The demolition of the Camelot Hotel in Tulsa started on Thursday to clear the site for a new convenience store. The News On 6â€™s Emory Bryan reports the workers made it through a substantial section of the north and back side of the hotel. A hydraulic scissor tore into the walls of the Camelot, the first step towards demolishing one of Tulsa's most visible icons. The job will take several days, but it's been a long time coming.
When the Camelot was first built, it symbolized the hope and imagination of Tulsa's business interests. It had a drawbridge and moat. The pool was shaped like King Arthur's shield. It had 367 rooms, on eight stories. It was one of Tulsa's largest and most luxurious hotels, charging $35 a night.
Some in the line of spectators for the demolition remember those days.
"I'm 58 and I saw this thing built and I'm seeing it go down," said Gary Gray.
Younger people brought their children in hopes of making a memory that even a 4-year-old might remember.
"It was a wonderful place, back in the day I guess," said Kimberly Emerson.
The Camelot was purchased by the QuikTrip Corporation, after years of failed plans by others to renovate the building as a hotel and apartments. Over the last few months workers removed the few remaining furnishings and cleaned out the asbestos from the building, leaving only concrete and steel and lots of worn out red carpet.
The site will be used for a QuikTrip and several smaller businesses around it.
"It's a great location number one and it will be great for QuikTrip but we also know when we come in to areas that need a lot of works, and associate with other businesses, this whole area will be revitalized," said QuikTripâ€™s Mike Thornbrugh.
The Camelot stood for more than 40 years but will come down in less than a week, leaving Tulsans with only their memories.
Anyone who lives or works around I-44 and Peoria isnâ€™t likely to be disappointed to see the Camelot go. It's been a problem because of people breaking in, some living there, and some just vandalizing the place.
There's not a firm date for the construction of the QuikTrip, because of still changing plans for the widening of I-44.
Watch the video: Clearing Away A Piece Of History
9/8/2001 Future Of Camelot Hotel
1/18/2002 Camelot Hotel Items Being Liquidated
12/3/2006 Crumbling Landmark Hotel Escapes Wrecking Ball
4/10/2007 Camelot Hotel Could Soon Become A Distant Memory
4/11/2007 The Fall Of Camelot
4/27/2007 Local Stone Cutter Designed Some Medieval Protection For The Camelot Hotel
6/2/2007 The End Of The Camelot
9/17/2007 Demolition Begins
12/5/2007 Taking Down A Historic Hotel