Photo courtesy of Justin Miers Photography

Photo courtesy of Justin Miers Photography

Refreshment Porch Captained by Lindsey Clinton Home history researched and written by Kimberly Carlson

The Lawrence house at 604 NW 18th is a classic American Craftsman with a low roofline, large front porch, and wide unenclosed eaves. The exposed rafter beams and tails reflect the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement that tried to make visible the handiwork of both the design and construction. Windows were important in the design of a Craftsman home, and luckily most of the original glass managed to survive the past century intact.

The lots upon which the house sits were originally part of the University Development, which was organized to sell lots to benefit Epworth University. G. A. Nichols bought the lots in 1911 and built the house in 1912, selling it to E. F. Wallace for $7,500.00. The Wallace family owned a food distribution company and was active in supporting the war effort in Oklahoma. Mrs. Wallace was active in the First Spiritualist Church (913 NW 10th) and presented a lecture in 1919 on Resurrection of the Dead.

The Owens family bought the house in 1919. At the time, J.F. Owens was the Vice President and General Manager at OG&E. He later served as President and Chairman of the OG&E Board in the 1930s. He also led the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber as its Chairman in 1932, 1933, and 1934 and was instrumental in bringing Tinker Air Force Base (originally known as the Midwest Air Depot) to the city.

Robert and Agnes Whelan bought the home in 1934. Records indicate Mr. and Mrs. Whelan lived on 13th street before moving to 604 NW 18th. Their neighbor on 13th had engaged them in a lengthy legal dispute regarding a driveway that extended over both properties. The driveway had been there for many years and had been used by multiple property owners before them, but the neighbor wanted to tear up the pavement and build a wall between the properties. Although both the district court and the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. and Mrs. Whelan, perhaps this dispute prompted Mr. and Mrs. Whelan’s move to Mesta Park. After the Whelans, several different owners occupied the home.

This house was on the Mesta Park Home Tour in 2016 under the ownership of Jill and Josh DeLozier. Erin and Justin Lawrence bought the house in 2017. The Lawrences were drawn to Mesta Park because of its trees, its historic charm, and the children playing throughout the neighborhood. It felt like “home” to them before they had even legally purchased the house.

Although they updated the interior for modern-day living, the Lawrences were careful to preserve many of the home’s original features, including the cast iron farmhouse sink in the kitchen and the wood floors and trim. They also discovered a brick fireplace in the master bedroom which had been walled up at some point in the past. The Lawrences removed a portion of the camelback stairs, took down a few walls, and converted a downstairs full bathroom into a half bath to make room for a larger kitchen and dining room. They also carved out a master bathroom and closet out of existing space upstairs and finished out a section of the attic to create a bonus playroom. The large front porch is the Lawrences’ favorite part of the home. They enjoy entertaining outside or just relaxing on the porch as a family. Please help yourself to a cookie, some coffee or cider, and enjoy the view!