The Mountain Creek Lodge, is less of a “blink and you’ll miss it” of place, and more of a “suddenly you’re there.” In the sleepy town of Kellyville, just southwest of Sapulpa, there’s little indication that an award-winning event venue would be nearby, but just past Kellyville proper on Route 66 is a sign that points the way down Slick Road to the Lodge. About ten minutes later, you turn a big bend and you’re suddenly there. And though it may not look like it, you’re entering what was at one time it’s own little community, called Mountain Creek, that had a grocery store and according to local legend, even a school.
Kellyville itself is a small town of fewer than 1,200 people at the last census so it seems so unlikely that there would be an even smaller community outside of it, but according to Cindy Russell, it’s the gospel truth.
“My grandma and grandpa were married in 1930 and bought the store, the original one,” Russell said. “Then they built the mountain Creek store, the new one that was just on the west side of the white farmhouse.”
The original store was across the street, where another, more modern, but now closed convenience store sits. When in operation years ago, the gas station was run by locals Kenny and Georgia Pack and known simply as “Pack’s Corner”. It closed sometime in the early 2000s.
Little else is known about the Mountain Creek Community, and whether it had more than a store and school. “I’m not sure, other than several families in the area,” Russell said. “if anybody has family and they know more than this story. I’d love to compile some different stories for the area.”
The last known version of the Mountain Creek grocery store, next to the farmhouse, burned down in 1952, and that was the last anyone heard about Mountain Creek for over sixty years.
About ten years prior to the loss of the store, Cindy Russell’s grandparents, Fred and Dorothy Cornelius, had begun to enter into cattle ranching industry. And for that they needed the barn. It was a built using rock from the land, and as Russell tells it, didn’t have a lot of frills to it.
“It was built just pretty basic,” she says. “We had the manger inside that went the full length of the barn. And then we also had a room for the tack and a room for the cube feed, and any of the supplies or anything we needed with the cattle ranch, we kept it in the barn. We had feral cats, you know, to kind of help keep the mice out. We would bring cattle into the barn if they were sick or if they were premature and we need to feed them. It was very much a working barn.”
Over time, as their cattle industry grew, and they got into other endeavors—including oil—other buildings were built, and the barn began to get used less and less often until it began to stagnate.
And then, in 2011, Cindy Russell’s parents, Randall and Donna Cornelius, told Dorothy that they’d work on restoring the barn. It turned out to be a bigger endeavor than they expected.
“I think in their mind, they just had to reset the walls, put a new roof on and go,” Russell says. “But whenever we got down here and we started working on it, there was a lot of potential. And we thought if we were already in the process of restoring it, ‘What do we want the second phase of the barns life to be?'”
Originally, that second phase was going to be offices to run the family businesses. “We were going to actually use it as an office and and have mom and dad upstairs,” Russell says. “But we were starting to get requests for graduation parties and anniversary parties, and then we had a couple of weddings out here. And we just kind of clued in and thought, Well, I guess we really don’t have any other options out here, you know, for those kinds of big life events.”
Once they embraced the space as a wedding and event venue, others really began to take notice. In 2017, the Mountain Creek Lodge was selected as the “Couple’s Choice” award for a wedding venue in Oklahoma. In 2019, High Plains Journal did a feature story on the lodge as well, for those looking to restore their own barns into wedding venues.
Russell says that the lodge’s flexibility and ease-of-use is what makes it so attractive to those looking for a place to celebrate their big life events. “I think we’re pretty laid back,” she says. “If you have an aunt that’s a caterer, or a friend that’s a photographer, we allow them to come in. Mom and dad have already done the lodge so nice that if you’re looking for that barn look, with a touch of elegance, you don’t have to do a lot to it. It’s already all here.”
The facility includes a spacious patio with outdoor lighting and a fire pit a few away. There’s a wedding arch outside as well, that compliments that “country but elegant look”. A large water fountain flows outside as well, and of course, the rock is from the land.
They recently began renting out the upstairs rooms (originally the hayloft) for those who want a nice place to spend the night, even if they’re not getting married or having an event downstairs. And the prices are great for what you’d expect to pay for such nice amenities. Pricing can be found on the website at mountaincreeklodgeok.com and as of this writing, they’re running a special on 25% off the full-day wedding and reception package. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, or give them a call at 918-247-6600.
The slogan for the Mountain Creek Lodge is “Where our history can be yours.” Russell says that’s the perfect way to communicate how they treat their guests. “When we were starting, we just wanted something that would really let people know that whenever they have their events here, they’re not clients; they’re friends. They’re family. We really try to go above and beyond for everybody,” Russell says. “It’s our history here on the ranch, and we have a strong connection to it, and we’re extending that out for the people to come and have their life events here. It was our way of letting you know that we’re doing this with you, and we want to help you as much as possible.”