Sunday, July 28, 2002

Bartlesville landmark becoming luxury hotel

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper will open in December as Bartlesville's Price Tower Hotel.

Wright was 89 when he was hired by H.C. Price to build the 19-floor tower in downtown Bartlesville. Wright called it "the tree that escaped the crowded forest."

Richard Townsend, executive director of Price Tower, says he expects the building to draw many "architourists."

"While they are here, they can see buildings designed by Bruce Goff and go right across the street and see the Community Center designed by William Wesley Peters," Wesley says. "We are on the ground floor of things."

The Price Tower Arts Center is already drawing visitors.

'"Spend a night with Frank Lloyd Wright' is going to be very big," says Michael Christopher, Price Tower's marketing and development director.

The hotel will offer 21 rooms, a split-level bar and restaurant, shopping areas, meeting rooms and museum exhibit space.

The planned nightly room rates will range from $125 to $175 nightly.

Soft green window coverings, Tibet-woven rugs and pale maple furniture will play on Wright's tree theme.

Wright designed the Price Tower in 1953, and the pipeline construction firm that commissioned the building settled its offices there in 1956. The tower has also housed a dentist's office, a bank, a utility company and apartments.

Nebraska church reopens as wildlife exhibit

NELIGH, Neb. -- A steeple converted to look like an African hunter's lookout tower is the first hint that a wild animal exhibit has replaced congregants at the former New Abundant Life Church.

Now, the building is The Pierson Wildlife Museum Learning Center, which opened to the public on the Fourth of July. It includes stuffed elephants, lions, a rhinoceros and a cape buffalo, as well as sheep from Alaska, Canada, the Rocky Mountains and Mexico.

The collection was donated to this northeast Nebraska city of 1,650 by retired Dr. Kenneth Pierson and his wife, Margaret, who traveled the world on hunting expeditions.

The city purchased the former church building for $10,000.

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