By: Lorrie Ward | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2012
Morgan Williams, Linda Tedder, Sandy Coy, Evelyn Clark and Peggy Feese, chair of ways and means committee. (Not pictured: Marleta McGuire, historian, and Hoytanna Benigar, co-chair of ways and means committee.
Sometimes we might think a house is just a house, a place of shelter, somewhere to rest our heads and protect us from the weather. But some homes represent more – heritage, tradition, history. This perfectly describes the structures featured on the 2012 Old Home Tour, sponsored by the Rogers County Historical Society (RCHS). This year’s proceeds will benefit the Belvidere Mansion’s current restoration project.
“The windows in the Belvidere turret are leaking and need replacing badly,” says Morgan Anderssen Williams, vice president of membership for RCHS. But she points out a more important goal of RCHS in sponsoring this tour: education.
“There are so many interesting old homes and structures in Rogers County,” says Morgan. “This tour increases awareness and appreciation for the places and the fascinating histories of the people who helped build this community.”
Morgan adds that the Rogers County Historical Society works hard to make this tour great each year and is particularly grateful to Marleta McGuire, who has been doing the home tours since the 80s and has been with RCHS from the very beginning. “Marleta does so much behind the scenes, and we couldn’t do the tour without her research.”
The tour will be held Saturday, October 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 per adult, half price for older students (with student ID), available either in advance or on the day of the tour at the Belvidere Mansion Gift Shop. Admission is free for children under 12. The tour will include four structures in addition to the Belvidere: The Bungalow, The Bond Barn, The Hanes Ranch, and The Murray Barn.
The Bungalow is located on Chickasaw just a few blocks from the Belvidere. Built in 1910, the home was owned by one family for 85 years before being sold to its current owners, who have made several improvements in keeping with the time period of the home, such as replacing the wood floors. Morgan reports that the house “is in amazing condition for a home of its age – probably because it’s had so few owners.”
The Bond Barn is located on old Highway 88 and is a Claremore landmark, remarkably preserved and with features reminiscent of a simpler time. Morgan notes that The Bond Barn will be of definite interest to men as well as women. She also suggests men be sure to visit The Murray Barn. “Dr. Murray’s home is a marvel of what can be done with just parts from old barns,” says Morgan. “And the inside is something men will enjoy touring.”
The final and oldest home on the tour is The Hanes Home, built in 1880 by Charles Hanes and Delilah Ann Thornten Hanes. Morgan considers this home to be of particular importance when it comes to educating locals about Rogers County history, as it sits on the land where Osage Chief Claremont’s village was located.
The tour begins at The Belvidere and points are mapped in order from there, but this is only to help visitors find each home. No particular order is required; in fact, Morgan recommends that people visit them out of order to avoid crowding at one spot. “Any home can be toured during the time limit,” says Morgan. “People can linger in a house they like or skip one that does not interest them.”
Morgan doubts that lack of interest will be a problem at any of the points, however, as all are rich in local history and architectural design. Preservation of buildings like these on the tour is one of the primary focuses of RCHS. “It always pains us to see a piece of history demolished for a parking lot, strip mall or tract home. We hope people enjoy seeing what can be done with the old, historic places, and will choose to rescue and remodel instead of tearing down an older home.”
For more information, contact