|JRB Art At The Elms||Old Trinity||Craig’s Emporium||Grand Tour|
HISTORY. According to Positively Paseo,
The Paseo was built in 1929 as the first commercial shopping district north of downtown Oklahoma City. This little Spanish village with it’s stucco building and clay tile roofs is the home of Oklahoma City’s artists’ community. On this little tree lined street you will find painters, potters, photographers, writers, and actors. Within the two blocks of the Paseo you can visit a stained glass works, a pottery studio, watch a painter at work, see a performance of a children’s theater group, have dinner, and shop.
Well, whether it was the “first” or not is at least arguable — the 1st commercial shopping area north of downtown was the 1927 Plaza Court at 1100 Classen Drive, Oklahoma City’s first suburban shopping center and original home of VZD’s restaurant and Crescent Market, among other tenants. But, on the other hand, it wasn’t a district like The Paseo, either. Maybe it’s fair to say that each of these developments gets a “1st” in one similar category or another!
The Paseo area is shown in the map below from The Paseo Arts District:
Spanish Village. The “area” wasn’t originally known as “The Paseo” — it was known as “The Spanish Village.” Daily Oklahoman articles show that, in 1928, G.A. Nichols, Inc., started developing this area then called, “The Spanish Village,” and, by the end of 1930, businesses located there were Southwest Stores Co., American Shoe Repairers, Kitchen Cupboard Cafe, Sanitary Cleaners, a barber shop, Senorita Beauty Parlor, Clarence Saunders Store, Radio Service Company, Lee Drapery, Paseo Drug Store, a filling station, a Safeway grocery, and a Christian Church being built at 30th & Lee. Apartments were being added on NW 29th and NW 30th.
The Pool. In 1933, a swimming pool was added called the “Spanish Village Plunge,” and it hosted swimming and diving competitions, having its own team. A 1933 article in The Daily Oklahoman noted that use of the pool would be “free” to tenants of G.A. Nichols. A May 1955 Oklahoman article noted that the pool had been rebuilt and expanded to become, “The Jamboree Surf Club.” Some Oklahoman articles identify the pool’s address as “3008 Paseo,” others say “3009 Paseo,” but a 8/30/1955 article locates the pool at “NW 30th & Paseo.” All things considered, the majority of the Oklahoman’s articles place the location at NW 29th & Paseo, though with slightly varying addresses, as noted. On edit and some further research, I’m quite satisfied that the pool was (actually, still is) located in the space shown as building “20” below:
As said above, the “pool” that took the place of the “Spanish Village Plunge” was the “Jamboree Surf Club.”
It appears that the “new” pool’s life was brief under its 1955 name. Shortly after the “Jamboree Surf Club” had its open house in July 1955, a severe wind storm blew through the city and an 8/30/1955 Oklahoman article reported that a large concrete block wall at the pool was, “toppled by slamming winds.” I could locate no references to the “Jamboree Surf Club” after the August 1955 storm. But, in 1956 and continuing through 1958, ads like the following were frequent during the summer months … now, the “Paseo Plunge”:
After summer 1958, no such ads appeared. The last Oklahoman article I could locate which described the pool as an “alive” entity was an 8/24/1960 note saying that, “Pilot Club of Oklahoma City will have a swimming party … at Paseo Plunge.” Aritcles after this note refer to the pool in the past tense.
Some articles (the retrospective kind) indicate that the pool was “indoor”. I learned today from one very knowledgeable about the whole Paseo area that, while exterior security walls were apparently originally in place, it didn’t originally have a roof and wasn’t “enclosed”, so to speak. I don’t presently know when the roof was added to enclose the pool altogether — the “Jamboree Surf Club” certainly doesn’t give that impression, does it? The “building” containing the pool is not presently occupied and is “for sale”.
At the moment, this former “pool” property has got to be one large negative to The Paseo today. It is large, it is empty, it is in disrepair, and it will take significant investment to change all of that. Here are some “today” images … click on a pic for a larger image.
Looking Through A Window, Looking Up
From Dewey, Looking West
While the pool must surely have been cool in its day, it now stands out as an unmistakable blemish on all the progress that has been made.
Dawn of the Current Era. After some point in the 1950s decade, the area was no longer be referred to as “The Spanish Village.” The last Oklahoman article I found using that phrase was an El Charrito restaurant ad in 1952, and I found no “phrase” references in the 1960s or later when searching the Oklahoman’s archives. “The Spanish Village,” as a descriptive phrase for this area, was apparently no more. Some time passing, the area would become known as, “The Paseo.” In the 1960s, the area is said to have become the haven of “hippies” and those akin to “the drug culture,” according to a May 26, 1985, Oklahoman article which discussed the 9th annual Paseo Arts Festival (the 1st such festival occurring in 1977). In a May 16, 1995, Oklahoman article, Ron T. Roberts, an artist in The Paseo, is quoted as saying,
I was here when Paseo was falling apart … we hope to make this an art center of Oklahoma.
And, that, it has become.
Although The Paseo area suffered badly during many of the past several decades, it surely seems to have turned the corner during the past decade or so, big time! It hosts its annual Paseo Arts Festival over Memorial Day Weekend, so be sure to mix with the other 40,000 or so who are expected to visit during May 26-28, 2007.
For pics of the 31st Annual Paseo Arts Festival, click here for more than 30 Paseo pics.
PLACES TO GO YEAR ROUND. Why wait until the Arts Festival to visit The Paseo? There are cool places to go all year long! I’ll add more as this post is expanded … but … trust me, you’re gonna like the ones I’ve singled out below. For a look around the whole area, click here to skip to the overall tour.
