The Archivist

NewsOK | BLOGS

OU Faculty House modeled after Washington's home

Mary Phillips Published: November 6, 2013
Advertisement
;

Drive north on Lincoln Boulevard and at NE 14 Street look at the corner house on the north side of the street.

Think about it and you might recognize that it bears a resemblance to a famous Virginia mansion.

In 1930, premier homebuilders, Carey, Calloway & Foster Inc. were announcing the completion of the Martha Washington, a 14-room house located at 601 NE 14 Street that was modeled to resemble George Washington’s famous home, Mount Vernon.

Washington’s Mount Vernon has 21-rooms and the portico and lawn face the Potomac River.

Oklahoma City’s version of Mount Vernon had 14-rooms and a portico that still faces its neighbor across the street.

According to a 1930 article in The Oklahoman, the 5,460 square foot home was built as a speculative venture. It had 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, including one with the bath tub in the center of the room. There was a conservatory, a den, a living room, large kitchen and breakfast room and a grand hall with a circular staircase on the first floor. The mantels were made of Georgia marble and mahogany, teak and other rare woods were used throughout house.

It has eight columns across the front portico, now mostly hidden by landscaping, two chimneys, three dormer windows and a cupola with a weather vane just like the famous mansion.

The basement held a club room for billiards and games and above the three car garage, there were rooms for domestic employees

When the house was put on the market, Oklahoma and the rest of the nation were in the midst of the Great Depression. The house stayed on the market and empty for four years until it was purchased by E.L. Neff.

Neff, a state bank examiner and federal housing employee, lived in the house with his family, but also recognized that with the hospital and medical school nearby there was a need for student housing. He operated the home as a boarding house for students.

The house was a meeting place and the scene of several weddings.

Dr. C. L Reeves was the last private owner of the house. His grandson, Bill Cathey, remembered the soda fountain his grandfather put in the basement to replace the bar.

Dr. Stewart Wolf, the University of Oklahoma’s  first full-time head of the Department of Medicine saw the need for a faculty house.

With the purchase of the house, it became a social gathering place and served as a residence for visiting professors, while also providing meals to faculty members.

In 1977, the Faculty Association transferred ownership to the Health Sciences Center.

According to the Faculty House history available online at http://www.ouhsc.edu/facultyhouse/history.asp :

Today the Faculty House is operated under the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Faculty House continues to serve the Faculty, Staff and Students of the Health Sciences Center along with the Legislature and lawmakers of the State Capitol and the Staff, Faculty and Employees of the Oklahoma Health Center, along with those in the know.”