Nov 18, 2010

Mid-century Mecca

Roman Nose State Park lodge

Five years ago my husband and I purchased a 1956 ranch-style house and I became slightly obsessed with mid-century architecture. So when Austin and I recently had the opportunity to tour the renovated lodge at Roman Nose State Park in Watonga, I was in heaven.

The original 20-room lodge was built in 1956 and 27 new rooms were added in a south wing in 1985. Fast forward to 2007 and Tropical Storm Erin created flood damage and structural issues that required demolition of the entire south wing.

A situation that began as a flood and emergency declaration turned into an opportunity for the state park to create a modern lodge that incorporates the natural landscape of the area, the park’s history, and conveniences that today's travelers expect.

The lodge was renovated in the footprint of the original structure and includes 20 rooms plus two ADA accessible suites. The on-site restaurant, banquet room, meeting room, lobby and patio have also been completely remodeled in keeping with mid-century modern decor and finishes.

In addition to the lodge, the park itself has an interesting history. In the late 1800’s, the area now known as Roman Nose State Park was a winter campground of the Cheyenne tribe. Today it is named in honor of Chief Henry Caruthers Roman Nose, who – with his family – lived in the canyon from 1887 until his death in 1917.

Roman Nose State Park opened to the public in 1937 as one of Oklahoma’s seven original State Parks and has several structures that were built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps and are still in use today. There is also an 18-hole golf course that was the first canyon-style course in Oklahoma, plus 10 cottages and an ADA accessible cabin that was donated by the Lucent Technology Pioneers group.

The official ribbon cutting for the lodge took place yesterday along with a ceremonial blessing of the grounds by Lawrence Roman Nose, great-grandson of Chief Henry Roman Nose.

Watonga and the state park itself are very sentimental to my family and I'm so happy to see the lodge restored in such a modern and thoughtful way. I hope you will take some time to plan a getaway or make the short drive to check out the new Roman Nose lodge. Whether you're a fan of rest and relaxation or mid-century design, it is well worth a visit.

-- Lindsay
Photos by Brandon Snider and Keli Clark.


  1. wow this looks great! When I saw mid-century modern I figured it was your post

  2. Guess I'm a little predictable when it comes to mid-century design. :) We should totally plan a trip out there with our families. You and Mike could mountain bike or trout fish while Trisha and I explore the natural springs and trails with the boys.

  3. I think there is a blog in Oklahoma dedicated to mid-Century design - maybe out of Tulsa? I came across it when I was writing about Julius Shulman and that exhibit at OKCMOA. The personal anecdotes in these posts are what separate it from a travel brochure and keep me coming back. I like mid-Century, too.