The Triangle Building rises again

Kathryn Swan J-C correspondent

It is exciting to have so much renewed interest in Pawhuska’s historic Triangle Building, particularly since it was facing the possibility of demolition 14 years ago.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Triangle Building sat vacant for over two decades and became a roosting place for pigeons. In January 2004, citing exorbitant renovation costs, the Triangle Building was on the brink of being demolished. While some viewed the building as a public nuisance, a Tulsa family saw potential and won approval to redevelop the 1915 structure.

Before the Triangle Building was rescued, an unknown writer submitted this plea to the Journal-Capital’s “Opinion & News” column on its behalf.

Titled “The Triangle Trembles in Terror,” it is her request for a reprieve:

“My life has been long and useful. I withstood the flood of ‘15, watched troops march off to war in ‘17 (and then in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and again last week).

“I have kept the silence that a mute detests and which the wise envy. But, on this eve of destruction, I must speak out. Before the wrecking ball strikes, I ask only for one consideration — that those who wish my demise could find within their hearts a little patience. For those who know not my glory, I shall relate this story.

“In my 90-plus years, I have witnessed the rise and decline of Pawhuska. Upon my marbled floors, have walked both rich and poor, the proud and the humble, cowboys, indians, oilmen and business owners. I welcomed them all. The old and young, fat and thin, short, tall, black, white and red have climbed my stairs.

“Within my walls and along my halls, the commerce of the Osage occurred; big deals, little deals, honest deals and crooked deals. There were deals which altered history and sad deals that destroyed families; each a part of the past some wish to demolish.

“If the time has come for me to no longer part the Prairie breeze, nor witness the parades that always pass on the west, I must accept my demolition. But, why such a rush to destruct? Once I am battered and bashed, my mortar and bricks reduced to dust, no tears or prayers can bring me back. What’s the hurry? Why such haste? I am too unique a building to want only waste!!!”

Our community is truly blessed that the grand lady was rescued. Many thanks to the Brickhugger developers for fulfilling their promise. Special thanks to Betty Russell for sharing this wonderful story with me.