Since 2018, Buffalo Tracks B&B on the northeast corner of South Division Street and East Lee Avenue in Sapulpa, owned by Cheryl and Dennis Jackson, has hosted guests from around the world. People are especially attracted to it due to its location on historic Route 66.
The renovation of this living piece of history was a passion project for the Jacksons, not their primary occupation. Dennis is the sole proprietor and electrical contractor of Route 66 Electric, and Cheryl is the Professional Development Advisor for the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (for laymen, that means she manages continuing education for the professional society members).
The Jacksons have an affinity for historic old houses, and this house had been on their individual radars since before they met. Dennis grew up in Sapulpa and Cheryl in Sand Springs, so they had both driven by and wondered about it for years. In 2003, when the owner of 34 years was moving to a nursing home, they happened to learn it was for sale so they took a chance and bought it, and then the work began.
Ms. Jackson says they didn’t tell her parents they had bought the house for quite a while because it was in poor condition. (“And that’s being generous!” she said. laughing.) They would not have approved. She says, “We were broke and had small children, but we loved old homes” and felt that “this one was worth saving.”
They did all of the renovations themselves and raised their kids there, so they feel strongly that the “house is a part of [them].” Jackson says that her “children were 4, 5, and 11-years old when [they] bought it and began the overhaul. [The kids] lived in various states of construction “the whole time” they lived there. They didn’t fully finish fixing it up until they moved out in 2017. Now, when something needs to be fixed, husband Dennis, and sons, Gabe and Kaden “are always on call,” while Ms. Jackson manages the cleaning, resetting, and scheduling between guests.
Ms. Jackson has studied the house’s abstract extensively and is both captivated and appalled by the story it tells. She says, “The first page of the abstract is the 1883 Treaty between the Creek Nation and the US Government.”
The house was built sometime between 1904 and 1908. The exact date of the build was not found in the abstract, but woodwork found during the renovation was marked “Sapulpa, IT” (Indian Territory) and “Sapulpa, OK.” They determined the kitchen and bathrooms were added in 1916 or later based on the dates of the fixtures.
The property changed hands a couple of times and was eventually transferred to Earnest B. and Olga Huges. Interestingly, Mr. and Mrs. Huges were the Dean of Men and Dean of Women, respectively, at the Euchee Mission School. What’s compelling is that the Huges made several mortgages to orphaned Creek children through their guardians between 1915 and 1925. This was standard practice in most of Indian Territory/Oklahoma at the time. Sadly, “Sapulpa’s story of Native relations is no different [than] the rest of the state,” laments Jackson.
Mrs. Huges sold the home to Wright Bomford in 1933. Bomford never lived in the home, but split it into an “up/down duplex.” According to Jackson, the directories and numerous personal accounts show there was quite a stream of residents in the home between 1933 and 1964.
She further recounts, “One sweet little lady who once owned a beauty shop where Patriot Cafe now stands (just north of the property) referred to the house as ‘quite a hopping place in the ‘30s.’” Jackson explains that “there were 5 bedrooms upstairs and a stairway out the back–so you be the judge [of what went on inside]!”
After changing hands again, Robert Nation bought the house in 1969. The Jacksons purchased it from him in May of 2003. They lived and raised their children there, and in 2017, when they moved west of town, they hosted their first guests with the home as a Bed & Breakfast. They officially opened for business a few months later, in February of 2018.
Referencing the home’s amenities, Jackson states, “Our goal is to help you feel at home.” It has a kitchen equipped with anything one would need to prepare meals, two bedrooms—one king and one queen—that can be separated with pocket doors, a parlor with cable TV and WiFi, a bathroom outfitted with towels and toiletries, and a large front porch ideal for sipping a cold drink and visiting.
When asked what her favorite part of owning a B&B is, Jackson says that it’s “sharing the old house with the world and meeting Route 66 travelers.” Guests say they love the “house’s character,” the “nice small-town feel,” and the notes that Cheryl tucks away around the house. Staying in such an old, historical building is something the guests relish.
Fortunately for future guests, the Jacksons do not intend to quit the B&B business anytime soon, despite having to pause because of the current pandemic. Restoring the home was a “labor of love” and “the house is a part of them now,” concludes Jackson. And so the house will live to see more adventures—if only the walls could talk!
To rent Buffalo Tracks, please find them on Airbnb or on Facebook to make a reservation. They will reopen sometime this June.