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Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building

Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, as it appeared before its destruction.
Alternative names Alfred P. Murrah Building
General information
Status Destroyed
Address 200 Northwest 5th Street
Town or city Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Country United States of America
Opening March 2, 1977
Destroyed April 19, 1995
Owner United States federal government

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States federal government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people, 19 of which were children under the age of six.[1] Half of the building collapsed seconds after the truck bomb detonated. The remains of the building were imploded a month after the attack, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial was built on the site.


  • Construction and use 1
  • Prior bombing plots 2
  • Bombing 3
  • Artworks in the building 4
  • Demolition 5
  • Remnants and replacement 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Construction and use

The federal building was designed by architect Wendell Locke of Locke, Wright and Associates and constructed using reinforced concrete in 1977[2] at a cost of $14.5 million. The building, named for federal judge Alfred P. Murrah, an Oklahoma native, opened on March 2, 1977.[3]

By the 1990s, the building contained regional offices for the Social Security Administration, the United States Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The building also contained recruiting offices for both the Army and the Marine Corps. It housed approximately 550 employees.[4] The building also housed a children's day care center.

Prior bombing plots

In October 1983, members of the white supremacist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA), including founder James Ellison and Richard Snell plotted to park "a van or trailer in front of the Federal Building and blow it up with rockets detonated by a timer."[5] While the CSA was building a rocket launcher to attack the building, the ordinance accidentally detonated in one of the member's hands. The CSA took this as divine intervention and called off the planned attack. Convicted of murder in an unrelated case, Richard Snell was executed on April 19, 1995, the same day as the bombing of the federal building was carried out, after Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas declined to hear further appeal.[6]


Murrah Building during the recovery effort

At 9:02 a.m. local time on April 19, 1995, a Ryder rental truck, containing approximately 7,000 pounds (3175 kg) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane, and diesel fuel was detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, destroying a third of the building and causing severe damage to several other buildings located nearby. As a result of the massive explosion, 168 people were killed, including 19 children, and over 800 others were injured.[7] It was the deadliest terrorist attack, with the most property damage, on American soil before the September 11 attacks. It remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.

Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the attack in a jury trial and was sentenced to death. He was executed in 2001. A co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, is serving multiple life sentences in a federal prison. Third and fourth subjects, Michael Fortier and his wife Lori, assisted in the plot. They testified against both McVeigh and Nichols in exchange for a 12-year prison term for Michael Fortier and immunity for Lori. Fortier was released into the witness protection program in January 2006.[8]

McVeigh said that he bombed the Murrah building on the two-year anniversary of the Waco siege in 1993 to retaliate for U.S. government actions there and at the siege at Ruby Ridge. Before his execution, McVeigh said that he did not know a day care center was in the building and that, had he known, "It might have given me pause to switch targets."[1] The FBI said that McVeigh scouted the interior of the building in December 1994 and likely knew of the day-care center before the bombing.[9]

Artworks in the building

Many works of art were in the Murrah Building Bombing when it was destroyed in the Oklahoma City bombing.[10] The Oklahoma City National Memorial displays art that survived the bombing. Lost:

An untitled acrylic sculpture by Fred Eversley was severely damaged, but survived the blast.


Murrah Building after the attack

Rescue and recovery efforts were concluded at 11:50 pm on May 1, with the bodies of all but three victims recovered.[11] For safety reasons, the building was to be demolished shortly afterward. However, McVeigh's attorney, Stephen Jones, called for a motion to delay the demolition until the defense team could examine the site in preparation for the trial.[12] More than a month after the bombing, at 7:01 am on May 23, the Murrah Federal building was demolished.[11] The final three bodies, those of two credit union employees and a customer, were recovered.[13] For several days after the building's demolition, trucks hauled 800 tons of debris a day away from the site. Some of the debris was used as evidence in the conspirators' trials, incorporated into parts of memorials, donated to local schools, and sold to raise funds for relief efforts.[12]

Remnants and replacement

Several remnants of the Murrah Building stand on the site of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Its plaza (on what was once the south side of the building) has been incorporated into the memorial; the Murrah Building's original flagpole is still in use. The east wall of the Murrah Building (within the building's footprint) is intact, as well as portions of the south wall. The building's underground parking garage survived the blast and is used today, but it is guarded and closed to the public.[14]

The General Services Administration immediately sought to replace the facility. The building site is a transition zone between the Central Business District and the North Downtown neighborhood. The new 185,000 square foot building was designed by Ross Barney Architects of Chicago, Illinois, with Carol Ross Barney as the lead designer.[15] Constructed on a two city block site, one block north and west of the former site, the new building's design maximized sustainable design and workplace productivity initiatives. Security design was paramount to the Federal employees and its neighbors. Secure design was achieved based on the GSA's current standards for secure facilities including blast resistant glazing. Structural design resists progressive collapse. Building mass, glazing inside the courtyard, and bollards help to maintain a sense of openness and security. The art in architecture component of the building incorporates a water feature that acts as an additional security barrier.[16]


  1. ^ a b, Phoenix Disaster Recovery Newsletter: Retrieved 2001-03-29.
  2. ^ US L Book 001975 Page 0180 Sequoyah County, OK Instrument I-US75-000180 Recorded October 22, 1975 at 9:00am Fees & Dates Fees $0.00 Mortgage amount $376.56 Document stamps $0.00 Recorded on 10/22/1975 9:00am Instrument date 10/16/1975 Released on 07/01/1982 Parties Grantor 🔍 Search US #7301-5031 Grantees 🔍 Search MILLAR, ROBERT B.🔍 Search MILLAR, LINDA J. Legal Description
  3. ^ "Architect Says Bombed OK Building was Solidly Built". Transcript # 635-35, 7:07 pm ET, Interview by Linden Soles with Wendell Locke. (CNN). April 19, 1995. 
  4. ^ "Car Bombing In Oklahoma City Jolts the Nation". All Things Considered (NPR). April 19, 1995. 
  5. ^ Thomas, Jo; Smothers, Ronald (May 20, 1995). "Oklahoma City Building Was Target Of Plot as Early as '83, Official Says". New York Times. 
  6. ^ "White Supremacist Executed For Murdering 2 in Arkansas". New York Times. April 21, 1995. 
  7. ^ Irving, ed., Clive (1995). In Their Name. New York:  
  8. ^ The Christian Science Monitor, Article date: January 23, 2006
  9. ^ "". CNN archives. CNN. March 29, 2001. Retrieved June 5, 2009. 
  10. ^ An Oklahoma Tribute (PDF). US  
  11. ^ a b Irving, Clive (ed.), ed. (1995). In Their Name (First ed.).  
  12. ^ a b Linenthal, Edward (2001). The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory. New York:  
  13. ^ "CNN Interactive". Federal Building Demolition. Archived from the original on December 10, 2006. Retrieved February 1, 2007. 
  14. ^ "Oklahoma City National Memorial - Frequently Asked Questions". US National Park Service. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  15. ^ "Structural Integrity". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  16. ^ "New Oklahoma City Federal Building: Groundbreaking Set for Tuesday". United States General Services Administration. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 

External links

  • Map:
  • Photos of the Murrah building before the bombing
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