The History of the Faculty House

The house currently called the Faculty House was built in 1929 by the development firm of Callaway, Carey and Foster. They bought the lots at 601 N.E. 14th and built a house patterned after Mount Vernon, the ancestral home of George and Martha Washington. Built as a speculative investment, the home had fourteen rooms. The first floor featured a conservatory, a paneled den, a living room 19' by 27' and a grand hall with a circular staircase leading to the second floor, which had three bedrooms. The basement had a clubroom 28' long and 19' wide for billiards and recreation. The distinguishing feature outside was the 60' long portico across the front, a style taken directly from Mount Vernon.

For almost four years the place stood vacant, then was sold to Elmer Neff, who used it as a boarding house for young medical students. Then in 1952 the O.U. Medical School hired Dr. Stewart Wolf as the first full time head of the Department of Medicine. Dr. Wolf and a few of his colleagues envisioned a faculty club that not only would provide social contact in the entire complex, but also would encourage staff support of scholarships and research. In 1957 when the New Mount Vernon went on the market, Dr. Wolf, using money from the Stewart Wolf Medical Research Fund purchased it from the Association of the University of Oklahoma Medical Faculty.

Incorporated two years later, the Faculty Association was a non-profit private corporation with a board of directors, officers, and a set of purposes that included broader education opportunities for and service to medical students, teaching and practicing physicians, and to the citizens of the state of Oklahoma.

Dr. Wolf in league with other physicians such as the Faculty Association's first president, Dr. Leonard Eliel, converted the home at 601 N.E. 14th to the New Faculty House. For the first 10 years the social center served a variety of purposes that were in large part a response to conditions in Oklahoma City. With the closest hotels downtown, visiting professors and candidates for jobs stayed in the bedrooms. With few quality restaurants in the area, faculty members gathered for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Regular membership in the Faculty House was open to any member of the OU Medical School faculty; special memberships were offered to retired faculty members and their widows, resident physicians while in active training and graduate fellows at the Medical Research Center. By the mid 1960's the Faculty House had a membership exceeding 500, of whom almost 250 were special members and a full time staff of 14. An expanded dining room was added along with a swimming pool.

In 1977, faced with mounting financial obligations but still convinced of the need for a private club near the Medical Complex, the Faculty Association transferred the Faculty House to the Oklahoma Health Sciences Facility, Inc., a non-profit organization under the direct control of its Director.

Today the Faculty House is operated under the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Faculty House continues to serve the Faculty, Staff, and Students of the Health Sciences Center along with the Legislature and lawmakers of the State Capitol and the Staff, Faculty, and Employees of the Oklahoma Health Center, along with those in the know.

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