• Menu
  • Menu
arco building

ARCO Building

City/Town:
Location Class:
Built: 1916 | Abandoned: 2018
Status: For SaleAbandonedPrivate Property
Photojournalist: Emily Cowan

Prairie Oil & Gas Company Office

ARCO BuildingThe Prairie Oil and Gas Company was a large competitor of Sinclair, and was founded in 1900.  During its initial four years, the Prairie Oil and Gas Company’s office and refinery were situated in Neodesha, Kansas, just twenty miles north of Independence. According to “Oil And Independence” by R.L. Wells, in 1904, the company shifted its offices from Neodesha to Independence, setting up within the Carl-Leon Hotel.

While most people know this as the Arco Building, it wasn’t that originally. Ground broke on a brand new large office building in Independence to house the company on August 9th, 1915. The plans for the builder, done by architects Madorie & Birdsdall, depicted one more attractive than most thought, one that would bring character to Independence.

The construction team consisted of  Thompson-Starrett Company from New York erecting the building. An order for 65,000 feet of lumber was needed for the building, one that would surely be a very big boom for the Rock Island Lumber Co. Green and Cullen who were given the excavation contract were eager to push the project forward. But this didn’t come without the complication of finding enough horses and wagons to do the work. The lack of horse teams was blamed on the fact that so many had been shipped out of the country in recent years to aid in the European war.

By the time it was almost complete, headlines were calling claiming there was “None Better in the State.” That this was the largest and most modern private office building in Kansas. This remained their office headquarters until around 1969 when the building became the ARCO Building.

ARCO Building 1969-1995

ARCO was established in 1966 as the Atlantic Richfield Company, an independent oil and gas company formed from the merger of Atlantic Petroleum and the Richfield Oil Corporation.
For decades, Independence headquarters housed personnel who directed and participated in the operation, engineering, accounting, communications, and construction activities for many miles of pipelines. These lines extended to the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, the Great Lakes, and across Alaska.

But the bliss and economic boom that ARCO brought to Independence wouldn’t last forever. In 1992 the company announced that its headquarters operation and top managers would relocate to Houston. At the time more than 200 employees were located in this building and it would take the next three years to fully vacate it.

After its operation fully moved to Houston the company began working with officials to agree on transferring the ownership of the building to either the County or City. The city even used the building as part of an incentive package in an attempt to bring Cessna into the area.

Independence Corporate Office Building 1995-

The city was able to take over the building and turn it into the Independence Corporate Office Building in 1995. Coffeyville and Independence Job Services Departments would consolidate into the building amongst other departments. Even apartments were planned for the top floor.

Amongst the tenants were a hair salon, an attorney’s office, Cessna HR, real estate office and more. In August 1996 the building finally sold to three California investors.

Eventually, the building lay in the hands of Tim Janak from Tulsa Oklahoma. And it was during his tenure as building owner that the chapter closed. After the loss of the Department of Children and Family Services the decision to close the building on August 12, 2018, was a tough call made. Janak stated “With the loss of DCF from the Arco Building, it is clear that it is no longer financially and logistically viable to keep the ARCO open and operating.”

But that wasn’t the end of it, in 2022 the City Commission was forced to discuss condemning the building due to years of vandalism and neglect. In a memo to the commission, assistant city manager David Cowan said city staff members have received numerous and frequent complaints from the public concerning the property’s ongoing neglect and demise. The physical structure itself is falling into disrepair, as the current owner, Tim Janak of Tulsa, Okla., severed all utilities in 2019.

Should the City of Independence pursue the condemnation of the structure, then the property owner will be required to bring the building into compliance with city codes. If not, then it will be up to the City to demolish the structure. Removing occupants from the building and securing all entrances and windows would likely cost between $25,000 to $50,000, Cowan said in the memo.

After much back and forth, the building was finally put up for sale with an asking price of $320,000, $120,000 less than the appraised value. In late 2023 the building sold to an investor out of Tulsa Oklahoma, plans for the building are not yet known.




Bibliography

https://www.newspapers.com/image/697887895/?terms=%22arco%20building%22%20independence&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/636369667/?terms=%22arco%20building%22%20independence&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/610225347/?terms=%22arco%20building%22%20independence&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/610237187/?terms=%22arco%20building%22%20independence&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/697887895/?terms=independence%20office%20building&match=1

https://kggfradio.com/local-news/371216

Arco building owner blames city
byu/HoorayforbrainsIndy inIndependenceKS

https://www.newspapers.com/image/381469045/?terms=prairie%20office%20building&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/94823147/?terms=prairie%20office%20building&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/94822899/?terms=prairie%20office%20building&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/381429192/?terms=prairie%20office%20building&match=1

https://www.newspapers.com/image/95105669/?terms=prairie%20office%20building&match=1

ARCO Building
Emily Cowan

Emily is a three-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" - "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World" and "Abandoned Kansas: Healthcare in the Heartland. With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

If you wish to support our current and future work, please consider making a donation or purchasing one of our many books. Any and all donations are appreciated.

Donate to our cause Check out our books!

Emily Cowan

Emily is a three-time published author of "Abandoned Oklahoma: Vanishing History of the Sooner State" - "Abandoned Topeka: Psychiatric Capital of the World" and "Abandoned Kansas: Healthcare in the Heartland. With over two hundred published articles on our websites. Exploring since 2018 every aspect of this has become a passion for her. From educating, fighting to preserve, writing, and learning about history there is nothing she would rather do.

View Locations
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Copyright © 2009- - Abandoned Atlas Foundation - board@AbandonedAtlas.com | Designed By Prairie Nation Creative, LLC - Disclaimer

Total
0
Share
error: Content is copyright protected by The Abandoned Atlas Foundation. To request the use of information/media: board@abandonedatlas.com or copy and paste link to post
0
Have history here? Would love hear your stories or your thoughts.x
()
x