Editor’s Note: This is the Tenth in a series of 12 monthly articles on Marland’s Grand Home. Some, but not all, of the information was taken from past articles by the P.C. News.
On May 22, 2000, the City Commission changed the Cultural Center’s name to “Marland’s Grand Home,” in order to better market it as a tourist attraction, give reference to E.W. Marland, reflect its location on Grand Avenue, and avoid confusion with E.W.’s second home, the Marland Mansion and Estate, located on Monument Drive. In addition, the Friends of the Cultural Center changed their name to “Friends of Marland’s Grand Home.”
With its original owner in mind, interior repairs began. Shag carpeting was removed to expose the original wooden floors. Modern drapes and inappropriate window shades were removed, and a fresh coat of paint was applied to the woodwork. The unique hanging stairway steps were restored, and spindles were painted as well. Furnishings and accessories for the first floor, which was used mainly for meeting and event space, were chosen that would lend themselves to various uses. And for heat, a new boiler system replaced the old; and for air, a new energy efficient HVAC was installed.
The kitchen had been remodeled a few times over the years but reflected a 1950’s design. Interior design students from Oklahoma State University were asked to submit design proposals as part of a class project. The design proposal selected matched the configuration of the 1916 Butler’s Pantry in style and color, which was at the time the only remaining portion of the original kitchen. The much needed modern, yet “vintage-style,” caterer’s kitchen was completed with a microwave oven, dishwasher, warming drawer, wine cooler, and refrigerator. Fifteen card tables with racks and 50 folding chairs were added for use by special event patrons.
An added bath on the first floor was reconfigured and enlarged to allow for handicap accessibility. New waterproof flooring was installed along with a divider wall to create a waiting space and dressing room area. Although the original home boasted of five bathrooms in 1916, at the time there was no bathroom on the first floor. Homes of the era were not designed to allow use of a water closet by friends, employees, or the public in a main living area.
While freshening up an upstairs bedroom, wallpapering was stripped off to uncover a series of hand-painted wall murals. Probably these murals, representing various teenage girl sports, were added to Lydie Marland’s room by the same artist who painted the formal dining room walls, George Stanley Lasarsky. The light blue walls were cleaned and the murals left intact. This find was yet another discovery bringing back the Marland era of the home and making the site more authentic.
Continuing the exterior renovations of the prior decade, roof repairs of matching tile and flashings were completed. Gracing the entrance of the home, new front steps of tinted concrete were poured with new concrete sidewalks adjoining. To allow for handicap accessibility a front porch chair-lift was added. The asphalt in the south end parking lot was also replaced with a concrete surface. And, to reflect the new name, a sign was placed in front of the home labeling Marland’s Grand Home a 1916 Historic House Museum with Anthropological, Indian, 101 Ranch exhibits, and a DAR Memorial Museum.
Since Mary Virginia Marland’s original second floor bedroom had been converted to a viewing area for matriarchal American Indian artifacts, a different adjoining suite of rooms (consisting of a bedroom, sitting room, and bath) was chosen to represent Mrs. Marland. Original nickel-plated light fixtures were found and put back in place. A hidden closet with the 1919 air-conditioning unit was also discovered and revealed. This unit piped cooled air into Mrs. Marland’s bedroom during her long convalescence, making her more comfortable. Her room was the only room in the home that had air-conditioning in the 1920s.
The 101 exhibits were expanded from one room to two in the basement, and new display cases were added for the growing collection. An anthropological exhibit room was created in the old swimming pool dressing space downstairs in order to feature items from E.W. Marland’s archeological dig combined with other donations. The American Indian exhibits grew, as generous individuals continued to give gifts. All artifacts were marked and tagged with catalog numbers.
Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) rearranged their objects in the converted attached garage turned museum space. The space was formerly occupied by the Bryant Baker Sculpture Gallery, which had been moved to the Marland Estate. DAR student writing contest winners were honored with receptions in the home, and the Music Club hosted student recitals in the formal living room space.
Marland’s Grand Home welcomed a new century with many changes, including a new name, exterior and interior repairs and additions, and a new outlook. This new outlook represented an attitude of going back to the past for reference and authenticity without interfering with the future needs and success of the site.