Memories, artifacts stack up at First National Building in Oklahoma CityPublished: Thursday, June 22, 2017 5:00 am By: Steve Lackmeyer Source: NewsOK
Gary Brooks, already tasked with bringing downtown's art deco jewel, First National, back to life, is still recovering from an open house last week where thousands got a last glimpse and trusted the developer with some of their precious possessions.
The open house, hosted last Friday and Saturday, was a chance for the public to tour the 1931 tower's Great Banking Hall and underground bank vaults before the property is turned into a construction zone for the next few years.
“I would have said two weeks ago we might have 200 people show up,” Brooks said afterward. “We lost count at 5,000. I continue to be amazed at the interest level. I shouldn't be by now, but I am. I talked to 200 to 300 people. Many of them worked there, or their mom or dad worked there, or they remembered coming through as kids.”
Visitors included civic leader Bill Ross, who recalled touring the top floor as a child before it opened as the home of the Beacon Club in 1941. Brooks' eyes widened in surprise as Ross explained the panoramic window view on the 32nd floor was once an open air overlook.