Drummond Family Reveals Renovated McBirney Mansion
TULSA, Oklahoma - The McBirney Mansion, on the National Registry of Historic Places, has sat atop the Arkansas River near downtown since 1928.
Legend has it Amelia Earhart once visited the historic Tulsa mansion; now, there's a chance for you to go inside the home this New Year's Eve.
News On 6 took a tour of the almost 16,000 square-foot mansion for the first time since Wendy and Gentner Drummond purchased it for $2 million a year and a half ago. Since that time, the couple has been working with a team including Interior Designer Chad Renfro, General Contractor Chad Osgood and Architect Scott Ferguson.
The McBirney Mansion was built by John Long around the same time he built the Philtower. The mansion, itself, is built on 16 steel piers that go down to the bedrock of the Arkansas River.
Currently, it's a flurry of activity there as the Drummonds are in a final push to get the place finished before hosting 300 people for a charitable New Year's Eve ball benefiting Emergency Infant Services.
There is still a wine cellar, humidor and bar to be installed downstairs, as well as 4,500 square feet of slate - selected from a quarry in Vermont to match the original look - to be laid outside.
Also outside is a carriage house where a resident horticulturist will work.
The details the Drummonds have toiled over in the home can be dizzying, but the couple wants to be more than owners, they want to be stewards.
Wendy Drummond said everyone has a McBirney story, and Gentner Drummond's McBirney story dates back to his childhood, as a fifth-generation Osage County native.
"As a young man, not even a teenager, I remember looking up from Riverside Drive and thinking, ‘Someday, if I have been successful, I'll live in this house,’” Gentner Drummond said.
They're not just living in it; they're leaving their mark.
The kitchen, with Calacatta marble countertops, used to be four rooms.
"It was dark and dingy, and there was a wall here, and then there was a butler's pantry right behind you,” Wendy Drummond showed us.
It features a herringbone floor - a nod to the original kitchen floor - as well as a new ceiling and three stained glass windows, made by Tulsa glass artist Roy Loman. To match the mansion’s original stained glass, Loman found Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory in Indiana, the source of the original stained glass from the 1920s, still being produced today.
A Broken Arrow craftsman made a curved Zinc bar for the kitchen, placed below an artistic take on the Drummond family brand.
"If you look with an open eye, this is our brand. It's a D with a backwards F,” Gentner said.
The color of that piece matches the formal dining room, painted in Mayo Teal - a paint color from the Mayo Hotel in the 1920s.
"I just love this color, but it was also kind of a nod to Tulsa's history because this was built in the '20s, about the same time as the heyday of places like the Mayo,” Wendy said.
The leaded-glass cabinets, light fixtures and plaster molding are all authentic to the mansion - altogether a mix of Tudor, Gothic and Art Deco style.
The history is important to the Drummonds, who found a picture from the Tulsa Historical Society of the McBirneys on the mansion staircase. The Drummonds hope to fill the staircase many times with their own family, and with charitable patrons, beginning New Year’s Eve.
"Our objective is to give back to Tulsa in an equivalent amount of dollars that we've spent to restore the McBirney, which may not happen in our lifetime,” Gentner said.
The Drummonds said they will not rent out the mansion, but will host a select number of charitable events at the home.
Wendy Drummond said she wants to hear everyone's McBirney Mansion stories and see their pictures. She asks you to contact Emergency Infant Services and share them there.