Designed by New York City architect Albert Joseph Bodker, the Carl K. Dresser House is a multi-story, stucco dwelling. Constructed in 1919-1920, the house is an excellent representation of the Spanish Eclectic style in Tulsa. The house is L-shaped with the three-story main section of the terra cotta covered roof being hipped. The three-story cross section of the roof is gabled with the south gable containing the primary entry. The gabled portion of the roof has a simple vergeboard with exposed purlins, painted blue to match the window frames, at both ends. North of the three-story, gabled roof is a two-story section with a flat roof containing the servants’ quarters and three bay integral garage. Ornamenting only the two-story section is projecting wooden roof beams, painted blue to match the window frames.
On the west side of the house is a one-story porte cochere with a gabled terra cotta roof with exposed rafters. Two stucco chimneys topped with elaborate, gabled terra cotta roofs are located on the north side, separated by the gabled cross section. The windows are wood, painted blue, and predominantly casement. In the rear servants’ quarters, the windows are single hung and the triple arched windows on the west side are triple hung. All of these windows slide into the wall. The number of lights per window varies throughout the house. The primary entry is located on the south elevation and is accessed by four flights of concrete steps which narrow as they approach the entry.
As originally constructed, the east side of the bottom flight of stairs melts into the concrete landing which rises to accommodate the change in grade. The enclosed entry has a large, four foot wide, single, wood plank door with a screen door and is ornamented with carved, low-relief ornamentation. Exterior decorative details include triple arched windows, iron railings and balconets, French windows and doors.
The Dresser House retains a high degree of integrity with the only alterations being the replacement of the garage doors in 1978, addition of a shed roof with wrought iron supports over the walkway between the main house and servants’ quarters at an unknown date, replacement of one casement window on the rear elevation and some minor interior modernization. The interior alterations include updating the kitchen which involved converting a walk-in refrigerator to a downstairs bathroom in 1940, and removing a wall and adding a kitchenette to the original five room servants’ quarters in 1990.
Located south of downtown Tulsa, the Dresser House is located in the historic Riverview neighborhood and was historically one of two houses on the block. Originally an exclusive neighborhood for Tulsa’s society, primarily oil tycoons, the neighborhood has been built up in modern times with apartment and condominium complexes. In more recent times several contemporary single family houses have been built to the north. None of these resources are historic or have any association with the Dresser House. Although the setting has been significantly altered, the Carl K. Dresser House possesses a high degree of integrity of location, design, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.
The building was listed in the National Register on June 2, 2000.