Playtower – Bartlesville, Oklahoma - Atlas Obscura


A whimsical tower with a spiral staircase, inspired by the Space Age and the Möbius strip. 


With a spiral staircase and spherical top, the Playtower was inspired by both the space age and the continuous 360 degrees of the Mobius strip. 

The Playtower was designed by midcentury architect Bruce Goff and constructed in 1963. It was commissioned as a gift to the local children, and originally featured an observation room at the top and a sand pit at the bottom with a Mobius strip play structure where kids could climb for 360 degrees without boundaries. Although its colors faded, it was painted with green, red, and yellow primary colors.

After falling into neglect, the sand pit disappeared and the observation deck was closed in the early 1990s. An act of vandalism in 2009 where someone stole a backhoe and rammed the tower almost spelled its doom. However, a restoration campaign in 2013 focused on fixing the retro-future tower up for its 50th anniversary. In 2014, a restored Playtower was proudly unveiled. 

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