This mansion has been my neighbor for my entire life, so it has a special place in my heart. However, I can also say with certainty it is not haunted, so if you're looking for the ghost of Frank Phillips, he is not here.
To quote the VisitBartlesville website:
"Frank Phillips, an ambitious barber-turned-bond salesman from Iowa, visited Bartlesville in 1903 to assess business possibilities in the surrounding oil fields. He returned permanently two years later with his wife Jane and young son John. After a series of failures that nearly caused him to abandon the business, a string of eighty-one straight successful oil wells insured success. By 1909, he had completed construction of the Frank Phillips Home. From then until Frank’s death in 1950, the home was the setting from which he, his family and friends, and the community that grew up around them played a key role in the development of the oil industry in America."
The mansion is fun to visit if you want to know more about the Oil Boom. The new museum is entertaining, although the video about Phillips Petroleum and how it saved the world is a little outlandish. The guides have a lot of great stories about the house. Be sure to ask about the barber chair, the hiding places, and the pool.
LOL - I'm not sure I'd call this a "Must See" although you probably WILL see it as you're walking around town. I was going to put this in General Tips, but what the hell . . . might as well make it a Must See.
Harold C. Price (founder of the Price Company) commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build this. He designed it as an experiment for multi-use skyscrapers; the design was originally thought up for St. Mark’s in the Bowery in New York City but built in Bartlesville instead. The 19 storey building was originally meant to be used for businesses, offices, apartments, and shops. It was finished in 1956.
Now there is a non-profit art center, restaurant, and a hotel.
The 221-foot-tall Tower is on the Historic National Register and is one of the American Institute of Architects’ seventeen most significant examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture.
The founder of Phillips Petroleum lived 1107 Cherokee Avenue until the time of his death in 1950. Originally in Iowa at the time he tempted fortune by drilling in Oklahoma, he was setback a handful of times before urging his father to allow one last attempt. This effort led to an unbroken string of 80 successful drillings, a record not since broken.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Frank Phillips Home is supported mainly by the Frank Phillips Foundation. Under such solid footing the mansion asks only donations at the front door. As a true baron, Frank Phillips slept in a room painted like a forest, with three bearskin rugs upon which to rub his feet before getting into bed. His wife however slept in a larger bedroom decorated lavishly in a style that might have pleased Louis XIV.
Today, visitors enter the Frank Phillips Home by ringing the front doorbell and waiting several minutes for attendants to reach the door. Provided you are not part of a commercial production and won't use a tripod, photography is permitted. In this way you can wander among the sumptuous furnishings, the Phillippine mahogany woodwork, the exquisite chandeliers and the extensive library -- on your own.
The Frank Phillips Home in Bartlesville is well worth the trip! Your tour guide will show you all three floors of this wonderful mansion and tell stories about oil tycoon Frank Phillips and his family. The furnishings are original to the home. The gardens are super!
This depot was built in 1903 and was recently moved to Johnstone Park and restored. So if you're interested in early railroad history, you might want to check this out. It's right next to the Santa Fe train and the Nellie Johnstone No. 1.
Johnstone Park is home to the only Santa Fe engine 940 locomotive in existence.
If anyone is interested in trains:
"The 900-class/940 series were the first locomotives to burn fuel oil instead of coal and were synonymous with the Santa Fe engine. Built by Vulcain, this Santa Fe engine, built in 1903, was originally a compound steam locomotive, and later converted to a simplified locomotive that could burn diesel. It has 2/10/2 wheels (2 pilot, 10 drivers and 2 trailing)."
This is a reproduction of the first commerical oil well to be drilled in Oklahoma. It's located in Johnstone Park and if you're not interested in the history of the Oil Boom, the park is a pretty place to go.
This is where you can see music, theatre, and ballet in Bartlesville. In June, we have the OK Mozart festival which has, in the past, featured such artists as Joshua Bell, James Galway, and Itzak Perlman.
The auditorium is said to have perfect acoustics and there is apparently the world's largest cloisonn mural inside. Cloisonn is created by stamping enamel and sinking it into metal cells. This mural depcits the four seasons and is similar to a mosaic.
The community center may seem a little outdated in places (the icicle lights, but they're still fun), but for a town of 30,000 it's pretty impressive.
This is Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper and now houses a restaurant, bar, and hotel. You can also take tours of the rooms, although no photography is allowed. There are big plans to make a museum designed by Zaha Hadid, but this has yet to be built.
The Tower was finished in 1956 and was first used as an office for the H.C. Price company. Wright called it the "tree that escaped the forest" and the way the rooms project from a central axis reflects this tree metaphor.
If you go on the tour you'll learn all the stories that I don't want to give away here. I'd say this is the best attraction in Bartlesville, and I've been staring at it for 19 years and I'm still not tired of it. It was recently refurbished and if you went before it was fixed up, pay it another visit.
Warning: The elevators are tiny and if you are claustrophobic, you may want to avoid this trip.
US-75 is where the high school kids hang out and listen to music. There's also food and smoothies, which is all vegetarian if I remember right. I recommend getting a smoothie and listening to some good local music if you're passing through on US-75.
Designed in the first quarter of the 20th century, the old Washington County Courthouse no longers see county transactions, but for its architectural style and venerable purpose (as well as its advanced age), the structure graces the National Register of Historic Places (a common occurrence among county courthouses!)
Once the main tower office for the Phillips Petroleum Company, this interesting historical structure was once the tallest skyscraper in Bartlesville. Now standing like an idle relic against the newer and taller company offices, this building remains the only non-hotel in Bartlesville to retain its original turn-of-the-century character.
In Johnstone Park stands the so-called Nellie Johnstone #1, the first commercial oil well constructed in Oklahoma. The rig stands next to Caney Creek on Seminole territory in the 1870s, where oil was first discovered seeping into the river. It would take twenty-one years before Johnstone and others could obtain drililng rights from the Indians (1897). This partially reconstructed well appears on the National Register of Historic Places.