Red Ridge Estate

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Year Built: 1934 | Year Abandoned: 1990
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: AbandonedOK Team

Red Ridge Estate, the storied manor in northeast Oklahoma City was built in the 1920’s by R.J. Edwards.

Edwards founded R.J. Edwards Inc., purportedly the first municipal bond house west of the Mississippi, in 1892. The firm closed in the late 1980s. Some of his heirs, most of whom live far away, see Red Ridge as a place that time has passed by.

The Red Ridge compound passed decades with dignified charm as the once-rural section of the city and marched forward with development, then lurched back with decline.

The boarded-up 27-room, two-story Spanish-style mansion, and the remaining 90 acres of the estate went up for auction on Feb. 27th 2001, and was aquired by Duncan Equipment Co. and CJW Family LP, which formed a company called Red Ridge Development.

George Edwards, who is one of the heirs, said he was sad about seeing his grandparents property sold. He is full of memories about his grandparents. How his grandmother rode to the property in a chauffeured limousine, tossing daffodil bulbs, and having a gardener plant them where they fell. “The place is an explosion of springtime yellow to this day”, he said.

How in the 1960s, teen-agers called Red Ridge “the haunted house.” But no ghosts kept them from necking in cars pulled onto the lonely fields.

The Edwards mansion itself, which cost a modest $35,000 in 1934-1935 – about $450,000 in 2001 dollars – was named ” Red Ridge ” for the red sandstone ridge upon which it was built.

Each of R.J. and Sadie (Handy) Edwards’ children was offered a house and 15 acres “free and clear” upon their marriage, said Sarah (Edwards) Baltzell of Philadelphia, sister of Archibald Edwards Jr. Their father was Archibald Cason Edwards, an investment banker with R.J. Edwards Inc. and arts supporter who died at 91 in March 1998.

R.J. Edwards came to Oklahoma from Missouri before statehood, said Archibald Edwards Jr., who also provided the following information about his grandfather and the property:

Robert J. Edwards, a lawyer, was appointed as a judge at age 26. He later was a regent for what is now Oklahoma State University. Eventually, he became successful as an investment banker, specializing in the sale of municipal bonds and as a fiscal consultant to cities across Oklahoma and the Southwest. He died in 1946.

The house has stucco walls and a red tile roof. It was built by Raymond Smizer under the direction of Norman architect Harold Gimeno. Gimeno’s influence was seen in many Spanish-Style structures in Oklahoma City, including several of the houses on the Edwards estate .

During the 1960s and 1970s, Red Ridge was the home of what is now the Oklahoma Museum of Art.




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Heidi Shelley
Heidi Shelley
4 years ago

FYI – I just found out my great-grand father happened to be a Gardner/handy man/chauffeur hired by the wife of RJ Edwards. He first was hired to night watch the supplies while the now called Red Ridge house was being built in 1935. Once completed, he worked at the mansion for 8 years (according to a recording of my great-grandmother talking of events about her life). My great-grand parents lived in a house (just across the “deep bend” from the mansion.) Great-grandpa was working for a farmer that was running a farm on the land owned by the Edwards when… Read more »

Cha'ng Coulter
Cha'ng Coulter
Reply to  Heidi Shelley
2 months ago

TY for sharing these very important pieces of Oklahoma City’s infancy! U ROCK!

Charles Edwards
Charles Edwards
10 years ago

RJ Edwards was my great-grandfather. I took my daughters to go see this place a while back. They asked if there were any ghosts here. I explained that if there were, they would only haunt them if they didn't get into a good college. Our family had a few tracts of land. We all had some good memories of the woods. I'd ask that ya'll respect the family wishes and don't go poking around there.

Abbe Rice
Abbe Rice
Reply to  Charles Edwards
7 years ago

I was going to go there but If your family wishes that people do not go I will not. I just wanted to see the beauty of the architecture. It is so unique and beautiful

MikeN
MikeN
10 years ago

My partner and I used to recover many stolen cars from the estate prior to the gate being put up on the main road. I have always loved this residence. We were given a tour of this structure and the Preachers Wall by Ellis Edwards and his wife when they lived on the property.

Will
Will
10 years ago

Who would one contact in order to gain access to this place? It's so beautiful! Please email me and let me know if anyone knows!

Melanie
Melanie
10 days ago

Don’t go they have cameras me and my friends got fined 180

Victoria Kolbash
Victoria Kolbash
1 year ago

Is this property still standing? Who is the current owner?

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Jade
4 years ago

Do you have a Youtube channel as well with this kind of content on it? I would love to see this post turned into a longer video if possible. Maybe I can share on it on my website.

Doretha Philavanh
5 years ago

There is certainly a great deal to know about this topic. I like all the points you have made.|

Dave
Dave
5 years ago

Allegedly, the property will ultimately be renovated, and converted into a conference center. Here's details:

http://newsok.com/article/5461420

Lisa Harris
5 years ago

I think if it is going to be torn down they should salvage as much of the wonderful doors and all that gorgeous wood as possible. Personally I would hate to see it torn down!! This is HISTORY people we have to preserve our history! I will never understand why if part of the family want to sell and part wants to buy why not just let those who want to purchase it and restore it to its original glory instead of letting it deteriorate into nothing?? Makes no sense!!

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