House of the Week: An Oil Baron’s Lodge With History and Charm

If only the walls at Skelly Lodge could talk. Built in the 1930s by a group of oil barons as a duck hunting lodge, the grand old home is rumored to have hosted the likes of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Churchill. It’s now for sale for $2.5 million with listing agents Mark and Janet Youngblood of Chinowth & Cohen Realtors.

Harvey Sweet and his wife purchased the property – which is on the National Register of Historic Places – seven years ago as a retirement project, which he says has been a “blessing.” In addition to living on site, the couple turned the lodge into a venue for everything from weddings to family reunions.

They are selling the lodge fully furnished, complete with event equipment. “We’re hoping someone will want to continue the wedding venue,” Sweet said. “I don’t know why they wouldn’t, since it helps pay the bills.”

Though the Sweets ran the lodge as something of a hobby, there is great potential for someone with “an entrepreneurial spirit to take it over and really to grow it,” predicted Mr. Sweet. He suggests that it could be an event venue, a bed and breakfast, or even a church retreat. It could also, Sweet says, be “a personal residence that someone really enjoys.”

In addition to the 9-bedroom, 5-bathroom main house, the property comes with a 1,200-square foot, 2-bedroom cabin that the Sweets built for Mr. Sweet’s father, and where they now reside. Designed to blend in with the lodge, the cabin’s style matches as closely as possible, with attention to details like using duplicates of the railings of the lodge and the same rockwork.

Sweet’s favorite place in the main lodge is the Great Room, which he says “can’t be beat.” “When we have our Christmas parties and our families come in, we all gather in the Great Room, set up puzzle tables and the whole nine yards,” Sweet said. The sizable, open room has a large fireplace as a centerpiece, and even a TV hidden in one of the cabinets for all your football viewing needs.

The most noteworthy feature of Skelly Lodge, which is about 30 minutes east of Tulsa, might just be the view.

“The oil men who built it originally in the 1930s knew an awful lot about what they were doing when they selected the location,” noted Sweet. With a 35-mile view off the top of a ridge across the Verdigris River Valley, the secluded property is the definition of a retreat.

“I know it’s our location,” Sweet said, “but it can take your breath away.”

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