Tulsa Art Deco mini Museum

A gift from us, to you!

Our museum is FREE!

Once we build our big, permanent home, then we will charge for tickets.
Also, be sure to pick up a FREE Downtown Tulsa, Deco District Map at our current Route 66 location!


Check out our newest Tulsa Art Deco, mini-Museum, inside the TulsaRama Town Square on Route 66!  

Above: a peek inside the TulsaRama Town Square on Route 66 where our Tulsa Art Deco mini-Museum is located! Our Art Deco themed town square is full of Tulsa souvenirs, local interest books, locally made gifts and sprinkled throughout are Art Deco artifacts and Deco Era Tulsa "fun facts" and of course you can step inside our mini-Art Deco Museum to see more exhibits! 

1401 E 11th Street, Suite B Tulsa Ok 74120

Open M-Sat 10-6 & Sunday 12-6

Be sure to ask for a FREE Deco District walking tour map before heading downtown, you may get lucky and be able to see inside some of the many wonderful Jazz Age lobbies, including the Art Deco Philcade building! 

Tulsa Art Deco Books!
These books are great guides to discovering more about Tulsa's incredible Art Deco architecture and Jazz Age history!

Purchase one at our Route 66 location, or click on the book to purchase online!

Downtown Deco District!

Be sure to get a free walking map of Tulsa's amazing Downtown Deco District at our Rout 66 location before heading downtown to do more exploring!
                                                                             We recommend you start at 5th & Boston by the Philcade Building
       During the Jazz Age the Philcade lobby housed numerous shops.  The owners of the building, Price Family Properties, have generously allowed us to use the unused retail display windows to showcase Art Deco artifacts and information pertaining to Tulsa's Deco Era history!  We can not control when the building is open, as we are merely guests here, but if you are lucky enough to be able to see inside, you will be in for a real treat! We are thankful to all the local collectors who have donated items to share with visitors from around the world.  And we hope you will enjoy your visit! 

  There are numerous buildings that are Art Deco treasures within just a few blocks of the Philcade be sure to check those out as part of your visit! 

Museum Address:
   511  S. Boston Ave.  Tulsa Ok,  74103

Usual lobby hours: 
                    7am - 9pm   Monday- Saturday   Sun 8-1

  Note:  We are guests in the building and cannot control when businesses in the building or the buildings owner may decide to close the lobby for a holiday or special occasion. 

For a DECO DISTRICT Walking Tour MAP click here

                                                      The PHILCADE  Building 

The Beginings

The Philcade is located at the corner of 5th & Boston in the heart of downtown Tulsa which was the original site of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. The church had grown so large that they moved to their new location at 13th & Boston on the outer edge of downtown. Waite Phillips purchased the property from Boston Avenue United Methodist Church with the intent of building a six story building on the property. The original purpose of the building was to compliment Phillips' newly completed Philtower and not overshadow the building.

The building was designed by Architect Leon Senter who was at one time a neighbor to Waite Phillips in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Leon Senter came to Tulsa specifically to design the Philcade and he stayed becoming one of Tulsa’s most notable architects. The original design included a six story building with a two story shopping arcade on the first two floors and four floors of offices. However, before the footings were poured, the design was changed to nine floors and the foundation was changed accordingly.

In the fall of 1930 as the building was nearing completion, an additional four floors were added bringing the floor count to a total of 13 floors. These four floors were leased by the Standard Oil Company of Indiana who later purchased the building in 1942. The Philcade was finally completed in 1931. In 1937, the south side of the building was enclosed to house the air-conditioning equipment, thus making this building the first fully air-conditioned office building in Tulsa. After the enclosure of the south side of the building, a penthouse was completed on the 14th floor.

The Façade

At the two main entrances, the terracotta detailing becomes very formal. Each entrance has fluted, Egyptian-style columns, which terminate at a papyrus reed inspired terra-cotta beam. The formal treatment of the entryway continues upward through the second floor façade and terminates in the elevated base relief details of papyrus reeds at the courtyard level. The chevron columns link the base terra-cotta all the way to the top floor, giving a strong sense of verticality. The exterior of the Philcade was intended to be "plain" so as not to compete with the Gothic ornamentation of the Philtower.

