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Ham left his home as-is and started offering tours of the damage.He named his home “The Pigs Museum” to irritate the police, and erected a large sign facing the highway advertising it.
Then we did something terrible, and very intentional, to it: the construction of Interstate 244, a bypass for I-44 just a few miles to the south.Their homes remained, but the street was removed to make room for steeply-sloped retaining walls that line the highway.With the street gone, these families had no way to access their homes except by climbing over chain link fences.Greeting guests meant installing a string with a bell at one end, and having them use ladders to climb over fences and walk through neighbors’ back yards.Water lines were also removed or altered, and the remaining residents were forced to pay to re-establish any connections to the system.The difficulty of getting to his home meant he had to rely on others for necessities: Neighborhood kids, some of whom used to swim in his private pool, bring him razor blades and magazines.
His sister delivers his mail, which he has had routed to her house.
The map below shows the residential and commercial areas and streets demolished for the highway right-of-way from downtown to Lewis Avenue: Red: Areas Demolished; Yellow: Street connections lost Within a decade, thousands of homes and businesses were demolished to make way for the highway. Admiral and Rockford, 1951-2016: Between the 19 editions of the Polk Directory, 265 units along Admiral Blvd were demolished, representing a one-year loss of 46%.
That same year, 1st St saw 117 units razed, along with 99 units along Admiral Pl.
Practically overnight, this major corridor lost more than a quarter of all its residential and business addresses.
Highway construction did more than just displace families and businesses.
Similar fights happened over a plan to route 244 alongside Southwest Blvd and the railroad tracks in west Tulsa.