Architectural DNA – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - Atlas Obscura

Architectural DNA

An old spiral fire escape dangles above a public courtyard in Midtown Oklahoma City.  


A rusted spiral fire escape dangles between two buildings in Midtown Oklahoma City. It’s a surreal, bizarre sight to stumble upon.

Originally built in the early 20th century, the staircase was salvaged from the nearby Marion Hotel. It was then suspended between two buildings as a quirky piece of public art and named after the double helix it resembles.

The Marion Hotel opened as a hotel in the early 1900s, right around the time Oklahoma became a state. The building itself was constructed in 1904, making it one of the area’s few surviving structures built before statehood and one of the city’s oldest commercial buildings.

But sadly, as with many grand 20th-century hotels, things began taking a turn for the worse. The hotel closed in 1985, by then a dilapidated shell of its former self. The building remained closed for decades until it was recently converted into an apartment complex.

The fire escape, which originally stretched from the third floor into the basement, was removed via crane during the renovations. After one of the building’s owners saw it suspended in midair during the moving process, it was decided to preserve the spiraling structure and give it a new home in the sky above a nearby courtyard.

Know Before You Go

Parking is usually easy, directly across the street in the lot on the south side of NW 10th.

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