A HERITAGE REDISCOVERED
Beginning in September of 1957, on a high ridge overlooking the beautiful Poteau River valley and the mountains of Eastern Oklahoma, Senator and Mrs. Robert S. Kerr started building their home; a house “that grew and grew and grew” in harmony with their growing family.
Completed in 1961, the home is an architectural masterpiece with much of the home’s construction performed by craftsmen from the area and materials indigenous to the region were used wherever possible – some of the building elements were harvested directly from the property! It was conceived as a gathering place for family and friends – a theme of community as viable today as it was more than six decades ago. The property has enjoyed a rich and distinguished heritage over the last half-century. The home’s historic legacy includes visits by several U.S. presidents and vice presidents, as well as hosting many civic, political, academic and business leaders that came to congregate and share in the allure of the surrounding environment – to relax as well as to discuss important matters concerning their respective spheres-of-influence.
THE LEGACY CONTINUES
After the deaths of both Senator and Mrs. Kerr (1963 and 1965 respectively), their four children retained and maintained the property for many years and, while it was a wonderful place to visit, the realization that there could be a more appropriate use of the home and its grounds ultimately compelled them, through The Kerr Foundation, Inc., to gift the property to the State of Oklahoma on the 27th of February 1978 with the following provisions:
“It is the intent of the Foundation that said property will be used by the State of Oklahoma for educational purposes, conferences, symposiums, retreats, seminars, meetings, museums, and other educational and cultural activities.
The State of Oklahoma, by acceptance of this gift, agrees to maintain all buildings and other structures located upon the real property herein described in good and proper condition, and the State of Oklahoma further agree to maintain the grounds in a neat, clean and proper condition."
Several of Senator and Mrs. Kerr’s grandchildren continued to visit the Robert S. Kerr Conference Center at different times over the ensuing years and, over the last several years a few witnessed firsthand the continuing deterioration of the home and its grounds – the decline of which becoming much more acute in 2013-14 and progressed unabated as the below pictures illustrate. Because of their deep and abiding love for their grandparents and for the beautiful home that they had built, they determined to be proactive and founded the Dream No Little Dream Foundation, Inc. (hereinafter the “Foundation”) in November of 2016. Therefore, the Foundation has taken ownership of the property and will oversee the restoration of the home to its original form while elevating the overall operational character of the property to function as a center of learning and service to the broader community.
“Do not think that what is hard for you to master is humanly impossible; and if it is humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach.”
The Kerr Legacy & Historical Center will honor the former home of Senator and Mrs. Kerr as a venue that serves to bring people together in a way that affords the opportunity to share in the theme of their lives – faith, family, business and public service. All activities are focused on serving the people of Oklahoma; the region; and our nation.
“The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it.
Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests.”