|The historic 'Blair Mansion' in Tulsa, Oklahoma, long a Tulsan symbol of|
history, a mere days before it's demolition to make way for a $200 million
On February 1, 2014, Tulsa's historic 'Blair Mansion'
facing Riverside, overlooking the Arkansas River,
was demolished after attempts to move the
residence to make way for a park. Demolition begun
at 8:00 a.m. and was completed by 10:00 a.m. With
it, went a piece of sacred Tulsa history.
one of the largest investors in Canal Refining Co.
and Western Supply Co., and his wife Priscilla Blair
on their dream lot, 33.2 acres overlooking the
Arkansas River on historic Riverside Drive, a plot
that the Blair's cozily called their little 'farm'. The
Blair's commissioned local architect John Duncan
Forsyth to design their southern plantation-style
home, inspired by 'Beauvoir', the Mississippi home
of John Davis, President of the Confederacy during
the Civil War. With two stories, expansive gardens
and wide veranda, the home for many years
functioned as a full working farm, complete with a
large vegetable garden, fruit trees, and a manager's
cottage. Many can recall driving by the mansion in
50's and 60's and smelling the aroma of Blair's
freshly mown alfalfa.
Blair died in 1980, after which it was inherited by
Priscilla Blair, who was a member of the Tulsa
Garden Club and also a charter member of the
Philbrook Art Museum. The home was passed onto
the Blair's only son, John Blair, a longtime resident
of Swan Lake, Montana, upon Priscilla's death in
1995. John Blair promptly sold the residence. In
2012, Dan Buford, a nursing-home builder and
twenty-year resident of the Blair Mansion, sold the
property to the George Kaiser Foundation, with the
intention the Buford would be given a year to try
and relocate the home. After consulting numerous
architects, the plan was to have the home split into
three halves and moved to a separate location. This
would prove to be nearly impossible and extremely
costly. After a year, Buford gave up. It wasn't till the
day of the demolition, February 1, that I realized the
home was being demolished.
It was 7:15 a.m., and the crews had already arrived
at the site, to meet
the 8:00 deadline. I was still bewildered why the
home was being demolished. "To make way for a
Tulsa Parks Gathering Space" the papers said. But
why did the home need to be demolished? Couldn't
this "gathering space" be built somewhere on the
other 33 acres of the property? Or why couldn't the
home itself be used? The lavish interiors would be a
perfect fit for weddings, receptions and other such
events. Why did the home have to be demolished?
That question will forever ring in my mind "Why did
it have to go.. why... why was The 'Blair Mansion'
The 'Blair Mansion' will forever remain in the hearts of
Tulsans as a symbol of history, elegance and stately-hood.
To read more about this magnificent piece of history, please
visit my FaceBook page about the property, "The Legacy of
The 'Blair Mansion'", and give us a like. Click HERE to do so.