The Grisso Mansion

The Grisso Mansion, commanding a hilltop on State Highway 9, in Seminole Oklahoma is not only an attractive landmark, but on the National Register of Historic Places.

The mansion was a "dream home" built by W.E. Grisso for his wife Maggie.

Construction on the home began in 1926 and concluded in 1928 in time for Thanksgiving dinner.

Grisso, a visionary who believed in the future of Seminole and the state, was a physician, a pharmacist, rancher, oilman and land conservationist.

He was also the catalyst for building State Highway 48, now State Highway 99 and US 377, and stumped throughout the state for better roads and highways.

Although the house has been lived in by several other families over the past several years, it was continuously occupied by Grisso family members from 1928 until it was sold after Maggie Grisso's health failed in 1976.

Although subsequent owners had made improvements and needed upkeep, the house remained  basically the same until current owner Kenneth Henderson began work on the mansion. Many improvements have been added to the house and property.

It is set on a terraced landscape which was the original site of the Grisso farm and now occupies four acres.

Modern  additions include a matching six-car garage which boasts heat and air conditioning and a three-quarters bath.

One garage stall was built to accommodate a motor home.

Other outbuildings are used for storage and to keep the sprinkler system running. A two-story  garage/servants quarters are located to the back of the house.

Built at a cost of $750,000, the 26-room mansion has many unique features, including elegant walnut hand-carved doors, which are nine feet tall and over 2 inches thick.

Ironwork on the Italian Renaissance home was handmade and floors were covered with imported tile or wood parquet.

Rugs were hand-crafted in England, with newer carpets handmade in Oklahoma City by a decorator.

Each room in the house has a slightly different theme and sconces match the fixtures in design.

Door sills are of brass, guttering outside is solid copper.

Even inside doors of the house are extra thick and walls, constructed of hollow tile, brick and plaster, are 15 inches thick, reinforced with steel bracing in some places.

The Moorish woodwork is black walnut and carries out the theme of roses carved in door frames and on ceiling tiles. Most window sills are of imported marble. Brightly colored ceramic tile was used in the kitchen and baths.

The house boasts eight fireplaces, but all are gas powered.

Mrs. Grisso, family members say, said she had carried wood for heating and cooking all her life and she "never wanted to see another stick of firewood."

Built around a central courtyard, the home also has a greenhouse, fish pond and storm cellar.

Windows in the living room are two stories high and are draped in pale green. A visitor's eyes are immediately drawn to the enormous brass chandelier set in the two-story cathedral ceiling.

The entry door faces a working fountain, set into the wall and framed by Italian tile.

The curving stairway takes one up to a long hallway marked with minstrel balconies overlooking the downstairs.

Downstairs includes a music room, with crystal chandelier; a sunny yellow kitchen which looks like a cook's dream; butler's pantry; sunroom; a dining room which could accommodate a very large dinner party; half bath; and breakfast room.

Upstairs, the guest bedroom has fixtures which match the sconces and the fireplace.

It has its own full bath (with heated towel racks) and dressing room. Closets are all cedar lined.

The master bedroom boasts a walk-in cedar lined closet with pull-outs for hangers and drawers. The sitting room offers a view of the grounds. The study-library has access to a second story patio.

The full basement contains a large laundry room and drying room, a room-size cedar closet for off-season storage, a kitchen, game room with full-size pool table, and a guest bedroom with two queen size beds and bath.

The basement's main feature, though, is the ballroom with a hardwood dance floor and raised wood parquet stage for a small orchestra. Ceiling fans circulate the air.



Page created by Stu Phillips

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