May 24th ~ Claremore, OK
Back on Route 66 out of Oklahoma City, we made our way north toward Tulsa. I have enjoyed seeing some of the old classic cars along the way and today we were treated to seeing a couple more.
The first one we spotted at a gas station and I got out and snapped a couple pictures while Tim filled up.
Sara H recommended a stop at Rock Cafe, and it worked out to be great timing for lunch. Cute place. The owner was in the movie “Cars” and there are several movie memorabilia pieces on display. Her dad also owned this beauty that was proudly parked in front of the restaurant.
Our main focus for todays sightseeing was in Tulsa.
Waite Phillips (1883-1964) was an oil man and founder of Waite Phillips Company.
“Phillips was a philanthropist for both local Tulsa institutions and national causes. In Tulsa he built a 72-room mansion for his residence, which he later donated to the city; it became the Philbrook Museum of Art. He gave 127,000 acres (510 km2) of his favorite ranch in New Mexico to the Boy Scouts of America, together with an office building as part of its endowment. The ranch is now Philmont Scout Ranch, one of the largest youth camps in the world. Phillips also made a substantial bequest to the University of Southern California, which named a building after him.” ~ Wikipedia
You can read more about him by clicking here. The mansion is in itself a work of art.
House Beautiful Magazine recently named the 25-acre Philbrook Gardens the “most beautiful place in Oklahoma”.
Also called the Venerate Outpost, this was my favorite part of the entire estate. Built using the skeleton of a late 1800’s pioneer cabin, it was turned into a unique and colorful showpiece by artist Karl Unnasch.
There were several things that made this place stand out. First of all, instead of normal mortar or mud between the logs, he used brightly colored T-shirts. They were dipped in resin, and wrapped around lights. You have to see it in person to get the full effect, but it had both Tim and I trying to figure out how to build a similar place on the lot next to our cabin!
The interior ceiling is covered with over 100 glass lamps, the windows are brilliantly colored glass, and the fireplace is made out of books.
The collection is extensive and varied. It includes European, American, African, Modern, Contemporary, Native American Art as well as some Antiquities. It is spread over three floors in what was the original 72-room mansion.
Early on our tour, when we were exploring the gardens, we asked a couple if they would please take our picture with the pond and mansion behind us (see picture above). After chatting a minute we enthusiastically recommended that they check out the cabin and parted ways.
Later inside the home, we crossed paths again and we found out that the huge wall murals on canvas in one of the galleries had been painted by her grandfather. I asked her if I could please take a picture of her with his work in the background and she agreed.
I also found out that besides being an artist, he was a successful author and screenwriter with over 50 books, several of which were made into movies. The novel, The Flaming Sword, was one of his books made into a movie, and starred a young Lionel Barrymore.
You can click here to find out more about George Fort Gibbs.
It turns out that Ramona is also an artist (talent runs deep in this family) and her work can be found here.
There were so many wonderful pieces of art in the collection that I am simply going to do a slide show to highlight some of my favorites.
Overnighting tonight at the Claremont Expo RV Park.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we had a relaxing, yet full day, filled with beautiful art, the imaginative creation of the cabin, got to wander through a beautiful garden, admired the architecture of this incredible mansion, and learned about both Waite Phillips and George Fort Gibbs. A special thank you to Ramona for sharing her family story.