The Duncan Banner

June 24, 2013

Historic homes have plenty of stories

Rebeka Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — A house is more than a home, it’s a story collection and the longer it’s been around, the more stories it has to be told.

Each of the three homes on this year’s Founder’s Day Historical Home Tour have a long history and hold a number of memories. The homes were that of John and Pam Coburn at 812 Maple, David and Donna Duwe at 801 Beech and J&J Edwards at 601 N. 12th.

All of the homes have undergone some reconstruction and renovation. The Coburns began theirs after purchasing the “Howe House” in February 2005. They thought they would just do a little work.

“A plan that started out as a little work has grown into an eight-year and running unfinished project with new plans and ideas often superseding the old before they can be completed,” said John.

“But that’s okay. Some of our best work began with changing a light fixture and resulted in a multi-room makeover.”

George and Cora Howe moved to Duncan in the late 1800s and rebuilt the current house on the foundation of their home that was destroyed by the infamous June 1898 tornado. The 14-room home served as a boarding house where an important Duncan figure once roomed.

“I remember walking through the upstairs rooms as Dr. George Howe recounted stories from his childhood of the people who had lived in ‘Grandma Cora’s house,’” said John. “He told of the lasting impression a young entrepreneur named Erle Halliburton had left on his father as they discussed the struggles of building a business in the oilfields of southern Oklahoma.”

It is told that Halliburton didn’t have enough money to afford the rent, so Cora let it slide. However, he did eventually pay her back.

Throughout the Coburn home, some of it has been modernized, but they have also kept some of the history of the place. Old photos and mementos are scattered throughout the room and hallways and a room filled with dolls, both old and new, would be a little girl’s dream.

“Many of the original doors and fixtures were missing and virtually impossible to replace,” said John. “We decided to modernize the home. I apologize to the purists who would keep everything original. It just wasn’t possible.”

He said it has been an interesting process to cut, pry and pull their way behind the plasterboard and papered linen walls to see timber from the 19th century. Coburn said he figures they have added their own stories to the home already.

“We’re only continuing what the house has known since it was built, a home constantly growing and changing with the family it shelters,” he said.

“I am blessed to be a character in the continuing saga of what is now ‘Grandma Pam’s house.’”

On 12th St., the smallest and only unfurnished home on the tour received it’s share of visitors. A couple of those visitors had their own memories of the house to share.

Myra Golden of Broken Arrow came to Duncan to visit her sister Marlene McGough and they both headed over to what used to be their aunt Ollie Mae Teague’s home and beauty shop. Teague owned the house from the 1950s to early 1980s. What used to be the shop is now the master bedroom.

“It looks really nice but totally different,” said Golden. “My sister told me they were re-doing it and I’ve wanted to see it ever since. It brings back good memories.”

The American Craftsman style home was built in 1928 by Lillian and Roy Roper. It was passed through several owners and then left to fall into disrepair in 2007 until it was purchased by Bill Randolph and Jim Edwards in March 2012.

It is now being redone with gleaming dark wood floors and cabinets, off-white tile and plush carpets in the three bedrooms.