Bryant Center REVISITED

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City/Town: Oklahoma City
Location Class: Commercial
Year Built: 1960
Year Abandoned: 1986
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler MooreBilly Dixon

The Bryant Center opened in the northeast side of Oklahoma City in September of 1960. It featured a bowling alley, dance center, a restaurant and a private supper club. Bryant Center was the epicenter of life for the long suppressed “negro” section of town and as quoted by the Oklahoman, featured “activities for both whites and negros”. This seemingly wonderful addition was the epicenter of black events for the east city. Everything from “Miss Black Oklahoma” to Martin Luther King Sr.
Who spoke for the candidacy of Clara Luper for congress, a local civil rights activist who might as well be the Rosa Parks of Oklahoma City. However beside its early success it suffered from the same blight that the east side has suffered since desegregation began in 1968. According to countless articles, the center had its share of serious violence and crime. Beginning with a teen who sprayed bullets into a crowd at a dance to a man who bashed the head of another man in the parking lot. It was also a well known illegal gambling hall well into the 1980’s. Apparently a raid was staged, the staff got word of the sting and alerted the gamblers via a switch in the ceiling that illuminated a light in the hidden room. After it closed the YMCA took over operations. It is unknown if they preserved the interior. They ran the property until 1986 when is was bought by a local couple, again their interest in the property remains unknown. It was sold in 1989 to a holding company. It will hopefully live on, but if the on-goings of the northeast side continue this building will vanish into its own memories and to those who actually needed a location such as this to improve this blighted area.

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Sparrow Nemore
Sparrow Nemore
13 days ago

This place has since been renovated, the listing needs to be updated.

Sparrow Nemore
Sparrow Nemore
13 days ago


Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
3 years ago

You posted this same spam comment twice you stupid waste of skin.

carrie
carrie
4 years ago

The Bryant Center was opened by my grandparents Ferrill and Ruth Martin. I have ethe original deed and thre blue prints. My dad, Philip Sands Martin, twin sister Pamela said that Ray Charles played there and said that he wouldn't play if blacks weren't allowed. Here say, know but my dad was very passionate about equality. On my dad's 16th birthday, August 3rd 1960 after the, bowling alley opene, my father father was driving his mother, Ruth, owner, to Elk City to visit family, drove off an embankment on Route 66 and unfortunatley, Ruth did not make it. My dad's… Read more »

Abandoned AR Team
Abandoned AR Team
4 years ago

Carrie, do you have any pictures from back in the day???

carrie
carrie
4 years ago

Thats some over simplification.

spraypaint champ
spraypaint champ
4 years ago

where is this place located i would love to go take a look???

MAR
MAR
6 years ago

I have a 1968 telephone poster of IKE & TINA TURNER REVIEW when they played at BRYANT CENTER which was probably the 1st show that allowed BLACKS AND WHITES to go to a show&dance together on Jan. 5th 1968…if interested contact me…

Henry James
Henry James
7 years ago

Lessons learned When Bryant Center opened is was a big deal to Oklahoma City and it's citizens. Across the street from the center were a motel (Wayside Motel) and a night club (The Off-Beat). The opportunity for success in that area were great-but without a community that is educated enough to understand what was going on, it was doomed to perish. What happen to Bryant center is not unique, through out the U.S. Black economic opportunities have come and gone. In Los Angeles Marla Gibbs bought and existing night club and it failed-and so on and so on. One of… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
Reply to  Henry James
5 years ago

Well, your a big pile of racist garbage. I love how you've decided you know what will fix the black communities but you can't even spell the word WHETHER!

carrie
carrie
Reply to  Henry James
4 years ago

Thats some over simplification!

Tery Leavell
Tery Leavell
10 years ago

Neat photos,I love coca-cola stuff so shot #23 is a favorite for me.Interesting also are the little glass bells on #42….and of course those last bowling pins!!! Take care—Tery

RummageThis
RummageThis
10 years ago

Heck yeah! It's about time some new pictures got posted of this. Ever since I told ya'll how to get in I've been waiting for some pictures. Place was pretty cool

Heather Anderson
Heather Anderson
Reply to  RummageThis
8 years ago

Hello, I'm not too far from this place. Can you tell me how you got into this building? I couldn't find the information you left in the earlier scout of this building. Thank you so much for exploring this interesting place, justtubin@yahoo.com

brett
brett
10 years ago

where is this place located i would love to go take a look???

Carl
Carl
Reply to  brett
5 years ago

i35 and Ne 21st

Lynly
Lynly
10 years ago

Yes the bowling pins definitely look like they are bleeding.

Eibach
Eibach
10 years ago

I was thinking that about the bowling pins.

AbandonedOK Team
10 years ago

Just noticed this, but does it not look like the bowling pins are bleeding in the last photo? is it just me?

Lelouch
Lelouch
Reply to  AbandonedOK Team
9 years ago

It's not just you. Creepy.

carrie
carrie
Reply to  AbandonedOK Team
4 years ago

thats hillarious

Fiend
Fiend
10 years ago

Just from looking at the pictures, I bet it smelled real pleasant in there 😉

AbandonedOK Team
Reply to  Fiend
10 years ago

what you don't really get a feel for in the photos, is the roofs condition… or I should say whats left of the roof… there was a good breeze throughout the building, so it didn't smell nearly as bad as it could of… but it did have that dead rat smell….

ms cmeonfire24-7
ms cmeonfire24-7
10 years ago

Excellent pictures. A very good friend of mine has had a personal interest in this building for several years. We tried contacting the owners to no avail. I would love to see this renovated and reopened. A place like this is very much needed in the community.

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