District of Columbia County, District of Columbia
July 28, 2004
Hours: Gallery and gift shop:
Tues-Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12:30pm-5pm; closed on Monday.
Guided tours are at 11am and 2pm (Tues-Sat)and 2pm (Sun.)
Admission: Guided tours:
$8 adults, $5 seniors and children 16 and under.
gallery only, $4 adults, $3 seniors. Children 16 and under: free.
For more on the history of this building, see the free form, "The History of the Price Tower," in this journal.
Arguably one of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright's crowning achievements, the 19-story Price Tower at first glance appears grossly out of place. After all, why would anyone build a skyscraper in a city of less than 40,000 people? Furthermore, the building's highly unusual exterior appearance made it the butt of many jokes during its construction in the mid 1950s. However, for fans of modern architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright, this structure is a true work of art.
After serving as the headquarters of the HC Price Company, then as an office and storage building for the Phillips Petroleum Corporation, today the Price Tower has been given a new lease on life as the Price Tower Arts Center. Now owned and managed by a non-profit foundation, the tower houses an art museum, gift shop, restaurant, and hotel. Additionally, guided tours of the tower are given six days a week. While the public areas and exhibit halls on the lower floors, and the restaurant allow visitors to experience much of Wright's design, the tour is the only way to see the one of the tower's apartments as originally designed, along with the former executive offices of the Price Company. I highly recommend taking a guided tour because otherwise you will miss far too many of the unique details of the building. Be warned that the elevators in the tower are tiny and the tour includes some steep, narrow staircases. If you are claustrophobic this may be a problem. You may also want to call ahead for a tour reservation. On the Saturday in February that I visited, I was able to get into the afternoon tour group only because I was alone, and this was nearly an hour before the tour started. Tour groups are kept small because of the tight spaces on the upper floors of the tower and the elevators.
A few items not to miss during your visit:
From journal A Week In Bartlesville, OK