It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, but instead a gray and drizzly afternoon when we pulled into the deceptively large town of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. With very few people on the streets this Sunday, I told my ladyfriend how the eerie quietness of the city reminded me of the first ten minutes of The Omega Man.
Bartlesville is renowned for many things, but perhaps best known as the home to Price Tower, an odd skyscraper of sorts designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was to be our first stop on a solemn journey through the city that was built by oil barons, most famously Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum Company.
With its copper-colored skin and razor-sharp design, it’s hard not to be momentarily amazed by the looming edifice. Ominous clouds gathered behind the structure and a few flashes of lightning lit up the horizon, quickly turning that open-mouth “ooh”-ing into fearful “ahh”-ing as thunderous chills rumbled up and down my spine.
Built like a simpler labyrinth, the slim doors led to even slimmer elevators that fit, at the most, two people; like standing coffins that moved us closer to our graves, the contraption creaked upward. Buttons that never responded were pushed as the first people we’d seen all day—the sleepy kitchen staff—stood in the doorway as we went out on the terrace to view Bartlesville in all its dark power.