A history of the Bohart Mansion
Inside this year’s Designer Showcase home.
Margarita Wiegand was of German descent but was reared in Mexico. It was there that she met Philip Harris Bohart, a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He tells the story of the time working in Mexico as a geologist for Gypsy Oil Co. when he and his crew were camped for the night. They discovered that they were camped just across the river from the infamous Pancho Villa. That discovery led to a hasty exit — leaving all their equipment behind.
Margarita and Phillip were married in January 1925 and settled in Tulsa, where he would become vice president of Gulf Oil, a position he held until his death in 1963.
The Boharts built their mansion in 1937 at 2840 S. Columbia Place. The entire house has a Spanish or Moorish flavor, its tall, slender chimneys with their pointed, arched tops helping to create this feeling. The brick façade was originally painted soft pink, for Margarita wanted it to look like a piece of candy when it snowed. The arched front door opens into a small tiled vestibule with one step up into the large foyer. Two stories in height, a massive staircase leads up three steps to the dining room and kitchen level and then on up to a landing with a large leaded-glass window that once depicted the Wiegand coat of arms.
The second-floor landing extends on three sides, looking down into the grand foyer below. Four bedrooms and three baths and a small sewing room complete the second level.
Off the first floor is the formal living room with an open porch overlooking the back yard through Moorish arches. Also off the main foyer is the library with one wall of walnut bookcases. In this wall is a small, carved pass-through to the kitchen. This was used by Philip, who enjoyed sitting in the library and reading during the cocktail hour. The library mantel and tile surrounds depicting the story of Don Quixote were made in Mexico. Margarita’s nickname was “Monco,” which means “monkey,” and so the guest powder room has silver-leafed wall coverings adorned with handpainted trees and monkeys. Another interesting feature of this house is the elaborate bronze hardware on all the doors into the formal areas of the house. Each backplate has a different coat of arms and each doorknob has a cast picture or scene.
The large formal dining room with its beamed ceiling originally had carved brackets at each beam with the faces of comedy and tragedy — Margarita loved drama and the arts, including opera.
The Boharts were famous for entertaining both their friends and friends of their children, Philip Jr. and Betty Ann. Many were the times that the large Oriental rug in the foyer was rolled up and a Victrola in the corner wound up for a teenage dance. The Bohart Christmas party was a tradition that included a midnight buffet following Christmas Eve Mass. On such occasions, a close group of friends and their families would gather to toast with silver goblets — each goblet had the bearer’s name engraved on it.
Editor's note: This article previously ran in TulsaPeople Magazine as an installment of the Historic Home column by John Brooks Walton. It is also part of Walton’s book “100 Historic Tulsa Homes.” Photo courtesy of John Brooks Walton.