Victorian Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast, Guthrie, Oklahoma, OK - Relax and enjoy a romantic Bed and Breakfast Inn that immerses the senses in times past; when life was simpler and guests were nestled in the gracious lap of luxury.

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A Brief History

David A. Rainsburg was the Guthrie Station Master for the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. In 1908, he and his new bride, Amina, purchased two town lots on the corner of Broad and Springer and built a lovely two-story home to begin their life together.

1908 and 1909 were the best of Guthrie's glory years. She had been designed and built in a manner befitting her status as Capital of the new state of Oklahoma, and had just completed the greatest building boom in her short history. At the time, there was little concern for the security of her status as State Capital. No one expected that in the middle of the night on June 10, 1910, the state seal would be taken away, and along with it, Guthrie's entire economic base. The community soon slipped into a 70 year long economic sleep in which progress stopped completely in it's tracks.  Guthrie has remained from that day forward, much the same as she was when she lost her primary purpose.

Today, through careful restoration, a rich architectural legacy has been preserved. Guthrie is now the largest urban district on the National Historic Register with 2,169 buildings, including the lovely home built by David and Amina Rainsburg, which is now the Victorian Garden Inn.

The warmth and care that went into restoring, furnishing and decorating this home shows in all the details. We're sure you'll enjoy your experience and have a very pleasant and comfortable stay.

For a more detailed account of our inn's history, please continue ...

 

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A More Detailed History

Early history of the area

Originally the two town lots at what became 324 South Broad Street were available as part of a nearly two million acre land grab best known today as "The Great Land Run of 1889." The 2 million acres had been purchased from the Creek and Seminole Tribes shortly after the Civil War for pennies on the dollar, ostensibly because they were being punished for backing the South during the war. The real reason was probably because the US Government had an eye toward moving more tribes to the area. But shortly after, government policy on how to deal with the "Indians" had begun to change, and wholesale movement of entire tribes had ceased. This left a huge area of real estate which became known as the "Unassigned Lands," and was the area that quickly became coveted by "Boomers," who felt the land belonged to the citizens of the United States. These Boomers embarked upon an almost 30 year struggle with the government to open the land up for settlement, and finally succeeded on April 22, 1889 with the Great Land Run. At the time it was often called (President Benjamin) "Harrison's Hoss Race." It was the first such run of its kind. Although similar means of handing out free land by the government occurred on several occasions afterward, none were quite so wild and reckless, because the problems encountered in the first run were examined carefully, and future runs were planned accordingly.

 

Settlement Days

Those who made that first run were briefed that they could claim either a quarter section (160 acres) for farming purposes or a 25' by 125' lot in one of the areas designated as town sites, which were limited in size by law to 320 acres, in order to preserve adequate land for food production. The problem was that it was soon evident on the day of the run that a half section of land would not be nearly enough to contain all of the people who wished to have town lots in Guthrie. This intense interest in Guthrie was due to the fact that it had already been named as the planned capital of the future Territory, and already had a railroad, a depot, and one of only two U.S. Government Land offices placed in the Territory.

 

Land Dispute

As the population of Guthrie swelled, a new town site, adjacent to the original, called "East Guthrie" was established, not surprisingly, on the east side of the half section known simply as Guthrie. Settlers hungry for land ignored the fact that a homesteading farmer had already claimed the south half of East Guthrie for his farm stead long before anyone even thought of establishing an adjoining town to Guthrie.

What ensued was a prolonged claim dispute that was eventually settled in the Federal Court in Muskogee. The farmer knew he was in the right and was confident that he could prove he had won his land fair and square. Charles Brown, the attorney representing East Guthrie, took everyone off guard when he acknowledged in his opening remarks that the farmer had indeed taken possession first. During the course of the hearing, however, he managed to convince the court that the interests of the many settlers in East Guthrie should take precedence over the rights of the one individual. As a result, East Guthrie was made whole and took it's place between her sister town sites of Guthrie and Capital Hill, with West Guthrie on the other side of Guthrie.

 

First Owners of the Lot

One of those East Guthrie claim jumpin' town lot grabbers on April 22, 1889 was May Milliken, wife of one of Guthrie's early realtors. She and her husband planned to claim prime town lots, improve them with small cheap dwellings, and resell them for tidy profits. By carrying the notes on these "sold" properties, they increased their profits even further by charging exorbitant interest rates. The Millikens took back possession of any properties in which the mortgagors fell behind in their payments. Then they could simply resell that property for the same, or even a higher price than the original sale.

At the northeast corner of Broad Street and Springer Avenue (named after  Congressman Springer of Kansas), the Millikens built a modest one-story house with a carriage house at the back of the lot. The carriage house was large enough for one carriage to be pulled through, with a lean-to stable for the horse on the south side of the carriage house. They sold the  property in 1893, but received it back in 1896.

