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The Tree That Escaped The Forest

The Inn at Price Tower in Bartlesville is a Frank Lloyd Wright Dream

Article by Heide Brandes

Photography by Provided

Originally published in OKC Lifestyle

In the middle of the town of Bartlesville is the iconic skyscraper, “The Tree That Escaped the Crowded Forest.” The Price Tower, built for energy mogul H.C. Price in the 1950’s, is not only a Frank Lloyd Wright original but his only realized skyscraper.

Frank Lloyd Wright called his masterpiece the “tree that escaped the crowded forest” when built his first and only skyscraper for the H.C. Price International Pipeline Company in 1956.

The Price Tower was one of three skyscrapers that were to be built at St. Mark’s in New York City. The building found its way to Bartlesville instead and became a combination apartment-office building.

H.C. Price kept his tiny apartments at the top, and thanks to renovations by architect Wendy Evans Joseph, visitors can now stay in this upscale 21-room boutique inn called Inn at Price Tower.

For those whose passions lie with clean angles and the mystery of architecture, staying overnight in an actual Frank Lloyd Wright building is a bucket-list item. Upstairs, on the 16th floor, is the Copper Restaurant + Bar, a cozy place to grab a local craft beer or shimmering wine either at the bar or on the patio outside.

Today, the Price Tower Arts Center houses art exhibitions and permanent exhibitions on Wright, Bruce Goff and the Price Company and Tower.

Frank Lloyd Wright buildings may be seen as uncomfortable by some, but the Price Tower is cozy, if not a bit quirky. The building itself measures 221 feet from the top of the spire and is 19 stories high. The Price Tower is built on a cantilever design with four interior vertical shafts from which all the floors and walls are based around.

Every niche, cranny and secret in the building are 30-, 60-, or 90-degree angles, and none of the exterior walls are structural, but are merely screens resting on the horizontal cantilevered floors.

Inside the rooms, the walls of windows do not disappoint with their expansive views of the green around Bartlesville The beds are wide and comfortable, and the bathroom, though angled like the rest of Wright’s designs, is interesting enough to forget about the smaller size.

The Price Tower is an architectural adventure that you won’t want to miss with sassy interior staircases, history around every corner and the very distinctive touch of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Be sure to sign up for the daily tours of the Price Tower for fascinating, fun and entertaining history lesson about Bartlesville, Wright and the “tree that escaped the crowded forest.”

For information, visit pricetower.org.   

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