Kershner Vacation Home

19 Feb

Frederick Vance Kershner designed this vacation house for himself somewhere near Lake Keystone that was featured in the April 1953 issue of Arts & Architecture magazine. I knew that the Jones House was featured in A&A (more on that later), but I had no idea anything else from Oklahoma was featured, so this was a nice surprise. I had seen photos of the house in a couple of different places, John Brooks Walton’s Many More Historic Tulsa Homes and an exhibit brochure from Philbrook that featured the house, but had not been able to find out much more about the house. Sadly, the magazine did not provide much more information.

First, a little background on Frederick Vance Kershner; he was born in 1904 in McCurtain, Oklahoma (then Indian Territory), he attended Oklahoma A & M (Oklahoma State) and graduated in 1926 at which time he attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Fountainebleau, France. After returning from France, Kershner worked for Arthur Atkinson where he, along with Joseph Koberling, would help design the Oklahoma Natural Gas Building. He next joined John Duncan Forsyth’s firm and worked on the Marland Mansion in Ponca City. In 1928, he briefly joined Stanley Simmons and Horace Peaslee in Washington, D.C. Returning to Tulsa, Kershner joined the firm of Smith & Senter, where he would help design the Tulsa Fire Alarm Building, Tulsa Municipal Airport Building (demolished), and the Union Bus Depot (demolished). In 1935, he briefly worked for Donald McCormick before starting his own firm. Additionally, Kershner designed the Burtner Fleeger Residence at 2424 E. 29th St. and the Sanditen Residence at 1702 E. 37th St. (one of my favorite houses, located on the corner of 37th & Utica).

Here is the text from the article:

“The site is a 540-acre tract of land overlooking the Arkansas River Valley, in Oklahoma, and the cabin, placed on the highest point, has a sweeping view of the valley. The problem of maintaining a vacation house, which is closed nine months of the year, has determined the materials. The outer shell is three walls of 16-inch thick untrimmed sandstone from the site, with projecting cage of cemesto sheets set on stilts. Insects make unscreened living areas uninhabitable in vacation season, so the porch is designed as part of the house, on the same four-foot module. Glass doors opening living area to porch move on a barn door track. The stone shell, with raised living quarters, is used here because the vacation house is easily victimized by brush fires in the fall. Two upper floors of minimum area have been preferred to a larger partitioned one.”

Anyone have any more information?

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12 Responses to “Kershner Vacation Home”

  1. cole 19. Feb, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    I’d love to try to track this place down. Anyone know where to begin?

  2. T-town jimmy jam 20. Feb, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    This doesn’t help with the location, but I came across it while searching for it:

    http://digital.library.okstate.edu/oktoday/1950s/1958/oktdv8n4.pdf

    There are many examples of modern architecture in OK.

  3. T-town jimmy jam 20. Feb, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    A co-worker of mine just pointed out that this was built prior to the creation of Keystone Lake. So, depending on its location, it may be under water…

  4. JRB 20. Feb, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    Wow… very cool!

    He is also credited with Nimitz Junior High, one of the wackiest school buildings in Tulsa.

    Need to find this place… I feel a motorcycle ride is in order!

  5. cole 21. Feb, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    T-town, that is a great pdf you found there. Thank you for posting. I noticed on page 16 it says that the home will have a breathtaking view of Keystone Lake once the dam is built so I have to assume it is not under water.

  6. T-town jimmy jam 22. Feb, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    Ahhh, there is the actual reading! O.K., so surely there are records that would lead us to the house, right? Some digging is in order. BTW, I attended Nimitz…do, do, do, do (think twighlight zone).

  7. Teddy Kershner Hansen 17. Sep, 2009 at 5:38 pm #

    It burned down sometime in the 70’s. I spent some summers there as a teenager. There wasn’t a lake there in the fifties.

  8. Cindy Kershner Fahs 17. Sep, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    I have fond memories of summers spent at the house. It was very rustic all around us. We had a separate storm cellar built in the rocky land and ponds for fishing. My brother and I had horses. Inside the house, here was a wonderful mural that our father painted in the main room/kitchen area. The house had changed hands over the years before it burned down.

  9. Stacy Harwell 19. Sep, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    Just being one of the grandchild I barely remember, yet clear memory of family 4th of July parties. And missing my grandparents… wish there are pics of their home in Tulsa. Many memories spent on wkends and it got the rap as the glass house… very out there design for most people indeed!

  10. Darby 09. Oct, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Memories! Amazing that we have these wonderful photographs.
    I remember we ( MiMi, Reid and I) called it the farm. The drive itself from Tulsa was never boring. Driving through Sapulpa, open land, or by acres of scrub oak trees only to finally turn right and then in a few more miles that magical place.
    Taking hikes, roasting weenies, Dad opening a can of Dintymore stew and cooking it right in the fire.
    And the tire swing! Birthday parties! Taking the Bluebird group out there.
    Once Mom opened the door going into the house underneath the porch and saw a huge snake. She screamed and ran to the car. We couldn’t get her out again. It cut that trip to the farm very short.

  11. OKmodern 17. Jan, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    I had always heard the house was still standing but heavily “remuddled.” That’s very sad news indeed.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing your family memories.

  12. hood 18. Jan, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Yes thank you indeed…..It would be great to get together and talk about the house. An interesting article if you ask me….what do you think Rex?

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