OKC Drug and Prostitution Landmark to be Demolished
10:30 AM EDT on August 29, 2022
Oklahoma City is losing another historical landmark.
Last week, local building watchdog Steve Lackmeyer reported that the Biltmore Hotel – a wretched hive of scum and villainy along Reno and Meridian – is set to be demolished.
At one point in its early history, the hotel was a place to see and be seen for travelers and local elites alike, but as development and tourism money shifted back towards downtown in the 1990s, the hotel – which was once the state's largest – turned into the go-to hot spot for local drug dealers, prostitutes, petty thieves, politicians, gang members, murderers, and rambunctious teens and their older siblings...
Here are details via The Oklahoman_:
The Biltmore Hotel, once one of Oklahoma City’s largest and finest destinations, is under new ownership and set to be torn down following years of neglect and soaring crime rates.
Paul Ravencraft and George Williams, brokers with Price Edwards, announced the 11.19-acre property at 401 S Meridian Ave. sold to Pride Group Logistics for $5.5 million. The hotel opened as a 509-room Hilton Inn in 1972, but demolition of rooms toward the back of the property in recent years cut that number to 367 rooms...
Much like the odor that emitted from the Biltmore Hotel, that kind of stinks... especially if you own one of the neighboring motels that the Biltmore's residents are going to move to!
Sure, the hotel had turned into a crime-infested eyesore over the years, and a place you wouldn't want to visit unless you needed some quality meth, but places like the Biltmore give our city character, and when they go away, they take a lot of memories with them.
Way back in the late 90s, just after I turned 21, my brother – who was in high school – hit me up. He and some friends had rented three or four adjoining rooms on a friend's parents' credit card for a party and needed me to buy beer for them. Being the role model I was, I quickly and eagerly said "Yes," knowing that I'd essentially get to drink for free that night in the process.
When I stopped by the Biltmore, I was informed that everything – the hotel rooms and alcohol – were being charged on some German exchange student's parent's credit card. I guess he was returning home soon, and this was his big sendoff.
At that point, I should have turned around and gone back to my apartment, but being the good big brother I am, I played along, and Günther – I think that was the German kid's name – and I went to the Phillips 66 on the other side of I-40 and Meridian.
While there, we purchased about $100 worth of cheap beer and wine coolers. I remember being paranoid that the clerk would think something was up, but they didn't seem to care that a 21-year-old dude and an 18-year-old blonde-haired kid were buying cases of MGD and Keystone Light and charging it to a foreign MasterCard. This was I-40 and Meridian land, where I guess anything goes.
We then went back to the Biltmore and the party started. I'd guesstimate there were about 40 people between the ages of 17 and 21 scattered between multiple hotel rooms drinking, having fun, and living the good life, having no clue they were at the end of the last great age in human existence before the Internet would take over and ruin all the fun.
After about an hour or so, I ran into one of my friends from high school in one of the quieter rooms. We both looked at each other in one of those "What are you doing at a high school party? Don't tell anyone about this!" type of ways. I had a decent "This is my little brother's party and they needed someone to buy beer" excuse. I don't think he had one at all.
After a few minutes of catching up, I could tell the guy was inebriated on something way heavier than just alcohol. He was sweating heavily and his eyes were glazed red. We chatted a bit or whatever, and then I went back to another room.
Five minutes later, my brother ran up to me. "Patrick! is going nuts!" I went back to the room. The guy was sitting at the foot of the bed, blanky staring at his fist. There were about three or four holes punched into the wall behind him.
"Dude!!! What the fuck!?" I said.
"I think I need to go," he said. He then stood up, swayed a bit, and set back down.
On cue, there was a pounding knock on the door. It was hotel management. They had received reports of loud sounds coming from the room. I opened the door and let them in.
The manager surveyed the damage and his face turned bright red. He spoke into a walkie-talkie, informing whoever was on the other end to call the police. He then asked who had rented the room. I said I wasn't sure "But they could charge all damages to the credit card on file."
The manager stormed out and marched down the hallway to check on the other rooms. By that point, though, word had already come out that cops were on their way, and scores of teens were fleeing out the doors like cockroaches when the lights turn on. I decided it was best for me to leave, too, and fled the hotel – the last time I would ever be there – with a 12-pack of Keystone Light tightly secured in my hands.
Anyway, where was I going with all this?
Oh yeah, they're tearing down the Biltmore and my hole-in-the-wall memories that go with it! What am I going to fondly recall now when I pass by Meridian at I-40? The time I bought ditch weed in the parking lot at Celebration Station?
For what it's worth, my story about the Biltmore is tame compared to others:
Our thoughts and condolences go out to everyone who has called the Biltmore home over the last decade or so, and/or used it as a home base for their drug or prostitution businesses. I hope they find an equally trashy hotel to set up shop, and create new treasured memories.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We'll keep you advised.
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