History of the Southard House Bed and Breakfast Inn
History of Southard House
The Southard House Bed and Breakfast Inn is located in Enid's Kenwood Historic District. This historic home was designed and built in 1912 by George Franklin Southard and his wife Lilla Hughes Southard.
Mr. Southard began his professional life as a clerk with Standard Oil Co., worked his way up to vice president of Solar Refining Co. and later served in France and Portugal as the General Manager of Standard Oil Co. While residing in Paris, George became personally acquainted with Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), and the two men shared many stories of the America they knew.
George and Lilla Southard settled in Oklahoma Territory in 1904. He organized and was president of Independence Gypsum Company, building the mill and helping to found the town that bears his name in Blaine County. The Southards moved to Enid in 1909, where George went on to found Dewar Coal Mining Company and Southard Oil Company.
George Southard devoted the latter years of his life to his passion for learning. He served as president and chairman of the Enid Carnegie library; charter member in 1923 of the Enid Writer’s Club, the first writer’s club in the state; president and board director of the Enid Chamber of Commerce; and founder and sponsor of the Lamb’s Club, organized for literary and social interests. Mr. Southard died from complications of pneumonia in October 2, 1930.
Lilla Hughes Southard was born on February 23, 1854. Lilla was an accomplished musician, and enjoyed playing the piano and teaching music in the parlor at Southard House. She was also a member of the Shakespeare Club, Pianists Club, and the Lamb’s club.
She loved art and literature and acquired many objects of art overseas that beautified the home. Mrs. Southard died on December 16, 1940 of ailing health.
Following Mrs. Southard's death the historic structure became home to several families and numerous children, some of whom still live and work in Enid. By the mid-1990s the house had fallen into disrepair and was left empty, deteriorating rapidly.
By 1998 the house had reached the point faced by many historic homes: it needed to be completely renovated or else demolished. At least one bidder made an offer on the home with the intent to demolish it and use the lot for other purposes.
The home was saved from this fate by previous owner, Marty Tydings, who recognized the home's historical significance and potential. Over the course of several years Marty undertook a complete restoration of the home, with loving attention to the quality and historical accuracy of every detail.
Family circumstances led Marty to move and put the home on the market in 2011. We, innkeepers James and Tammy Neal, first looked at the house that summer, repeatedly circling the block and dreaming about some day owning the beautiful three-story home for our family.
Circumstances did not bring us back to Southard House until June, 2012, shortly after we had determined to open a bed and breakfast in Enid. We immediately fell in love with the house, the Southard family, and the role the Southards and their grand home have played over the years in the development and continued growth of Enid.
After a lot of prayers, plenty of meetings with bankers, accountants, contractors and more than a few nay-sayers, we completed preparations to open Southard House Bed & Breakfast as the finest lodging experience in northwest Oklahoma.
We look forward to sharing the rich history, beauty and comfort of Southard House with you, our guests, and we hope you will come back to stay again!