From my Oklahoma City postcard collection…
This was a really cool building, much cooler than this picture indicates. On the back of the postcard it is described as “America’s most beautiful power plant”. It was torn down in 1999. The location is east of Penn Square Mall and is the current site of the shopping area with the WalMart Super Center. But there’s history here.
Oklahoma City’s street cars used to run the length of Classen Boulevard, up to what used to be the Classen Circle. In 1907 construction began on Belle Isle Lake and a power plant to provide power for the street cars.
Belle Isle became a park and before World War I, bath houses were added for swimming. There were sandy beaches, and I read one report that said swimsuits were rented for 35¢. In 1922 an amusement park with thrill rides and a carousel was added. A dance pavilion was added to the island. The lake and park became a great attraction to the area and even the Great Houdini performed an escape act in Belle Isle Lake. The amusement park lasted until 1928 when it was closed and the carousel burned. The street cars remained until 1947.
It’s a shame the building couldn’t have been preserved and turned into something else. Greg Burns has memorialized it. But it’s gone now. Too bad!