Lortondale is located in Tulsa (Oklahoma). It’s a historic neighborhood with mid-century modern architecture, friendly social events and two neighborhood pools. It is also centrally located. Lortondale Neighborhood was built between 1954 and 1957. It was constructed in the 1950s. Donald Honn, a local architect from Tulsa, designed the homes and Howard Grubb built them. During the 1950s, the neighborhood won many design awards. The neighborhood is currently applying for National Historic Register status. LORTONDALE COMMUNITY
Lortondale isn’t only about architecture, design, and style. It is also about people. Lortondale’s community is a vital part. Lortondale History
Howard C. Grubb was Tulsa’s largest homebuilder in volume during the 1950s. Howard Grubb, a “merchant builder”, was one of the most prominent tract house developers at that time. He built most starter homes for first-time buyers. Merchant builders would typically buy 20-40 acres of land undeveloped and subdivide it to install utilities. Then they would start building homes to meet the demand in the post-war housing boom. After WWII, there was a large demand for housing. Builders were selling houses as fast as possible during the “baby boom”.
A typical Howard Grubb home from 1950-1951 consisted of a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, single attached garage house with a crawl space foundation. It was approximately 950 square feet in size and sold for $9,000.00. Grubb sold 300 of these houses per year in Tulsa in the 1950’s. He had an alternative idea in 1952. Modern architecture was becoming more common in residential and commercial construction. Modern home designs were a huge hit with California-based homebuilders like Joseph Eichler. Howard Grubb joined forces with Donald H. Honn, a Tulsa-based architect, to create more modern homes in the mid-price range. He wanted to provide homebuyers with something that was on the “cutting edge”, in architecture, and amenities that were not typically found in mid-priced homes. Grubb and Honn created many designs between 1952 and 1953, but rejected many before finally coming up with the Lortondale housing addition, Tulsa (OK).
Howard Grubb was keen to offer the most up-to-date home design and a perceived value for money. Grubb and Honn built three to four prototype homes for Lortondale in mid 1953. They were located at 21st Place in Tulsa and Pittsburgh Avenue. These houses were used to gauge demand, test public opinion and make any design changes they felt necessary. Their marketing studies were completed in early 1954 and they began construction of Lortondale, a housing addition at 26th Street and Yale Avenue in Tulsa. Lortondale was originally planned for approximately 540 homes. It was built on four 40-acre tracts located between 26th Street, 31st Street, Yale, Hudson Avenues, and Yale in Tulsa. Lortondale’s original selling prices ranged from $13,500.00 up to $16,500.00 depending on the model and available options. Donald Honn’s Lortondale plans offered great flexibility: 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 or 2 full baths, 1 or 2-car attached garages, bonus living areas, or 4th bedroom. Lortondale homes have many innovative features.
Lortondale homes had central forced-air heating as well as central “waterless,” refrigerated AC. Lortondale was the first American merchant builder to have all-waterless air-conditioned homes. Grubb entered into an agreement with Chrysler Airtemp (a Chrysler Motors division, similar to Frigidaire Corp.) to supply central air units of 3-ton for all Lortondale homes. Lortondale homes were featured in Chrysler air conditioning advertisements. Air conditioning was a luxury that was usually only available to custom-built homes at that time. Grubb was able, however, to offer this luxury in his mid priced homes.