If you haven’t been inside OKCWorks, the home of RACK59, you have missed out on one of the most impressive structures in Oklahoma City.

The former Lucent Technologies/AT&T/Western Electric plant has a long history since ground was first broken on the site in December of 1958. But since then, it has seen its share of ups and down.

Now, with RACK59 as its anchor and hundreds of thousands of square feet to be used and developed, it remains unparalleled.

“We believe OKCWorks has traits that are unmatched in the industry anywhere on the globe when it comes to expansion flexibility for users.  Also, the speed to market possibilities of OKCWorks will offer a terrific solution in an industry where urgent business needs surface rapidly.” – Tom Freeman, Jones, Lang, LaSalle

On this blog, we will walk you through the plant’s history and talk to some of the former workers inside. It’s because of their innovations that great work continues to this day at RACK59.

In 1960, the 1,100 new Western Electric employees first walked through the door of OKCWorks. Construction on the original factory cost $35 million. The 1,300,000 square feed made it one of the largest facilities of its kind in the southwest. The City of Oklahoma City helped lure Western Electric to place the new site in town by paying for the financing of a smaller test factory at 39th and Tulsa.

The plant quickly became an economic powerhouse for Oklahoma City, stimulating the economy thanks to all of the new jobs that were created.

Wrote the Oklahoma City Times on the groundbreaking day: “The ground-breaking ceremony for the huge, new Western Electric plant in Oklahoma City yesterday was definitely a major-league event — one that puts our city in the class of the biggest industrial centers in the nation. December 10, 1958 will alway be a red-letter day here.”

A major-league city? Sounds like OKCWorks was onto something 53 years ago.