Thursday, December 3, 2009

Gillette Mansion, 1921


1521 South Yorktown Place

This is the home of J. M. Gillette, from which the residential district around it draws its name. It is a three-story, Gothic Tudor building constructed of brick, stucco and heavy timbers. It has rock accents, multi-paned leaded glass windows set within cut stone Gothic arched frames, and a slate roof. This early photograph looks at the house from the north with the prominent windows on the west side.

Outstanding interior features include a winding staircase and cut stone fireplaces. One of the fireplaces has gargoyle brackets on the mantle. Much of the interior is of gumwood with intricately detailed moldings and paneling. It also features a library and a sunroom with a colored glass skylight.


Originally, the mansion’s back yard extended from the house to the lot line where 16th Street should go through. The mansion grounds included a natural stone goldfish pond, a wood and stone screened “summer house” facing the fish pond, a hand crafted (dated and signed) concrete picnic table and benches with inlaid tile tops, concrete garden benches, and a clay tennis court located in the southwest corner of the yard. The property around the mansion is now populated by other houses.


James Max Gillette was an important merchant, real estate entrepreneur and oilman in Tulsa’s early days. Gillette sited his home outside the city limits and raised purebred cattle on this “country place” for several years. The cattle grazed on land south of the mansion, which is currently occupied by four new homes. During the Depression, Gillette lost everything, including the mansion.
(Excerpts from Tulsa Preservation Committee. Older photo courtesy of the Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.)

11 comments:

  1. I would love to tour this home. I am sure the the interior features are stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is a beautiful home with a fascinating early history. If only the walls could talk.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a great house. In the late 60's and early 70's we used to trick or treat there and they always invited us in. There was a high first step to the house...left from the days of old cars with high running boards, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been inside and it is stunning. No library though

    ReplyDelete
  5. The last time I visited my great uncle Sam Miller was about 1976. I always wondered what happened after Sam and Mary passed away. Who owns the mansion now? cw@cwdusa.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. a family that lives down the street from the mansion just purchased it

    ReplyDelete
  7. Amazing home. You just do not see fine craftsmanship and detail like this house anymore. The step was for the horse carriages.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When I was a student at Tulsa University In the mid- 70's a friend rented the garage apartment and I got to meet the owners, the Millers, who graciously invited us into their lovely home a couple of times. They were kind to give us tours of the house and point out the extraordinary collection of antiques---some of which had belonged to Napoleon. The fish pond in the back lawn had the largest golden koi. There was a Cadillac in their garage which had never been removed since the day decades before it had been parked there. At this time the lawn was still in tact and had not been subdivided, so the estate was as it had been for years. As extraordinary and unforgettable as the house, furnishings and grounds were, the entertaining and lovely couple, the Millers, were even more impressive. That beautiful estate was an apt background for the obvious love and affection the Millers had for each other.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I, D. G. Bilby, submitted the 12-31-11 comment above.

    ReplyDelete