Sunday, February 2, 2014

'Blair Mansion' DEMOLITION

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
park plan. 

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.

Constructed in 1952 for Tulsa millionaire, B. B. Blair, 

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. 

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