Blair Mansion demolished, George Kaiser Family Foundation owned land will become 'A Gathering Place'

TULSA - For more than 60 years the Blair Mansion stood just north of 31st and Riverside. An impressive structure alongside the Arkansas River. But earlier today the walls came down on the Tulsa landmark.

The house was a hard sight to miss. Tucked behind an expansive lawn, west of Riverside Drive. 

Simply known as the Blair Mansion, according to the Tulsa County Assessor's Office, it was a house, built in 1952 on 33 acres of land. To some Tulsans though it was a part of their city.

"I'm a native Tulsan, I grew up here," Mary Pelizzoni said as she watched the demolition. "Spent a lot of time down at the river, still do and this breaks my heart."

Heartbroken as demolition crews arrived around 8 a.m. and didn't waste any time.

The 33 acres of land now owned by the George Kaiser Family Foundation will be part of 'A Gathering Place for Tulsa.'

"Well it certainly doesn't take them long to knock it down once they get going. What is going to take a while is the cleanup," Bob Krewett remarked as he watched the mansion leveled. 

Krewett lived behind the mansion for 25 years. It was gone in a matter of hours. He says the family living in the home was always kind and calls the mansion a once peaceful sight. But now Krewett is unsure what kind of a neighbor 'A Gathering Place' will be. 

"Obviosuly we hope that is going to work out well," Krewett said. "But you never know. We will just have to see how it develops."

The mansion's owner Daniel Buford said in a letter he spent more than a year trying to move the 55-hundred square foot home, but that plan proved unrealistic.

"I intended to relocate the house, and I have spent more than a year exploring how to move it to an alternate location," Buford wrote. "A local construction firm conducted an extensive study and assessment to evaluate the feasibility of relocation. Give the evaluation results, it is my deepest regret to inform the public that relocation is not feasible, and the Blair Mansion will be deconstructed." 

Krewett called it "the end of an era," as he watched the final walls come down.

'A Gathering Place for Tulsa' planning manager Jeff Stava said in a statement released Friday night, "The architectural plan for A Gathering Place for Tulsa has never included the house. After the sale of property to GKFF, the Bufords remained responsible for the house and planned on relocating it, but that proved to not be possible."

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