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An Icon Reborn: Reimagining and Restoring First National

Click the play button on the video player above to watch and listen to this week’s special episode, the latest installment of our year-long weekly celebration of the firm’s 70th anniversary.

In February 1931, construction began on a new tower that would become an icon for downtown Oklahoma City. By the time it was finished in November of that year, the First National Bank Building would boast a notable architectural resemblance to another iconic art deco skyscraper, the Empire State Building in New York City.

Even though it narrowly lost the “Great Race” of skyscraper construction in 1931 to its neighbor Ramsey Tower (now City Place) by just a few weeks, this landmark would reign as the tallest building in Oklahoma until surpassed by Liberty Tower (now BancFirst Tower) in 1971.

Since our founding in 1952, the iconic First National has always held a special place in our hearts and our firm’s history. For 15 years, 2020 First National Building was our home.  In more recent years, it’s been our work’s passion.

This week, after nearly seven years of reimagination, restoration and renovation, this 90-year-old beacon of Oklahoma history reopens to the public in all its glory, and it’s even more spectacular than we remembered it.

Narrator: Todd Barsness
Producer/Director/Editor: Brad Neese
Producer/Writer: Robin Croninger
Executive Producer: Michael Lauderdale
Production Assistance: Cody Smith, Caleb Taulbee and Vanessa Spaeth

Special Contributor: Frank Hill

Photos and footage courtesy: Oklahoma Historical Society, Gary Brooks, Evergreene Architectural Arts, 111 Media (drone/aerial), and McAfee & Taft production team and archives.