Glazed terra-cotta during this period became a very popular alternative to marble and granite. The first two floors are covered with glazed terra-cotta ornamentation. This glazing resembles marble and was a cheaper alternative to hand-carved marble or granite. The glaze does not wear or fade, making it a very durable building material. Manufacturers were able to form a mold and pour the same design into the mold multiple times. On the Philcade, above each corner window, birds, reptiles, and animals are all hidden in stylized Art-Deco foliage.

The Lobby

The lobby of the Philcade is in a shape of a “T” for Tulsa. The lobby and the 2nd floor mezzanine level was a shopping arcade, and the Philcade derives its name from “Phillips” and “arcade”. The Philcade Lobby was Tulsa’s first indoor shopping mall. Shops on the ground floor were located behind the windows that are now part of the Museum. Each shop entrance has a doorknob with the initials WP for Waite Phillips. Original shops on the first floor included a cigar store, a newsstand, a barber, a drug store, interior decorating shop, India import shop, and several ladies clothing stores. 

The Art-Deco ceiling design is complimented by the mahogany, glass, bronze, marbled walls, and the black and tan terrazzo floor used throughout the space. When the ceiling was first completed it featured hand-painted, floral, "Grottesca" designs, and when Waite Phillips walked in upon its completion, he ordered it redone in gold leaf having a glazed overlay of more modern, Art Deco designs . The designs that can be seen today are the same ones that Phillips ordered. The marble walls and pilasters are all rendered in St. Genevieve marble as a way for Waite Phillips to honor his wife, Genevieve.

Today, the lobby is open to the public, housing part of the Tulsa Art Deco Museum within the window displays. More displays, and a Visitor Center and Gift shop can be found directly across the street in DECOPOLIS itself.

The Penthouse

The Philcade Penthouse included 4,255 square feet of space. Upon arriving on the 14th floor through the elevator you are greeted by two wrought iron gates which lead to a staircase. Up the staircase is the penthouse. It included three bedrooms, five baths, a solarium, a formal dining room, a kitchen, a large and small conference room, and a library. Waite Phillips and his wife, Genevieve, moved into the penthouse in 1939 after donating Villa Philbrook as an art museum for the city of Tulsa. Select furnishings were taken from Villa Philbrook and moved to the Penthouse and when Waite and Genevieve Phillips moved to California in 1942 those items again moved with them.

The Philcade Penthouse is not currently accessible to the public.

The Tunnel

There is a tunnel between the Philcade and Philtower buildings that was built for Waite Phillips. Miners were imported to dig the 80 foot tunnel under 5th Street. The tunnel is arched shaped in order to better handle the weight of the street level above. Waite Phillips had this tunnel built for security so he could get from his penthouse on the top floor of the Philcade to his office on the top floor of the Philtower. When this tunnel was built, it was all too common for wealthy individuals to be kidnapped off the street by gangsters and held for ransom, so this tunnel was to help alleviate Waite Phillips’ fears.

Today, the tunnel is not generally accessible to the public. 


The Philcade building is in the care of Price Family Properties who proudly work to maintain this Tulsa treasure and share it with new generations of Tulsan's and visitors to our city! Thousands of school children have been inspired and gained new pride for their city as they stand in its gilded and marbled lobby hearing about the amazing history of Tulsa related to this building. It is our hope too that they and the many students who pass through the lobby to see the artifacts on display will be inspired by their artistry and will learn a little something about the amazing era in which they were created. The birth of what we call modern art, along with many scientific and technological achievements, and incredible social and historic changes were occurring at the time, all of which are reflected in the artifacts on display. We, in partnership with Price Family Properties, hope to continue our mission of inspiration and education for the betterment of all. 

Above: the Philcade at its original height of 9 floors.

Below:  The Philcade with the 4 additional floors.

Below:   Street level of the Philcade during the 1950s. Corner 5th & Boston.

Below: Ceiling near the Boston Avenue entrance in the East-West portion of the Philcade lobby.   Photo by; William A. Franklin

Below:  The Philtower is the taller building on the left, while the Philcade is seen on the right. 


                     Special thanks to
             PRICE FAMILY  Properties!

All historic, black and white photos, courtesy of Tulsa Historical Society, Tulsa City-County Library, and Rotary Club of Tulsa!