Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The Marland Mansion
We took a road trip to Ponca City and Enid yesterday and today!
Our first stop was the Pioneer Woman--the original.
Then it was a short drive down the street to The Marland Mansion. If you've never heard the story of E.W. and Lydie Marland, here's the short version. Marland came to Ponca City with his wife, Virginia, in 1908 after losing his fortune the year before. The couple didn't have children of their own, so they eventually adopted Virginia's nephew and niece, George and Lydie. After Virginia died, E.W. had Lydie's adoption annulled and married her. The same year they married, they moved into this house (it took three years and $5.5 million to complete) and he lost his business in a hostile takeover by J.P. Morgan. After a while, they couldn't afford to keep the house open, so E.W. and Lydie moved to the artist's studio on the grounds. E.W. then became a congressman and ultimately the 10th governor of Oklahoma.
This is where it really gets interesting. A few years after E.W. passed away, Lydie left Ponca City and was not heard from for 22 years. Before she left town, she had a man come to destroy her statue, starting with the face. Ultimately, he took the pieces home and buried them instead of throwing them into the river as he had been instructed to do, and after his death and Lydie's death, his family contacted the estate and told them where it was buried. They have a neat display about digging the statue up and reconstructing it. This is the original statue and you can see the lines where it was repaired. After Lydie had been away so long, her lawyer contacted her and when he went to meet with her she had lost all of her teeth but one and much of her hair and looked like a bag lady. (I thought Alice was asleep when the tour guide talked about this, but she was telling Jay about it tonight, so apparently she wasn't!) She came back to live in the cottage on the grounds of the estate (at this time the property was owned by a group of nuns) until she died 25 years ago. I read this book about it last week and it was really interesting.
On to the house. It is crazy.
How crazy? This ceiling was more than $80,000 (in 1925 money) because all that shiny stuff is real gold. (Photo by Alice, who liked the lights.)
The kids liked this old-fashioned exercise machine.
We took the tour (which you should definitely do if you go there) and Jack got to help out with the ropes.
Sitting in one of Oklahoma's first saunas!
Jack also got to work the elevator for us.
I'm pretty sure the dumbwaiter was Jack's favorite thing.
This is where they stored all the liquor since the house was built during Prohibition. The tour guide told us it was so big it could store a year's worth of liquor, but we're not sure whose year they were measuring.
This is the tunnel from the main house to the boat house.
We saw a familiar statue! When E.W. Marland decided to have a pioneer woman statue made, he paid 12 different artists $10,000 each to make a statue. These statues then went on a tour and people voted on which one they liked the best. Before he died he was trying to raise money so Lydie would be taken care of so he called Frank Phillips to see if he wanted them for Woolaroc. Phillips gave him $500 each for them and they are on display now at Woolaroc. A couple of years ago they had replicas made which are now on display at The Marland Mansion.
We also explored the grounds. This is a replica of the statue of George, Lydie's brother, that went along with the one of Lydie that was destroyed.
We found the other end of the tunnel, too!
We spent the night in Ponca City because the kids were feeling pool-deprived and I didn't want to try to do everything in one day.
The kids had never had pizza delivered before, so that's what we did for dinner.
This morning we got up and drove to Enid. Alice entertained herself by tracing her hand and drawing donuts and Jack worked on math.
Leonardo's had a missing boa!
Alice's favorite thing was the doctor's office.
Jack spent a lot of time working on Lego racing cars.
The weather was beautiful, so we spent most of the afternoon outside before our long drive home!