The first owners of the land later named Oklahoma were Spain. They gave it to France in 1800 who, in turn, sold it in 1803 as part of a land deal called the Louisiana Purchase. The only settlers and home builders at this point were fur traders. They later banded together to create the first permanent American settlement in the region. This was a trading post founded in 1823 near what is currently Salina, Oklahoma.
The First Custom Homes
The first major settlement of the region began with the first great Land run on April 22, 1889. Approximately 50,000 people swarmed into Oklahoma to claim their land and build their homes. These pioneers were the state’s first custom home builders. The buildings were usually sod and wood structures – simple buildings to fulfill the basic needs for shelter.
Yet, as the state discovered commercial success and resource-based wealth, those with more money decided to raise the bar. Those able to afford brick, stone and embellishment, hired custom home builders in Oklahoma to construct lavish, highly decorative mansions that suited their personality or symbolized their wealth and position in the state. They also had architects design and construct commercial and retail structures that embellished the towns and cities in which these wealthy “barons” resided.
Oklahoma’s Divergent Architectural Styles
The early 20th century was a time where architectural styles adopted many different approaches. They range from the Victorian to the Art Deco. In Tulsa, for example, there are several examples of Art Deco as rendered by famous architects. The same applies for Oklahoma City where Samuel Andrew Layton created the Oklahoma Court House in a classic version of this style.
Oil Barons, on the other hand, seemed to be fond of the Victorian style. Their mansions with gables and frills offer standard examples of this architecture in cities such as Oklahoma City and Guthrie. Guthrie is also where you can find the biggest Historic Preservation District in the United States. Wander the Main Street to get an idea of the grandeur of this early style as reflected in commercial/retail property as well. Joseph Pierre Foucart played a major role in establishing Victorian as the prominent style in Guthrie.
During the 20th century, other styles converged in Oklahoma. Among them is the well-known Prairie Home Style. The plain Prairie houses only surfaced in the period from around 1905-1920. They were similar to another school of architecture – Craftsman Style. These residences were one story bungalows built for and often by craftsmen. Many can still be found in the historical neighborhood of Mesta Park, Oklahoma City.
There have been many custom home builders in Oklahoma. They have served the interests of the state’s citizens from the earliest time. Some, as architects designed homes for the thriving and new wealthy class while others, settlers and craftsmen, designed and created their own homes. Together, the different groups, architects and builders, have helped to create a strong visual state and statement.
Be the first to like.