, local officials called the building “one of Tulsa’s finest” and a peek at the “future of our city.” But the future hasn’t turned out quite the way people expected.

Some five decades after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, local officials are calling that same building an “eyesore” and a “disaster,” an abandoned hulk standing in the way of development.

Constructed in 1958 as the world headquarters for the Oral Roberts ministry, the Abundant Life Building looks something like a 7-story-tall concrete block.

The modernist architect, Cecil Stanfield, didn’t bother to include windows — a feature that was supposed to reduce the energy bill. At the time, the windowless bulk was said to make the design fresh and innovative.” – Ref. Tulsa World

There is still an ongoing battle between the current owner (who is facing major fines because of code violations) and the city as to what will become of the building. Its also referred to as the “Diamond Building” or the “Diamond Tower”.

I’d like to point out that this building was one of the creepiest places I have ever been in. 7 stories, no windows, and pitch black hallways and rooms gave this place a creep factor of 9 out of 10.

I know its been a mystery as to what was inside this building. Inside is basically an office building frozen in the 1980’s. A leaky roof is destroying the interior. Some neat features are an entrance lobby with marble walls, a very large freight elevator going down to the basement and a projector room overlooking a large open room on the top floor.  Also, unless you have the ability to walk through walls, there is no way in.

 

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Tulsa Skyline
Tulsa Skyline
8 years ago

I have been DYING to see this place, how did you get in? Does one simply just drive up at night and slip in through the back door? I am looking to get into ruin photography, and I feel this would be a great start.

Anonymous
Anonymous
Reply to  Tulsa Skyline
3 years ago

You have to go in through the drainage on the back side

Jena
8 years ago

Hey our family simply love your amazing website and please carry forward

Mark Walker
Mark Walker
9 years ago

What's the story on the repaired damage on the back of the building on the NW corner. It looks like a parabolic hole in the building was repaired given that some of the original brick bordering the repair shows damage that looks to be caused by a shearing force. The widest part of the repair, at the corner of the building, is the full height (3 stories?) of center (waist) section of the building.

Lady Lelouch
Lady Lelouch
9 years ago

Well Tulsa, that's what happens when you don't take care of your buildings. They become eyesores.

David
David
9 years ago

Does anyone know who the actual owner of the building is? I've been very interested in pursuing restoring this building, back into it's original glory on the exterior, as well as other plans for the interior. I've been tracking the Freese project for over a year, and haven't seen any development. It's a beautiful rendering, but would be a total shame to see such a distinct architectural piece be torn down. It's a piece of Tulsa's personality…. I'd hate to see it go.

Zach Carpenter
Zach Carpenter
Reply to  David
9 years ago

David, I too am persuing buying this building. Please contact me @ zach.s.carpenter@gmail.com

Iamcde
Iamcde
Reply to  David
7 years ago

Tulsa county treasure, Dennis Miller, should have information because the owners owes the city money according to a newson6 article from 12/20/12. Tulsa county court clerk or a title company may also be able to help. The article also reads there are court proceedings at this time, court records should lead you to other owner.

Jeff
Jeff
Reply to  Iamcde
4 years ago

It's a pile of garbage. No windows. Seriously no windows for pete sake.

Clifford Dean Sneary
Clifford Dean Sneary
Reply to  David
1 month ago

State federal savings and loan had it for years. Then it was the RTC Had it. And let it go.
Asbestos has to be removed. And its everywhere. Can’t be inhabited until the asbestos is removed.
The basement flooded too.
Its been vacant for over 30 years.

eugene gant
eugene gant
9 years ago

Can someone verify or look into this…. the website for Freese Architecture at 1634 S. Boston has a portfolio on this building proposing turning it into a 12-story mixed use residential and commercial facility. Impressive renderings on the website. I don't know if this is a proposal waiting for investors, or the real deal. Check it out

Carol
Carol
9 years ago

I too worked for SW Bell there from 1973 to 1976. We were told that the small rooms ringing the perimeter of the large room on each floor were for opening mail, which was generally full of money (in the Oral Roberts days). It was pretty hellish working for them at the time, and the person who mentioned having to speak on a phone in the lobby offices to someone upstairs was correct, it was extremely rare to actually see a customer service rep in person. Working for them was an experience embodying all the cliches you can imagine (or… Read more »

granit murah
Reply to  Carol
4 years ago

agree

John
John
9 years ago

Yes, there was a recording and Tv broadcast studio. In the basement was an electronics room that was state of the art for the era There was the capability to multi-reproduce all of the media that had been recorded. As a teenager I was awed to go behind the walls/doors of this facility. I actually was privy to not only see Oral Roberts personal office but to sit in his chair, behind his desk. During this time and in later years my future and late Mother-in-Law was an employed by the Ministry, at this location. In later years my late… Read more »

John
John
9 years ago

As a teenager in the late 1950's I visited this building with a church youth minister who was also an Oral Roberts employee.
The building was multi- faceted.
It had a prayer room, staffed with telephone persons that prayed with those that would call with personal concerns.
There was a mail opening room (that was secured) staffed with persons that seperated the mail and donations/pledges.
There was a staff that replied to the mail received.
There was a staff that manned the out going mail/media.
More on another post.

