Thursday, 16 October 2014

Overholser Mansion

The last day I went to the OHS I was determined to spend as much time as it took to find 'my people' so Bill made another plan: as part of his marathon training he would walk the 11 miles back to our hotel – in the 90-something degree heat. 

Love the curve at the top of the ceiling!

I made sure he had his phone and some cash and plenty of water and then set him loose. He had a great time exploring and found all sorts of things to photograph.

One stop he made was to see the Overholser Mansion. We’d been twice before with no luck and it sounds as though they aren’t really in it for the money, but his perseverance paid off. 

Photos without flash aren't as clear, but may be 'atmospheric'.

I only wish I’d been with him.  Next time we’re in OKC I definitely want to visit, if we can get in.

He swears he doesn't remember much about the people who lived there, only that the original Overholser, Henry, made his money selling horses to the U.S. Army and that he was the first to build 'out in the country' in what was to become the grand area, Heritage Hills (a funny name, since it is flat as a pancake). 

I remember Bill telling me that Henry and his wife, only had one daughter - whom they named Henry! She had no children either. 

Upon her death (1959) her husband inherited the house. He lived until the 1970s and the house was purchased by the Oklahoma Historical Society...where I was 'digging up ancestors'. 

Love that quilt!

Oh, heavens, I just looked up Henry Overholser and learned that he had a previous wife, a daughter (Elizabeth) and a son (Edward - so he had no call to go and name his second daughter Henry!). He was divorced from his first wife, Emma, around 1880! And he still managed to get a lake named after him...

Packratting at its best.

I think it's terribly sad that such a grand house was only inhabited by two generations, but then it was only built in 1903, which no longer seems that

old to me. Bill said there was still a lot of work needed to renovate it. I expect wood doesn't hold up as well as brick or stone, the primary building materials in Britain.

Overholser eventually had some rather grand neighbours, though these days they all seem rather 'cheek by jowl' to me, with barely a few yards between them. I suppose I've become accustomed to grand houses have 'estates' to go with them.

Growing up I thought having a transom must be the height of antique elegance. Who knew there was a saying 'like pushing a piano through a transom' about childbirth and any other difficult undertaking...

Still, I remember when Heritage Hills was being dragged back to its former grandeur. Not only did one have to be able to afford the house and its renovation, but also security systems and a private school for the children. Still, you'd have a very impressive house, with a lot of living space within a short proximity to the downtown business district. 

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