JRB ART AT THE ELMS. Doug Dawg got a real treat last night, May 4, by a visit with my wife to an absolutely wonderful place called JRB Art At The Elms. It’s located at the south end of The Paseo (#17 in the map, above) at 2810 North Walker.
The Elms was built in 1920 as the resident studio/gallery of Dr. and Mrs. Nan Sheets (1885-1976). Nan Sheets moved to Oklahoma City with her husband in 1912 and her history with the arts in Oklahoma and Oklahoma City is legendary — to be covered in a separate “hero” blog post later. The Elms has been restored to its original purpose by Joy Reed Belt, owner and director of JRB Art at The Elms.
Soooo … let’s have a look at the going’s on last night as Ms. Belt hosted 3 fantastic exibits by 3 Native American Artists, Tony Tiger (Seminole and Sac & Fox), Gerald Cournoyer (Lakota aka Souix), and Shane Brown (Cherokee). But, I’ll show you much more than their stuff on this pictoral tour.
Arriving At The Elms Looking Northwest Into The Paseo
Pastoral Dreamer by David Phelps (from Okc)
(aka Doug Dawg … just kidding)
The Elms’ Owner, Joy Reed Belt
Oklahoma Centenarians Exhibit by M.J. Alexander
An official Oklahoma Centennial Commission Project
Sculpture by David Phelps (Okc)
A woman apparently liking to be in serious trouble!
Looking South From The Kitchen
Paintings (left) by Linda Warren (Okc)
Looking Around In The Elms
Say, who was that masked dawg?
Tony Tiger (Seminole and Sac & Fox)
Gerald Cournoyer (Lakota)
Shane Brown (Cherokee)
OLD TRINITY ANGLICAN CHURCH. What do Blackville, New Brunswick, Canada, and The Paseo in Oklahoma City have in common? Both have served as the location of Old Trinity Anglican Church built in Blackville, NB, in 1842, and reassembled in The Paseo in 2000-2001.
Tom Lee, photographer, discovered that the old church was available on the internet and he bought it sight-unseen. Once declared a provincial historic site by the Canadian government, it had been deconsecrated as a church and was dismantled by a Halifax company that salvages old buildings. Two flatbed trucks brought it to Oklahoma City in November 2000. According to Google Maps, that’s a 2,108 mile trip!
With that, I guess one could say that The Paseo became archetecturally ecclectic! It was reassembled on a vacant lot 3000 N. Lee (#11 in the Paseo map) and it’s on Doug Dawgz Don’t Miss List!
Have a look … click on any image for a 1024 px wide view …
Inside Looking Easterly
CRAIG’S EMPORIUM. Located at 3004 Paseo (#19 in the Paseo map), Craig Travis stocks this mind-boggling shop with unusual gifts from around the world.
Have a look … click on a pic for a 1024 px wide view …
THE GRAND TOUR. Most of the pics here were taken on a sleepy cloudy Sunday afternoon (5/7/2007). Generally, the “route” starts at the southeast end of the district, proceeds northwesterly on The Paseo to NW 30th and looks at buildings on the east side of the street, and, then, at NW 30th, loops south on The Paseo to NW 28th to see buildings on the west side of the street. There are a few exceptions. No detail about a building’s business is provided here … see The Paseo Arts District for that. Not every building is included just yet.
JRB Art at the Elms, #17 in the map, 2810 N. Walker
Go Here For More Detail
Sauced Cafe, #32 in the map, 2912 Paseo, and
Blue Moon, #31 in the map, 2916C Paseo
Art of Yoga, #33 in the map, 2929 Paseo, and
L. Jielle, #34 in the map, 2924 Paseo
ACLU, #18 in the map, 3000 Paseo, and
Craig’s Emporium, #19 in the map, 3004 Paseo
Go Here For More Detail
Artscape, #21 in the map, 3014 Paseo, and
Sowzierre, #22 in the map, 3016 Paseo
Carousels & More, #23 in the map, 3018 Paseo,
Theatre Upon A Swawn, #24 in the map, 3022 Paseo,
Paseo Art Space, #25 in the map, 3022 Paseo and
Rainbow Fleet, #26 in the map, 3024 Paseo
Now at NW 30th, Looking Southeasterly
Rainbow Fleet, #26 in the map, 3024 Paseo, et al.
Studio Six, #1 in the map, 3021 Paseo
Looking South on Paseo, Generally
Galileo Restaurant, #3 in the map, 3009 Paseo
In Your Eye, #5 in the map, 3005A Paseo,
Isis, #4 in the map, 3007 Paseo,
Matlock Studio, #6 in the map, 3005 Paseo,
Studio Bleu, #7 in the map, 3003A Paseo, and
Adelante!, #8 in the map, 3003 Paseo
Gallery One, Paseo Studio, and Houx Studio
#52 in the map, 2927 Paseo
The Paseo Grill, #14 in the map, 2909A Paseo, and
Kathy’s On Paseo, #15 in the map, 2909 Paseo
Kathy’s On Paseo, looking northeast #15 in the map, 2909 Paseo
Avalon On Paseo, #16 in the map, 514 NW 28
Off The Path
Old Trinity Gallery, #11 in the map, 3000 N. Lee
Go Here For More Detail
A Fixer-Upper (south of Old Trinity Gallery), not in the map
Woodchuckchop, #35 in the map, 2924 Paseo
PLACES TO LIVE. These are some random pics of apartments in The Paseo, on the west side of the district. Greater detail is not provided. Click on an image for a 1024 px view.
On NW 30th Looking South
On Western Around NW 29th Looking East
On Lee Looking West
On Lee South of NW 30th Looking West
That’s all for now on The Paseo. More to come, later!