Editor’s Note: This is the 12th and final article on Marland’s Grand Home. Some, but not all, of the information was taken from past articles by The Ponca City News.
As the second half of the 2010 to 2020 decade approached, it became apparent that the site needed to implement more effective publicity and marketing strategies and add technological features to modernize for future generations. The Marland Grand Home could no longer continue with outdated patterns of behavior and strategies. It was time to consider today’s standards and those of the future to come.
A new Marland Grand Home logo was created and purposely used across the board in all marketing pieces to create continuity. Stationary, letterhead, business cards and other promotional materials were the focus. A front yard sign was recreated with the new logo utilizing a weatherproof product. A new tour guide booklet with color photos of each room and a brief history of E.W. Marland was created with a donation from Phillips 66 which matched the promotional series. The existing web site was updated with the coordinated marketing pieces to create a cohesive look. The web site was then expanded to include more rental information, contracts, reenactor availability, current news, program information, photos and more history on the home.
In partnership with the Marland Estate a virtual tour was created which would guide visitors though both locations in lieu of a tour guide. Patrons use their I-Phone and I-Pads to plug into the tour watching period vignettes and viewing vintage photo footage of “Part I”, the Marland Grand Home, followed by “Part II”, the Marland Estate. Each segment can be viewed independently or as a set moving from one location to the next chronologically.
In addition, again working with the Marland Estate, an hour long PBS quality documentary entitled “High Stakes: The Life and Times of EW Marland” was completed using local volunteer actors and vintage cars. The movie was produced by Swearingen Productions of Tulsa, OK. The documentary debuted in OKC and Tulsa in 2016 and has increased visitation by the hundreds. A short 15 minute clip of the hour long documentary now plays in the entry way at each location to give visitors a taste of what’s to come on their tour.
Other audio-visual items of interest added at the site were two educational videos for guests to view as they tour the home, one of vintage 101 Ranch footage in the basement exhibit area and the other, a 10 minute short on E.W. Marland in the Marland Oil office.
In an effort to better educate the public about local American Indian tribes and customs, an exhibit specialist was hired from the Oklahoma State Historical Society to consult on changes in related items. The specialist arrived in the fall of 2015 and completed his work in the spring of 2016 arranging exhibits and helping label artifacts. Lighting issues were addressed in the Matriarchal and Patriarchal American Indian and Basket and Pottery exhibit rooms to better preserve the items. To help reinforce the local connection between the Ponca Tribe, the name of the town “Ponca City” and E.W. Marland’s respectful relationship with the tribe, Ponca exhibits were expanded and highlighted.
Other new Marland era exhibits were created and added. A Horse and Hounds exhibit representing the fox hunting and polo days of the 1920s, Marland Oil, a vintage formal dining and a vintage medical exhibit were developed to create more ambiance of a bygone era. A main floor hallway gallery now dons descriptive collages of E.W. and Mary Virginia Marland and gardener Henry Hatashita. A 1930 areal map of Ponca City and E.W. Marland time line also hang on the wall in that location.
At the end of the gallery hallway and close to the restroom a special dressing room was added to allow brides and special event guests in clothing changes. The space also serves as a place to hold items needed for special events. Decorating the walls, a vintage bridal portrait collection, created though funding donated by John McNeese, was hung on the wall.
Future exhibit plans include adding “Touch and Feel” hands-on exhibits showing the use of the deer and buffalo in American Indian history. More items in storage will be brought out and labeled, then put on display adding to the quantity and quality of the museum experience. More expertise will be sought from state colleges and museums with similar collections and missions. Priority will be placed on becoming more user-friendly for the general public. A top goal of providing better learning/teaching opportunities for visitors and students alike has been set.
A complete cleanup of all closets, attic space and rooms took place throughout 2015. Although clean-ups had happened before, this one was done in entirety and included the attic spaces. The attic clean-up revealed several roof leaks and the need for repairs around each of the chimneys on the east and west upper hip slopes. Matching Ludowici tiles were installed replacing all cracked and broken parts which were made by the same tile manufacturer that E.W. Marland ordered his tile from in 1916.
Decorating improvements were made to the Archaeological Room and the public restroom on the main floor. A vintage awning similar to an awning that hung during the 1940s has been added to the outdoor terrace area on the east side. The awning closely resembles an awning hung at the site in the 1940s. Several oil paintings stored in the attic were resurrected, clean and repair and then hung in the home. Other smaller period items such as lamps, photo, and other home furnishings were added in keeping with the 1920 era to make the roaring twenties experience more robust for patrons. All exposed woodwork on the exterior was repainted.
With the centennial anniversary in 2016 fast approaching, staff determined the need to try to recreate some of the historic landscaping that had been lost by time. Research was done through a landscape horticulturist considering what plantings Henry Hatashita, Marland’s Japanese gardener, may have planted during the 1920s on site. More modern species to replant were then selected based on adaptability and ease of care. Over forty trees and bushes were planted in both the front and back lawn areas funded in part by a grant from Phillips66. Vintage flowers were added to the beds by the Ponca City Parks Department. Becky and Mike Koster, local gardeners, donated peonies selections similar to those Marland may have also selected. Round globes as E.W. Marland had replaced other non-original styles on the parking lot lamp posts.
Expanding the vision of the Marland Grand Home to encompass a broader market and to be of more service to the local community, site staff developed several tools to be used by educators and tourists alike. A “Look and Learn” series of scavenger hunts was created to reflect three main subject areas: Marland Oil and Family, American Indians of the Great Plains Tribes and the 101 Ranch and Wild West Show. Scavenger Hunts are available on request as guests visit the site and are posted on the web site to download.
To add to the listing of education opportunities, power point lecture programs, “Henry Hatashita and the Marland Gardens” and the “100 Year History of the Marland Grand Home” were packaged in the “Listen and Learn” lesson series to complement. A show-in-tell presentation utilizing vintage items of the 1920’s was also assembled in “Mary Virginia’s Trunk of Show and Tell” which was then taken to community groups and schools.
Dec. 16th, 1916, was the exact day in history that the E.W. Marland family moved into their new home at 1000 E. Grand Ave. just in time for the Christmas Holidays. The family hosted a large community open house to share their new home with the public. The Friends of the Marland Grand Home, the CAC and the staff of the site partnered together in 2016 to host a similar celebration on Saturday, Dec. 10th. To entertain, a host of over 20 Santas from around the world were summoned from the Oklahoma History Center. Each reenactor Santa came dressed in his or her country’s traditional finest. The Santas greeted visitors in all rooms of the home as each toured through the site.
The FMGH also hosted a 100 year anniversary party celebration on Friday, Dec. 16 with dignitaries and public invited. Representatives from most organizations associated with the Marland Grand Home attended. Reenactors, E.W. and Mary Virginia Marland, toasted the crowd and the home honoring its first 100 years.
The magnificent home of E.W. Marland, founder of Marland Oil, U.S. Representative to Congress and 10th Governor of the state of Oklahoma was built in 1916 and it still stands proud and refined. She has served her community well for 100 years in many capacities. First, as a private residence hosting private parties and soirees, family gatherings, fox hunts and polo teams and then as a City entity hosting special events, artworks, and museum space. Over the past 100 years the Marland Grand Home laid claim as “the place to be” in Ponca City.
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