The White House
Once the centerpiece of a grand estate of a prominent local businessman – and later, the site of an elegant, 4-star restaurant – the well-known White House now serves as the home of The Abel Law Firm – the state’s preeminent Personal Injury firm.
Harvey P. Everest was one of the most influential men to contribute to the growth of Oklahoma. From his beginnings in magazine distribution to becoming President of Liberty National Bank, Everest did numerous things to aid the development of Oklahoma City. In 1931, after building a good life for his family, he built a luxury home for them a few miles north of downtown on N.E. 63rd and the Edmond Highway (now called Kelley Avenue). The spacious 8,000-square-foot, Southern Colonial-style house was built on 31 acres.
The Original Grounds
What would eventually become known as the White House included everything the family could want: tennis courts, stables for Harvey’s prized horses, and a swimming pool. The original farm where the house was built was 160 acres, but over the years, it dwindled to 31 acres. On the acreage was to be found one of the prettiest pieces of natural woodland in Oklahoma, with a branch of Deep Fork Creek running through it; a four-acre garden spot; a five-acre field of alfalfa; and more than enough space for fruit, flowers, and raising chicken and turkeys. The six-acre woodland originally had various species of trees with grape vines hanging from them.
Design and Construction
The architects for the house were the local firm of Schumacher and Winkler. They designed the distinctive features of the house, such as the true colonial hall, upstairs and down. The house was designed with a recreation room in the basement, a sunroom on the south end, and a breakfast room on the north. All centered around a magnificent, hand-built stairwell inside the stately front entrance to the home.
New Life for a Timeless Structure
The White House – or the Everest Mansion, as it was sometimes referred to – was sold by the Everest family in the mid-1960s, and the palatial structure was ultimately transformed into the White House Restaurant, an upscale dining and drinking establishment known for its exquisite meals, plush surroundings and reputation as an intimate, out-of-the-way dining destination.
After a succession of owners, each unable to revive the dining establishment’s former luster, the White House closed for good around 1987. Then, just two years later, a major fire gutted the once-proud landmark, completely destroying the inside and leaving only two original outside walls intact and standing.
Fortunately, new property owners had the resources and determination to rebuild and restore the gem to its former glory completely. Many months after the fire, renovations began and stretched throughout the 1990s. Long-term plans were to reconstruct the architectural treasure and re-zone it as business/office property, and the conversion began in earnest in 2003.
With restoration nearly completed, the distinctive property was purchased by local attorney Ed Abel in early 2007. Final renovations began immediately and were completed within eight weeks. Today, it is the proud home of the Abel Law Firm.
Magnificent in its day, the White House not only re-captures a bygone era of elegance but remains one of Oklahoma City’s most graceful and recognizable historical landmarks.