'Gorgeous' mantels inspire Oklahoma City Miller neighborhood's holiday tour

Participants in the Miller Mantels & Trees Tour in Oklahoma City share a love of decorating for Christmas. Proceeds from the tour will benefit Oklahoma City's historic Miller neighborhood.
BY DYRINDA TYSON dyrinda@gmail.com Published: December 3, 2011
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People involved in the Miller Mantels & Trees Tour might share more than an address in Oklahoma City's historic Miller neighborhood.

“Christmas is like my favorite, so I tend to go crazytown,” said Jordan Higgins, showing visitors through the 1926 bungalow at 1615 N Miller Blvd. that she has called home for six years.

Strains of “White Christmas” waft through the house, a tree glows softly in a darkened bedroom nearby, and an eclectic collection of Christmas decorations appears very much at home even amid the living room's thoroughly modern lines.

One ceramic tree, a gift from her mother, holds some sentimental value, Higgins said.

“A lot of this stuff, though, honestly, I found at the thrift store and changed it up,” she said.

The Higgins home is one of six Miller neighborhood homes throwing open the doors Friday for the third annual Miller Mantels & Tree Tour. It will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Garden Gate Antiques, 1307 N May Ave., and 23rd Street Antique Mall, 3023 NW 23.

Money raised during the tour will go for more lighting in the neighborhood's medians.

The tour “was just something I thought of because every home has a gorgeous mantel,” said Mickey Barnard, who serves as tour chairman and lent his design talents to spots along the tour.

Mike Stuart and Bruce Hall will open their entire home at 1221 N Miller Blvd., which Barnard helped them transform into a glittering world for the season.

“My mom grew up in a Catholic orphanage, so holidays when I was growing up turned into huge, huge events, and Christmas was her favorite,” Stuart said.

Stuart and Hall moved into the two-story manor in 1997, but it dates back to 1915 when developer George Miller built it for his own family. Miller was a gentleman farmer, Stuart said.

“That's why there are medians,” he said. “The trolley tracks here carried them from the country — this was the country — downtown.”

Miller is far from rural now, centered north of bustling NW 10 just a few miles from State Fair Park. But the neighborhood and its homes, many dating from the early 20th century, maintain a timeless tranquility as well as the perfect canvas for holiday decorating.

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