La Quinta Mansion has stood for over eighty years in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Having first been built in the 1930s for the local oilman H.V. Foster, it changed ownership several times afterwards until it eventually came to serve as a campus center for several different universities. Central Pilgrim College was one such school, which later served as Bartlesville Wesleyan College until it became Oklahoma Wesleyan University. It seems that original owner Foster’s philanthropic commitment to sending young people to college would be lived out even with the legacy of his former home.
This issue of the Tower is all about La Quinta Mansion and the people who were involved with the historic building. The architecture and details are representative of what was popular in America during its era of construction. The careful renovations show the passion of local groups hoping to preserve history. The photos of students in times past are an example of how students have continually utilized this multi-purpose space. The photos and timelines that have been pieced together simply show how La Quinta has maintained her beauty and relevance to many communities.
We in the University Relations team have enjoyed researching and digging through the archives to find the thread of this building through history. Many of the photos have been charming and suggested nostalgia for the past. Some of the articles we found were already yellowed with age, but spoke with the vibrancy expected of any attention-catching article today. We came to appreciate the humanity of the people who were trying to do their jobs and make sure the building would stand to see another few years. Above all we learned that just because these things occurred in the past, it does not mean there is no weight or bearing on how we act today.
We made the Mansion central to this issue’s theme on purpose, because although she has not yet reached her 100th birthday, the continual growth of the university and the surrounding community made us realize there should be a physical anchor to tie the ages together. The Mansion is recognizable, yes, but most of all memorable, if not only for that first moment of seeing its tower rise on the horizon. It is a gorgeous sight (captured by many and shared in the media), easily passed by if one passed it everyday, but all the more appreciated for the person who has been away and missed it.