Tulsa Skyline Changing: 4 Iconic Downtown Signs Being Removed

Friday, December 20th 2019, 7:49 am
By: News On 6

The downtown Tulsa skyline will look different when you drive in to work on Friday. It's because four of the city's most iconic signs have been removed from the building that's been their home for 65 years.

"It's really cool to be a part of such a big piece of history here in Tulsa," said Colton Rice.

Rice, who works for Yesco Sign & Light, is one of the "flyers" on this job. He's been an aerial technician for the company for about four months, and removing the four Sunoco signs from the Sun Building at 9th & Detroit is his first big job.

The signs were installed on the building when it opened in 1954, and got new faces and bulbs about 15 years ago.

Rice said, "In most signs these days you'll find fluorescent bulbs, these actually utilize a 1,000-watt metal halide bulb. Very old-school technology but very cool at the same time."

Sun Building property manager Kelly Baker said Sunoco sold the building in 2006, turned off the signs a short time later, and started slowly moving workers out.

"The last two employees of Sunoco have left the building, finally, after all these years. They left in November--end of November--and the signs are branded, which means Sunoco owns the rights to the signs and they wanted their signs back."

Baker was already sad to see the employees go. He's not sure how he'll react when he sees that the signs are gone, too.

“I've known hundreds and hundreds of Sun employees over the years and I've seen them leave one by one and that's rather sad,” he said, “So that's a good question."

Rice said his team will carefully crate up the signs and send them to Philadelphia, where Sunoco is headquartered, and believes they're definitely worth saving.

"The designers of the building and the signs, they really knew what they were doing when they put them up there. That's, uh, that's old-school quality."