Belvidere Mansion - Claremore, OK
Step back in time and experience the opulence of the early 20th century at The Belvidere Mansion in Claremore. Known as the "Belle of Rogers County," this three-story Victorian mansion was built in 1907 by businessman and financier John Melville Bayless for his wife, Mary Melissa, and their children.
The main floor features an L-shaped foyer with Italian tile, marble wainscoting and pressed tin walls and ceilings. Two round turrets on the front and two square turrets on the back make the Belvidere Mansion recognizable and unique. The open center gallery allows visitors to view all three floors up to the skylight in the roof from the first floor. The top floor ballroom has been completely restored and offers a beautiful panorama of the city of Claremore.
The Pink House is located on the first floor and serves a delicious lunch. In addition, the Rogers County Genealogical Society houses its research library on the mansion's second floor. A gift shop is located on-premises and tours are available. Head to the Belvidere during the winter holiday season for Christmas at the Belvidere, an annual gift show held from the last week of November through December 23. During this event, the entire mansion is decorated for the holidays and offers a large variety of gifts and collectibles. Admission is by donation and special group tours can be arranged before or after business hours.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the three-story mansion was built by John M. Bayless starting in 1902. Bayless, who was instrumental in building the Cassville and Western (C&W ) Railroad, as well as the Arkansas & Oklahoma Railroad, moved his family to Indian Territory from Cassville, Missouri in 1901. The next year, he began to build the castle-like mansion for his wife, Mary Melissa Bayless, and his seven children. Belvidere was not only successful in the railroad business, but also in banking and land development.
The gothic-style brick home, complete with tile roof and four towers, provided for a portico on the north side for the guest carriages, as well as a large covered porch at the front entrance with a matching balcony directly above it. Inside, the floors were covered in tile, with wainscoted marble walls and pressed tin ceilings. Sliding pocket doors were used in several rooms and many had fireplaces. Much of the trim and woodwork used were brought from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The third floor of the mansion was dedicated to a 2,400 square foot ballroom.