Home sweet home
The McBirney Mansion is again a private residence.
The McBirney’s newest owners, Wendy and Gentner Drummond, are transforming the circa 1927 mansion and former commercial property into their family home.
A Tulsa estate known for its stunning views of the Arkansas River and a natural spring on site has new owners.
Tulsans Gentner and Wendy Drummond plan to restore the McBirney Mansion to its original grandeur. The historic residence will become the setting for local philanthropic parties and events.
Commissioned by Tulsa banker James H.
McBirney in 1927, architect John Long modeled the famous mansion in the Gothic Tudor style, popular in the United Kingdom in the mid- to late 19th century. When the home was complete, it served as a private residence for the McBirney family. The McBirneys hosted such notable figures as the famous aviator Amelia Earhart, who was a family friend.
The property falls under a preservation easement overseen by the Tulsa Preservation Commission and the State Historic Preservation Review Board. That means any changes must be reviewed and approved by the organizations, and the home can’t be torn down and new buildings erected without approval, says Amanda DeCort, preservation planner for the City of Tulsa.
“The McBirney House is such an iconic structure,” DeCort says. “The preservation easement ensures that future generations of Tulsans will continue to be able to enjoy a view of the historic property from Riverside Drive.”
DeCort adds that she hopes the new owners will recognize the significance of the property and keep it in fine repair. It seems they plan to do so.
Renovations have started at the property, which will be the Drummonds’ primary Tulsa residence, according to Wendy Drummond. Updates will include new air conditioning, a new roof and transforming the residence from a commercial property into a family home. The nearly 3-acre grounds also will receive a facelift with restoration to the spring-fed ponds and a terraced rose garden.
“Once we are finished, we look forward to hosting many events in our home for our family and friends and to benefit Tulsa’s many wonderful nonprofits,” Wendy says. “We anticipate many future generations of Drummonds enjoying one of Oklahoma’s treasures.”
Born in Ireland, the home’s original owner, James McBirney, traveled from Kansas to Tulsa to work as a bookkeeper for the Tulsa Banking Co., eventually becoming the bank’s vice president.
He was an avid sportsman and was a pitcher for Tulsa’s first baseball team, known simply as “Tulsa.” He traveled frequently across the Arkansas River to court Miss Vera Clinton of Red Fork. The two married in 1901.
The McBirney family owned the home until 1975, when it was purchased by local philanthropists Roger and Donna Hardesty, who in turn sold the mansion to the law firm of Doyle, Holmes, Gasaway and Green. The historic estate also served as a bed and breakfast inn during the late 1990s and in recent years, when it became a popular event venue.
Located in the Childers Heights addition, the McBirney Mansion was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.