Photo courtesy of Justin Miers Photography

Photo courtesy of Justin Miers Photography

Captained by Keri and Reagan Bradford History researched and written by Kimberly Carlson

The Fink residence is a three-story Craftsman-style house. Craftsman homes are known for their quality construction, use of natural materials, and unique personalities that can vary from house to house. This home’s unique features include front and side-gabled rooflines, a box bay window, and a full-width front porch. The house has a defined exterior belt line, which divides the lower floor with clapboard siding from the shingled upper floor.

Construction on 927 NW 16th began in 1906 and was completed in 1907. After passing through several owners in its early history, Mrs. Betty Upshaw, a widow, purchased the home in 1923. Betty and her husband Tazewell were 89ers from Mississippi who moved to Oklahoma to participate in the Land Run. Tazewell was one of the early members of the Oklahoma City Council, was the City Clerk in 1891, and was active in political and lodge circles in the city. Records indicate Mrs. Upshaw rented out rooms in the house during her early ownership. Occupants included several salesmen, a chiropractor, a well driller, and an accountant.

We were lucky to come across an entertaining newspaper article from 1940, which included an early photo of the home (pictured below).

927 NW 16th.jpg

In the article, Mrs. Upshaw discussed the renovations she was making to the house. She noted that it was the first time the home had been touched since it was built. She said she was proud of the existing properties in the older parts of the city and was hopeful those areas would be well-kept, despite the tendency to move to the suburbs. With the “judicious use of a few hundred dollars,” Mrs. Upshaw was able to replace the sagging front porch with a new one, supported by a strong brick foundation. The brick porch foundation mentioned in the article is still in view today, although some of the other porch details seen in the picture – such as the columns, wood railing and balustrades, and arched side entry – are no longer there. Mrs. Upshaw also painted the exterior, replaced the roof and flooring, and had plans for interior improvements.

Glen and Ann Whitbeck purchased the home in 1950. After serving one tour of duty in the Navy, Glen returned home to Colorado, where he studied mechanical engineering and worked for Douglas Aircraft during WWII. He and Ann eventually settled in Mesta Park and raised four children in the home. Ann’s obituary notes that the family gathered at the dinner table every evening and talked about the day’s events while enjoying Ann’s cooking.

The house remained in the Whitbeck family until 2017, when Greg McAlister purchased it with intentions to renovate and sell it. The Finks lived in the neighborhood but had been looking for a house with a pool and a garage. They were friends with Greg, and when they heard he had purchased the house, they said, “Sell it to us!”

The Finks worked with Greg and completely renovated the home, treating it like a new home build. Everything is new, from the studs in. They made the home energy efficient by using spray foam insulation and installing a geothermal heating and cooling system. They vaulted the master bedroom ceiling, converted the attic into an extra room, changed the layout of the first floor to allow for a half bathroom and pantry, and added onto the existing fireplace to make it a fully functioning wood-burning fireplace. They also built a new two-car garage with an upstairs apartment and office, as the existing garage was dilapidated. Undoubtedly, Mrs. Upshaw would be ecstatic to know that 78 years later her home has been treated with the dignity and care she felt it deserved.