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- American politician (1854-1931)
Jul. 7—Muskogee pioneer Alice Robertson likely would have hosted afternoon teas at her Elgin Street home, Marty Anderson said.
"She was very much a woman of hospitality," Anderson said.
An afternoon tea to support the Robertson home's rehabilitation will be held 2 p.m. Saturday at Grace Episcopal Church. There is no charge for the event, sponsored by Three Forks Questers. Donations are encouraged.
The tea will feature iced tea, plus a variety of light refreshments such as tea cakes and cookies. There also will be a presentation about Alice Robertson's remarkable life, historian Jonita Mullins said.
Mullins said the restored house could "be a place where we can tell her story, as well as that of her parents and grandparents because they were part of Oklahoma's history, as well."
"I don't think many people are aware of how accomplished she was," Mullins said about Robertson. "She broke so many barriers for women."
According to the Oklahoma History Center, Robertson helped establish Nuyaka Mission in 1882. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed her as Muskogee's postmaster, making her America's first female postmaster of a Class A post office.
Anderson said Robertson ran a cafe, Sawokla, in downtown Muskogee during World War I.
Robertson was Oklahoma's first Congresswoman. She served one term in Congress, from 1921 to 1923.
"She did manage in that one term to secure the funding for the VA hospital," Mullins said. "That was her big accomplishment."
Robertson lived in the Elgin Street house from 1925 until her death in 1931, Mullins said.
Proceeds from the tea could help restore the wood porch that used to surround the house, Mullins said.
Foundation stones that once supported the porch could still be seen in the ground, and one corner of the house had a bay window, she said.
"And there was a turret with a dome on it," she said. "We do have the Sanborn Insurance map that tells us it was there from the time it was built in 1905."
If, at least, the porch could be restored, historic preservationists could have outdoor exhibits, events or fundraisers, Mullins said.
"If we get to that point, people will at least see that we're making progress," she said.
People cannot get into the house, Mullins said.
"The floor is just pretty rough," she said "There are holes, water damage, termite damage. "We had to take out all the stud work."
Home restoration has been very slow, Mullins said.
"It ground to a halt last year and we didn't get to do any kind of fundraiser," she said. "We weren't able to do anything on the house last year except keep it closed in and safe."
Anderson recalled attending Alice Robertson Junior High, named for the educator.
"We are destroying so many historic buildings from our past," she said. "It's worth trying to restore this house."
Three Forks Questers is a group dedicated to preserving and restoring historic buildings in the area, Mullins said.
If you go
WHAT: Afternoon Tea for Alice Robertson House.
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday.
WHERE: Grace Episcopal Church, 218 N. Sixth St.
ADMISSION: Free, but donations are encouraged.