Gillette Historic District
Representative Sample of Properties
- 1. GILLETTE MANSION (1521 South Yorktown Place) 1921
- The home of J. M. Gillette, from which the district draws its name, 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. 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.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.
- 2. TULSA WORLD MODEL HOUSE (1546 South Yorktown Place) 1923
- This Jacobean/Tudor cottage was considered the ultimate in gracious suburban living. The residence was sponsored by the Tulsa World newspaper and was furnished by its advertisers with the latest in appliances, furniture and accessories. Fifty thousand Tulsans visited it during the few weeks it was open to the public, and an entire section of the newspaper was devoted to it on opening day.
- 3. MCGAY HOUSE (1551 South Yorktown Place) 1938
- The John B. McGay house is the most architecturally pure building in the area and is an example of Streamline Art Deco with elements of the early Zigzag style. It is constructed of painted brick and features Spanish style wrought iron window balconies. Designed by prominent Tulsa architect Joseph Koberling, the John B. McGay house was considered unusual in its time because of its corner windows.McGay came to Tulsa in 1928 and resided here until his death in 1982. In 1932, he and a partner formed the Macnick Company which, in 1934, manufactured the world’s first parking meters. His other inventions included a gas calculator and various gauges. In 1942, McGay invented the tubeless tire. He donated his invention to the tire industry.
- 4. ANDREEN HOUSE (1562 South Yorktown Place) 1929
- This building is one of the few examples in Tulsa of the Airplane Bungalow, an unusual architectural style. Just one room in width, the upper level extends from the front to the rear of the house. The main block and porch are front gabled with a side gabled porte cochere and wide eaves with low overhang.
- 5. EVANS HOUSE (1514 South Gillette Avenue) 1929
- This two-story, clinker brick Tudor was the home of Thaddeus D. Evans. Evans had moved to Durant, Indian Territory, from Marshalltown, Iowa. He came through Tulsa on a train in 1905 en route to Okmulgee. He observed Tulsa’s building boom and the excitement over the Glenn Pool strike and made an impulsive decision to stay. He felt Tulsa was going to grow faster than Okmulgee.Evans, a lawyer, was in the farm-loan business with J. S. Hopping. Evans was elected mayor of Tulsa in 1920 and served until 1922. During his administration, Tulsa experienced its greatest disaster, the Race Riot of 1921. Mayor Evans was very concerned over the poor quality of drinking water in Tulsa. He appointed the first water commission and hired George Goethals, engineer of the Panama Canal, to see if it was feasible to use Spavinaw water for Tulsa. Charles Page and a group of supporters favored using water from Shell Creek, but Goethals indicated that water would flow by gravity from Spavinaw and was the best source, so the city proceeded with the “Spavinaw Plan.”
Evans’ only child, Miriam Evans Morrison, attended the Creek Mission School. She recalled the excitement and the festivities accompanying the day Oklahoma became a state in 1907 (she was in first grade). The school children ceremoniously placed a 46th star on the flag amid much bell ringing and firing of guns into the air. Miriam also remembered an arch over the street at 15th Street and Utica Avenue, but it has not been documented elsewhere. She indicated it marked the entrance to J. M. Gillette’s Terrace Drive Addition.
- 6. NORRIS HOUSE (1527 South Gillette Avenue) 1926
- This one-story, stucco bungalow was constructed for the Norris family. Norris was a plasterer and did all the exterior stucco and interior plaster work himself. The interior featured ornate plaster moldings and ceiling work.
- 7. HOPPING HOUSE (1532 South Gillette Avenue) 1922
- Joseph S. Hopping built his house at 1532 South Norvesta in 1922. Hopping was a founder of the Fourth National Bank, a partner in Evans and Hopping Farm Loans, and a community leader. He named the road in front of his home Norvesta Avenue, after his three children: Norris, Velma, and Esta. In 1927, this area was annexed to the city of Tulsa and the street was renamed to coincide with North Gillette Avenue. In 1923, the house at 1528 South Gillette was constructed by Hopping’s daughter, Velma Hopping Filley, and her husband, E. R. Filley. In 1929, the house at 1518 South Gillette was built by his son, Norris J. Hopping. The bricks for these three homes were made by the Mid-Continent Brick and Tile Company, owned by Albert H. Maile, original owner of 1540 South Gillette. Maile built his “garage and quarters” on the back of his lot, intending to build his house on the front. Due to financial difficulties, the house was never built.
- 8. AVEY HOUSE (1547 South Gillette Avenue) 1929
- This one story, brick cottage belonged to Sam E. Avey. Avey owned the Tulsa Coliseum from 1944 until it burned after being struck by lightning in September, 1952. Avey was one of the founders of F&M Bank and was a sports promoter. In addition to sporting events such as boxing, wrestling, and hockey, Avey booked well-known entertainers at the Coliseum including Bob Hope, Red Skelton, and big name bands of the era including Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, and others.