THE FRANKLIN CASTLE

Per the Talequah Daily Press, “As Mike Shelton was reading the Tulsa World, July 27, 2015, a headline announcing, “Historic castle goes up for sale right here in Oklahoma,” and a photograph of the home built by M.E. Franklin in Tahlequah in 1931, jolted him into action.”

“Owner of a masonry business in Tulsa with more than 30 years experience in restoring historic buildings, Shelton had been captivated by the Franklin Castle in Tahlequah ever since he first noticed it almost 10 years earlier from Norris Park.”

“It was in bad shape then,” he recalled. ‘I told my wife it needs to be saved. It would be sad if it just goes to ruin.’ And every time we’d go to Tahlequah, I’d drive past it. I admired it, and every time it got worse. And I saw the newspaper story and picture of it, and I was down there [in Tahlequah] the next day to look at it.”

“For the next week at night, his decision bothered him nonstop. One morning he decided, “Something is telling me I’ve got to do this. So the very next day I made an offer on it and bought it” in October 2015.”

“Born in Palo Alto, Calif., Mike Shelton moved with his family to Tulsa when he was four or five. His father, a Tulsa fire marshal, ran a roofing company on his days off. While employed by his father as a teenager, Shelton became intrigued with stonemasons working on the house he was roofing. Learning the trade under them, after graduating from Broken Arrow High School in 1977, he went into the business himself.”

“Shelton’s close inspection also revealed what he suspected – the basic structure was as sound as the day the house was finished.”

“To his amazement, after almost a year of renovation, he has yet to discover even the smallest crack in the foundation or walls of the building.”

“From the time he acquired the castle, most of Shelton’s weekends were spent in Tahlequah, pulling down vines, replacing the roof, removing the debris of collapsed ceilings and rotted floors, stabilizing the interior, and beginning the process of restoration. The new owner’s goal is to restore the building to its 1931 appearance.”

“The building is really more incredible than I even realized when I used to drive by it; it’s remarkable what they did and accomplished, and knowing what they had to do to complete that project, it’s impressive,” Shelton said.

“Perhaps the final sentence of the World article that inspired Shelton to purchase the home provides insight into his reason for saving the building: “The house deserves an owner who will take good care of it as a monument to Franklin and as an important lesson that he can still share with NSU – that with hard work and a little determination, even a poor student from the backwoods of Oklahoma can end up living in a castle someday.”

Read the complete article here:
The Tahlequah Daily Press

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