|City/Town: • Nicoma Park|
|Location Class: • Residential|
|Year Built: • 1899 | Year Abandoned: • 2008|
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (1983)|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • Emily Cowan • Stephanie Alcorn|
The Victorian-style elaborate Goodholm House was the project of Swedish immigrant Andrew Goodholm. He was prominent in the Oklahoma City community being known as a builder, a city councilman and organizer of the Acme Milling Company. He was a man of many talents and was successful enough to start construction on his own grand home in 1899. The stately structure was massive for its time requiring almost three years of construction before finally being completed in 1901. Upstairs on the third floor was the ballroom where the family hosted parties and played games. The house was occupied by Andrew, his wife Agnes, and their six children, two of them being born in the home, until 1918 when they left for Stillwater to run a business.
Who occupied the house between 1918 and 1954 is unknown at this time. But in 1955 the house was obtained by a man named Manzy Leon Jones and his wife Gracelyne. Like Andrew Goodholm, Mr. Jones was a known general contractor around Oklahoma City working on commercial and residential structures. He envisioned the house as apartments and worked to turn them into that. In the process of partitioning the structure, porches were torn off and the original layout of how the house looked when became clouded.
The house was then sold to James Fentriss of Fentriss Sound Company in 1977. A preservationist himself, Fentriss was more than eager to bring the house back to its former glory. He offered it to any group capable of restoring it to the original blueprints prior to it being apartments and moving it to a different location. If his fight for preservation was unsuccessful and someone didn’t step up to take on the project the house would then be razed to make way for commercial development.
In a last-ditch effort to save the historic home then-owner, James Fentriss donated it to the State Fair. Sandy Saunders, State Fair President, accepted the donation and saw the value in preserving history from that era. The big move happened on August 14, 1979, when the Goodholm House was broken up into several different sections and lifted by crane onto trucks then transported to the fairgrounds. Reassembly took place and talks about the restoration ensued quickly as an eager gathering of people wanted to be able to walk through the turn of the century home.
Architect Jack Scott was consulted to give an estimated renovation cost and determined it to be around $100,000 just for the interior. Attention to detail was important and much care was needed in the project, shortly after its move the house was stabilized with a new roof and primed for painting. Years of replacement wallpaper was torn off to reveal the original, items were donated to the house such as a 175-year-old rocking chair, and an old baby carriage. Custom woodwork was done to return railings and porches back to their original state. With the help of two Goodholm sisters that walked through their childhood home, they helped lay out the lines of the original blueprints to help restorers fit the pieces back together. Renovations took much longer than anticipated not being completed until 1990 and only being open to visitors during the fair season. Tours of the home were limited to the first floor and attempts to fully furnish the mansion with furnishings of that era fell short many times with only pieces being loaned or on display here and there.
Unfortunately, the Goodholm Mansion found itself in uncertain danger once again, with the turn of the century the fairgrounds found themselves transforming with things like the B-52 plaza making an exit. When 2008 rolled around the Goodholm Mansion was brought the same fate and the home was required by Richard Harrison, ironically, a house mover of Harris House Movers. The home was dismantled and brought to his property where he and his family had high hopes of restoring it. His passing in 2012 left the job uncompleted and sat for years. Multiple break-ins and vandals wreaked havoc on the property with the owners seemingly not caring to board the place up. On September 26, 2021 the house was demolished with no warning with the owners stating that the reasoning for the demolition was because it “wasn’t a historic home,” and “there was no other option than to demolish.” The demolition has caused outrage throughout the community and those that remember touring the house over the years, a handful even stepping forward to say they offered to purchase the home with their offers being declined. The Andrew Goodholm House withstood 122 years of time only to become rubble in less than two hours on a fall morning.
Article by AOK Photojournalist Emily Cowan.
Oklahoma City, OK, photograph, 1901~; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc1624209/: accessed January 24, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.
[Photograph 2012.201.B0267.0097], photograph, August 14, 1979; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc346271/m1/1/?q=goodholm%20: accessed January 24, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.
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NPGallery Search, npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/1d288630-8627-4582-8ffa-0278ebe9bf76.