Harold McKenney
Harold McKenney
9 years ago

I appraised the property in the early 1990's, but never went in it. At the time, it was declared hazardous to your health and I reviewed several reports on how it was eat up with asbestos and the basement was full of water. SW Bell was there for a number of years. I did research there looking for classmates for a 20 year reunion in 1978. A good friend worked there for Oral Roberts before they moved out. It is quite a modern building phenom, considering the architecture and no windows. In 1978, there were hugh vines growing through the… Read more »

ZRXSam
ZRXSam
9 years ago

Absoulty facinating,I have sat in the parking lot of this building looking at it and wondering what the heck was this thing?Now I don't have to get arrested for wondering who what and what doe's it look like inside"No Window's?"!What in the world were they thinking!I would pay to take a tour of this one,Possible?

Reggie Hulsey
Reggie Hulsey
9 years ago

Yes, this building was once the offices of Southwestern Bell. I worked there from 1976-1979 on the third floor. It was the "Business Service Center" where only business accounts were handled, and the residential accounts were on the upper couple of floors. There were storage rooms full of paper files on the top floor which appeared to be chambers for a pipe organ. And yes, it was a pretty creepy place not having windows.

KLC
KLC
10 years ago

Cool pics, thanks. I remember my mom used to work in that building in the late 60s early 70s when Sun/DX (Sunoco now – I guess) had moved in and before they moved over to their building on Detroit. (re: I also seem to recall that it might have housed a local SW Bell Offices at one time too…but I might be wrong on that one)

OkieBoy in Colorado
OkieBoy in Colorado
10 years ago

AWESOME web site! I am still trying to figure out why old, run down buildings are so fascinating. It's like driving by a fatal car accident. Keep up the good work!

Charles Flint
Charles Flint
10 years ago

Did Southwestern Bell use this building after Oral moved out? I would swear it is where I went to set up my first residential phone line service. One had to sit in a cubicle in the lobby, use a handset, and speak to an employee elsewhere in the building. It was a very odd way to conduct business then–about 1980. This is a wonderful website. I hope you are able to continue. Tulsa was a very unique, exotic city back when. When I say this today I can never explain why, or how, to people who ask for specifics.

Clem Clambake
Clem Clambake
10 years ago

Glad you're back, I enjoy your site a lot.

AbandonedOK Team
Reply to  Clem Clambake
10 years ago

Thanks for the kudos Clem!

There is about 20 locations coming out soon! So check back for them to begin rolling out!

Daniel Wright
Daniel Wright
10 years ago

Cool photos I used to live close by the place and always wanted to see the inside.
The gold ceiling might have been the auditorium, church services were held there at one point.
The sound stage where Oral taped his shows was supposed to have been located in the basement.

psychosaw13
psychosaw13
10 years ago

The Projector room was the most creepiest room to me. Entirly closed off. Neither of us would have discovered those strange gold tiles had we not stuck our heads & cameras in through the projector window.
The bldg was totaly out of an 80's horror movie.
Like a deranged Max Headroom would have came out of that Projector room. Just flat out gave me a bad feeling.
It's a total mystery, I guess only some one who worked there will have the answer to that room.

AbandonedOK Team
10 years ago

pretty incredible location. Such great history. It's amazing that they would put a drop ceiling in to cover up those wonderful gold ceilings…

Fiend
Fiend
Reply to  AbandonedOK Team
10 years ago

Thanks guys. Yeah, that gold ceiling covered the entire top floor, it had a projector/light control room overlooking it, probably for a stage used by Oral Roberts for TV. I would love to find pictures of this place on the inside from back in the day…

billy
billy
10 years ago

Hell of a post. Looks like a pretty neat place. It's the one thing in Tulsa I didn't get to see.

Jan
Jan
Reply to  billy
8 months ago

My Dad died in that building in 1968. He worked in heating and air conditioning. He and his co-worker were working in the elevator shaft, he stepped back in to retrieve a tool he left and someone took the elevator to the top floor. When the elevator goes up, a counterweight comes down. He was crushed by the counterweight.

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