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The Haunted House Lives Again

Patrick Boylan and a revitalized legend



 



The name conjures up visions of ghostly beings roaming the stately, wood-paneled halls. But in reality, the Haunted House is one of Oklahoma City’s best-loved and most charming restaurants.
 

Located at the end of a quaint, tree-lined driveway near NE 63rd and Eastern, the landmark establishment has undergone a renaissance within the past year. New owner Patrick Boylan acquired the Haunted House at an auction last year, shelling out a relatively meager $196,000 for the 4,500-square-foot 1935 manor and 2.5 acres of prime real estate. He immediately went to work restoring the restaurant and the grounds.

“This was a 1935 mansion that needed a lot of work,” Boylan says. “It was basically deferred maintenance that had built up over a lot of years. I got busy cleaning the carpets, painting, washing the windows, trimming trees. It really came back to life.”

According to local legend, the restaurant’s name came from the 1963 murder of 74-year-old auto dealer Martin Carriker, who lived in the house with his wife Clara and stepdaughter Margaret Pearson. Ultimately, Pearson was charged with Carriker’s murder. Investigators claimed she and two handymen had conspired to kill her stepfather. Before she could go on trial, Pearson’s mother, Clara, also died.

A jury later found Pearson not guilty of her stepfather’s murder, and she returned to the mansion. It was foreclosed on in 1964, and just before she was set to move, Pearson, too, was found dead inside the house. Her murder was never solved.

“Following those tragedies, the house was sold to Arthur and Marian Thibault,” Boylan says. “They bought the mansion and the grounds on May 30, 1964, which, coincidentally, happened to be the day I was born. They chose the name ‘Haunted House’ because of the murders that had occurred there. The restaurant opened that year and operated for 51 years. I re-opened it last summer on July 4.”

Boylan said the restaurant business is a total hobby. He also owns J. Bruner’s Steakhouse in the Lake of the Ozarks, near Osage Beach, Missouri, and so renamed his Oklahoma City restaurant “J. Bruner’s at the Haunted House.”


“I usually eat out every meal, every day,” Boylan says. “So the restaurant business has always intrigued me. It’s not a lucrative business, but it’s a fun business. It’s sort of like having a bunch of friends over for dinner every night, but I don’t have to clean up after.”

During its original run, the Haunted House served everyone from movie stars to British royalty. Bob Hope and his wife dined there, and so did Liberace and Lauren Bacall. Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, also dropped by while she was in town.

The restaurant was always one of Boylan’s favorites, a place he often entertained clients for more than 30 years.

“I first started my production company, PDC Productions, in 1982,” he says. “At that time, Oklahoma City only had a few fine dining establishments. There was Val Gene’s at the top of Founder’s Tower, and, of course, Junior’s in the Oil Center. And then there was the Haunted House. Back then it was kind of a go-to spot.”

When Boylan met his boyfriend, Alek Vladimirovich, the restaurant soon became a romantic spot where they spent each Valentine’s Day. The two men were married last September.

“I really didn’t want to change much about the restaurant,” Boylan says. “But I have upgraded the menu, and the steaks and prime rib are totally different than any other steakhouse in Oklahoma City. Everything comes from Stockyard Beef in Chicago, and it is 100 percent grain-fed beef. Our food is incredible.”

And the exceptionally elegant atmosphere is a big part of what gives the revitalized landmark its spirit … however many of those might be around this time of year.


 

► J. Bruner’s at the Haunted House

For reservations, which are encouraged, or to arrange a private event, call 405.478.1417.

 

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September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

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Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
View map »


Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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