 

Original Owners of the House We see Today

In 1908, David Andrew Rainsburg, station agent for the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad purchased the lots, obtained a loan from the Farmers & Merchants Bank of Tryon and built the present home. David chose to retain the original carriage house, which remains on the property today. (All that remains of the stable however, is the rock foundation.)

Rainsburg was born on November 8, 1866 in Kenton, Ohio. He had no siblings. His wife, Amina, was from Avard, Oklahoma, and had two sisters, Cora (Ferguson) and Maggie (Morris). David and Amina never had children. Rainsburg was a 33° Mason. He began his Masonic career at Guthrie's Albert Pike Lodge in January, 1912 where he rose to the position of Worshipful Master in 1918, and is listed as one of the five-member "Masonic Building Association for Guthrie Consistory Number One." This group handled the real estate transaction that resulted in the Masons¹ ownership of the property where the Scottish Rite Temple now sits, and also developed the initial vision for what the temple would eventually look like.

David and Amina lived in the home until 1918. They sold it to George Haas, a Santa Fe Railroad employee. After selling, David and Amina moved to 310 E. Oklahoma (this address is now the Keepsake Kottage Bed and Breakfast), for a few years, before purchasing a quarter section of land to the northwest of Guthrie. David died there at age 73 on July 4th, 1940 of complications from a ruptured appendix. The net value of his estate at the time of death, including cash, real estate, and a 1939 Buick Sedan, was $3,299.59.  Amina died 23 days short of five years later on June 7, 1945. She left her entire estate to her sister Maggie, with a net value, including cash, stocks and bonds, savings, and real estate, of almost $20,000. One can only guess why, after only five years, Mrs. Rainsburg managed to build the estate so much more.  Our best guess is that she received royalties on productive oil wells that were drilled on her land after her husband had already passed away. Meanwhile, back at the house at 324 S. Broad....

 

Chain of Title Grows

Sometime in the 1930's, George Haas sold the home to Rudolph Pata, who soon offered the home as a rental property. The current owners discovered this fact during a Christmas Open House tour, when three sisters who lived here around 1937-1939 arrived to take the tour.  Their parents had rented the house for $15.00 a month while their father was posted to Guthrie with the railroad.  The sisters recounted that the house was then a bright blue, and locals referred to it as "the electric blue house."

In December of 1940 B.J. Shope bought the home and it remained in that family until it was purchased by Guthrie Realtor Abe Ghassempour in 1988.  He did cosmetic work on both the interior and the exterior of the house at that time.  The house had been included in a nearly 400 acre area that was designated around 1980  as a National Historic District, the largest single urban Historic District in the entire country.

 

Property Recognized

On April 3rd of 1988, an article appeared in the Guthrie Daily Leader entitled "This Old House: Our Treasures, By the Logan County Historical Society,"  that described the features of the house in this way:

"On the Northeast corner of Broad and Springer is a wonderful lady, built in 1908, that has just received a new dressing accenting her delightful Victorian features. The new paint job details the crowns over her windows, including the palladian windows gracing her gables, the craftsman shingles decorating the gables and the pediments over the entrances to the porch, the capitals on the cornerboards of the house, and her lovely triple columns supporting the wrap-around porch."

The article went on to describe the home's interior, mostly as it appears today:
All doors in the house are topped by working transoms.  Airflow would have been no problem within the house.  And, the coal-burning, central heating system projected its warmth into each room through still present grates that were elegance personified.  Also, upon measuring, we found the picture rails still gracing the parlor walls were very appropriately located just 12' from the ceiling, which...was the prescribed distance for these rails by the contemporary picture hanging guides...A delightful treasure in the home is the 1911 paperhanger's signature which may be seen half-way up the main staircase.

 

Last Residential Owners

In 1989 the house was purchased by the Scott Sadler family, who added central heat and air, storm windows and did extensive plumbing and electrical work.

Presently...

The present owners purchased the home in August of 1994 with plans to convert the home to a Bed & Breakfast. The Victorian Garden Inn  opened in December 1995. Nancy Arbaugh operates the B & B with her husband, Tim.  It has three guest rooms currently, with a fourth (and FINAL!!) to be opened sometime in 2001.  Be sure and ask your innkeepers about some of the interesting artifacts that have been discovered during the restoration of the house. The walls of this house have definitely done some talking.

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Home Page | Accommodations | Gardens | Breakfast | Parlor  
Rates | History | Map | Policy Info | Meet the Innkeepers 
Amina's Secret Bower | Summer Garden Room | Wild Rose Room

For Reservations Call:

From the Oklahoma City Metro Area: 282-8211
OR Toll-free outside the Oklahoma City Metro area: 888-792-1092

Victorian Garden Inn Bed & Breakfast
324 South Broad Street, Guthrie, OK 73044
Innkeepers: Tim Arbaugh and Nancy (Palmer) Arbaugh
E-mail: innkeeper@victoriangardenbb.com
Website: www.victoriangardenbb.com

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