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Transforming Telephone Buildings

November 24, 2015

We’ve been hearing about a couple telephone buildings being renovated recently. One is still in use by the phone company. The other had been re-purposed a few times during its existence, and is currently being transformed into a home.

One of the architecture news e-mails had a brief article about the ATT building in OKC getting a face lift. Here’s a before image. The building’s 1927 addition (the taller building) was one of the buildings designed by our building’s architect, I.R. Timlin. I was able to find the original article in the OKC paper. It is nice to hear about a utility preserving and updating one of their facilities.

Thanks for the photo Darcy!

Here’s what it looks like today. Thanks for the photo Darcy!

The other telephone exchange is here in the Lou and one we looked at years before we found the BAB.

Love the arched windows.

Love the arched windows.

It is number 16 on the Monument to Communication illustration. We’ve been through it a couple times since the current owner started working on the renovations in 2013. When we first saw it, it was in terrible condition and owned by a full-on hoarder. That guy also was deluded about the selling price. It is so great that a neighborhood developer ended up with it. He has been investing in the area for a number of years, really making a difference in the community. He’s got a terrific website on the building’s history. The very well attended open house was last week.

He made this clever old time-y postcard of the building.

He made this clever old time-y postcard of the building.

This building was a rival exchange, Kinloch, to the builder of ours, Southwestern Bell. Eventually, Bell bought Kinloch. This one was phased out at about the same time as ours, when the dial phone was rolled out. Unlike the other Timlin Bell buildings we’ve found, which have a very standardized layout and details, this one is a different design.


It still features a lot of detail on the exterior.


It has a large skylight over the operator’s room

We really like that he preserved the lady operators restroom in the apartment. He was lucky that it was largely intact. Ours had been stripped when we acquired it. Here’s the new building main floor plan. That is an even bigger closet than the one I was promised!



7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue permalink*
    August 12, 2016 11:10 am

    New article about the Pioneer Telephone building in OKC (the smaller limestone building) being redeveloped:

  2. Maurine Pruchnicki permalink
    November 25, 2015 10:04 am

    Very interesting Sue, Good luck with your turkey day feast in your new home. I agree with Chris, I’m addicted to your posts as well. Love, Mom

    • Sue permalink*
      November 25, 2015 10:42 am

      Thanks Mom! Experimenting with the turkey this year- Tom got me a sous vide machine. I’m also pulling up a list of restaurants that will be open, just in case.

  3. Don Occhi permalink
    November 25, 2015 9:00 am

    It was a great meeting you at the open house.You and the people that are working on the Kinloch Telephone building,are doing an amazing thing,for the city of St.Louis. Thanks to you and your Husband,for the great photos,and text,that you have sent out on the reclamation of your historic building.

    • Sue permalink*
      November 25, 2015 9:04 am

      Great to meet you, too! It is terrific to see cool buildings being saved!

  4. Chris Hammer permalink
    November 24, 2015 7:03 pm

    So cool Sue. I am now addicted to your posts!

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