|City/Town: • Oklahoma City
|Location Class: • Residential
|Built: • Spring of 1927 | Abandoned: • 1970's
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places (1982) • Abandoned Atlas Foundation Contribution to POK Most Endangered List (2012)
|Status: • Under Renovation
|Photojournalist: • AbandonedOK Team • Billy Dixon
In our ever expanding world of Architecture, nothing will ever compare to our historic buildings and the feeling they provide standing in their presence. The Walcourt for instance was designed like nothing else around it when constructed in 1927. This was because the owner, H.E. Musson asked arhitect, Joe Davis to design an apartment complex like no other in Oklahoma City, and that’s exactly what he did. Davis and his building, Charles G. Beveridge decided to go with a Jacobethan Revival style. Just looking on the outside, there is a sense of elgance with its red common bond brick and contrasting cast stone.
“The steep-sided triangular silhouette of the gables the use of stoner in combination with brick, for window and door framing, parapet and quoin trim and other Ornamentation; Tudor arches and chimneys with octagonal “pots”; all these features are symbolic of Jacobethan Revival style architecture.” – Bill E. Peavler, Senior Preservation Architect (Oklahoma Historical Society)
Musson was a Professional Engineer and exceedingly proud of the innovations in the Walcourt. Not only did it cause a wow factor on the outside, but in a full page announcement on the opening of the building he mentions the “Kohler” fixtures in the bathrooms, “Clow” gas-steam radiators for heating, lots of windows to take advantage of the natural breezes and the convenience of living close to the State Capitol. There are no out-buildings related to the structure, only single-family houses provide a backdrop to this architecturally interesting building.Because the Walcourt was situated a few blocks from the bustling State Capitol, it was considered prime space for, the powerful, statesmen, successful oil men and others of independent means. Efficiency accommodations as temporary housing was considered as more than suitable to their positions, in business and government.
If you wanted to live at the full furnished Walcourt in 1927, you’d be paying $50 a month, which by today’s rate would be equivalent to $798.70 a month. In 1931, another ad in the Daily Oklahoma shows that the price in rent was reduced to try and attract new tenants and business was going strong for the Musson family. In the 60’s the Walcourt went through some decoration updates and offered continued to advertise a fully furnished set up to keep up with the times.
There was much to climb in the 1970s and a wave of urban renewal that demolished a lot of buildings in Oklahoma City. Is the new I-235 interstate gobbled up a lot of homes in and properties in its acquisition area, but thankfully missed this landmark, by a small hair. In 1976, John H. Williams bought the building along with an acre of surrounding property. He then worked with local preservation list preservationists and by 1982, the Walcourt was listed on a national register of historic places. The building was closed during Williams’ ownership for redevelopment, and unfortunately those renovations never came due to his death. His 2nd wife, Mary Williams became the new owner and then had a long history of refusing to sell the property. For the next several decades, she had offer after offer of developers who wanted to buy the building, and never agreed to a sale Because she thought the magnificent building would be worth a lot more in its run down state as time moved on.
At about 7:30 PM on July 9th, 2015, A fire broke out on the North side of the vacant building. Luckily firefighters were able to put out the fire in 12 minutes time before the damage was caused any real issues.
Inside we managed to find a few old slides that contained pictures of families and people living in the Walcourt. If you happen to know who is pictured, please let us know! Here are the slides we found:
After sitting boarded up for nearly 40 years, the Walcourt was finally purchased in 2017 with the intentions of restoration! It was purchased by Residential developer Brent swift, who cleaned up the property and immediately started design work. By Thanksgiving of 2017 It was already discussing other potential buyers to take over the project. Walcourt partners LLC led by Steve Morris have miss had previously tried to buy the property from Mary Williams when she was not selling, But later purchased the building from Swift. Plans to reopen the former Walcourt apartments are steadily underway, and They will be used as office space. Many of the eye-opening and historic structural features have been saved and, even the branding of the office space, fits the original look and feel from 1927. The Walcourt will once again be the “most interesting” building in Oklahoma City.
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