The prior post, “Asian District Today … The Story,” gives the verbal historical background. This post merely provides images taken Sunday, October 22, 2006, when the traffic was light.
The map, below, relates to picture numbers shown as I did my Sunday drive. Click on pics for larger views.
I started my drive at NW 23rd and Walker (which, strictly speaking, is not part of the “Asian District”) where I chatted with Paul Thephachanh who manages the 7-Days convenience store where I buy my cigarettes and gas. Paul immigrated from Laos in 1990, sponsored by his father who immagrated to Connecticut in 1986 but who died in 2002. Pic #1 is a shop north of Paul’s 7-Days shop, and Pic #2 is Paul outside the 7-Days convenience store.
Then, I proceeded east on NW 23rd towards Classen. The next 2 pics were taken at NW 23rd and Shartel. Pic #3 was taken mid-day, #4 in the evening as I returned home.
Pic 5, below, shows what is located at NW 23rd and Western today, but Pic 5A shows what is planned for the current rental business and the building to its right … the Sun Moon Plaza, to become a “gateway” into the Asian District.
The pics below are of the geodesic “Gold Dome” built at NW 23rd and Classen in 1958 based on R. Buckmister Fuller’s futuristic design. According to this building’s website, it was the fifth geodesic dome built in the world and the first one made of gold anodized aluminum. Though marked for destruction by Bank One (its former owner), local lobbying paved the way for its acquisition by Dr. Irene Lam, an Oklahoma City optometrist of Chinese descent. Click the above link for its current and planned uses.
Turning north on Classen and looking at buildings on the east side of Classen, the old Townley’s (now Braum’s) little milk bottle building is Pic #8. Pic #9 is a presently vacant shop at NW 24th & Military.
Pics #10 and #11 show to views of a strip center on Military north of NW 24th. The Lido is my personal favorite oriental restaurant! Notice the spire of the 1st Presbyterian Church in the background.
Immediately north of the Lido at Military & NW 25th is the largest new construction to date, the Super Cao Nguyen Center. The principal tenant is the supermarket, said to be the largest Asian supermarket in Oklahoma providing food from 20 countries. If you’re a non-Asian and want a culture shock, stop by sometime! Pics 12-15 show different views of this fine facility. The faux palm trees are bright green and orange at night.
Pics #14 and #15
Venturing back to Classen and staying on the east side, #16 and #17 are separated by NW 27th, #16 on the south and #17 on the north.
Proceeding north to NW 28th, the new construction for the former Thai House is well underway in Pic 18. Pic 19 is at 3016 N. Classen, north of NW 29th.
At NW 32nd, Pic #20 is the northernmost development on the east side of Classen. I don’t recall seeing an active tenant there, as yet. Pic #21 starts the west side of Classen, proceeding south.
Pic #22 is at 3221 N. Classen, north of NW 31st. Pic #23 shows the fine Grande House at 2701 N. Classen … go there for some great Dim Sum on the weekends. Their nicely done website is here.
Pic # 24 is the First Commercial Bank at 2523 N. Classen … hat’s off to the bank for its oriental design! Pic #25 is the former Kamp’s just south of the bank … now owned and operated by Asians, and there’s a nice coffee shop inside.
Pic #26 rounds out my journey … a small strip mall at NW 24th. My son swears by the noodle soup place there!
Not shown are lots of smaller Asian businesses of various types … professional offices and non-touresty stuff. But, there you have it … my Asian District virtual tour!