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Dowell Center

Dowell Center

Location Class:
Built: 1926 | Abandoned: 1995
Status: Under Renovation
Photojournalist: AbandonedOK Team

The Dowell Center was built in 1926-1927 and started it’s life as the Petroleum Building. At that time, It was the tallest structure in Oklahoma City at 18 stories. In 1931, the Ramsey Tower and 1st National Bank were finished, each having 31 stories and relegating it to third place height-wise. The project cost $750,000 and featured imported Italian and Vermont marble and terra cotta trim, and the first high speed (700 feet per minute) micro-leveling elevators in Oklahoma.

In March of 1933, a federal court mortgage foreclosure was filed which resulted in an ownership change in 1934. Then in 1946 Cravens Corporation became the owner. in 1949 a business executive jumped from the building and leaped to his death as shoppers watched. *See the Oklahoman archives, 2/17/1949, front page.

in 1964, Kerr-McGee completely remodeled the property after purchasing it a couple of years earlier. The remodel added 2 stories to make it 20 stories tall – and it was renamed the Kermac Building, and became the new headquarters of Kerr-McGee.

In 1971, the Building was sold to Midland Mortgage Company and it became the Midland Center. In 1980, Prudential Realty Group, part of Prudential Insurance Company of America, acquired the property. Prudential had plans to remodel the building, but in 1988, planning stopped and the building was sold to B&P Midland Center, Ltd., a Dallas investment firm.

In 1995, the property was acquired by Dowell Properties, and it became known as the Dowell Center. In 1992 floors 2-20 were closed to get rid of some of the asbestos problems and a bank occupied the first floor. After the bank closed, the building was then vacant. It is unclear when the bank moved out. Many have ideas for what this building could become. Apartment buildings, offices, etc. Some have tried, some just talk. Surely a conference calling service could be put in order to try and figure how this building can become a functioning piece of the city again.. It is too big and neat of a building to sit defunct.


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Michael Schwarz

Starting from a young age, I’ve always loved exploring. I can remember venturing off and scoping out the houses being built in the developing neighborhood right behind my house. As I got older, I found myself appreciating the work and love that went into architecture and just being excited to pass by the beautifully designed places in downtown.

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