MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OK Centennial

May 23, 2007

House woos doctor to plant roots in town

When Dr. Phil Couch came to Muskogee for the first time in 1978 to look the town over and see whether he was interested in establishing his practice here, he fell in love.

Not with a woman, he and Mary Ann already were married.

He fell in love with the big — 10,000 square feet — mansion of Carthage stone built in 1906 on the hill at 1320 W. Okmulgee Ave.

The house was built for A.W. Patterson, president of the Bank of Muskogee at Okmulgee and Second streets in 1901.

Patterson was also an investement broker and owned a considerable amount of property in the area.

He and his son-in-law, A.C. Trumbo, were promoters of Muskogee and early Arkansas River navigation and they provided financing for Muskogee’s Convention Hall, where the Trans-Mississippi Congress was held in 1907.

The home later was owned by L.R. Kershaw, well known not only for his interest in land and oil but also as owner and operator of Kershaw Angus Farms.

When Couch first saw the house, it was occupied by its third owners, Sam and Mary Lou Caldwell and it was not for sale.

When Couch brought Mary Ann to Muskogee to interview for a position, he showed her the house.

“He drove around this block several times, saying ‘now, look at the back of it, look at the stained glass window in the back,’” she recalls. “He wanted me to look at it from every side.

“He just thought it was such a wonderful work, like a piece of art that you like when you see it,” she said. “He was just awestruck by it.”

The Couches learned the house might go on the market soon and they rented an apartment.

“We moved in here in 1979 and have constantly been working on it all the time,” she said.

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