A mansion showplace of former days on the North Plains has been made into a model and attracts many viewers according to the Women's Editor of the Borger News-Herald. The model is of special interest to the Tyler descendants for it was built for and housed the family of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Cushing Tyler, parents of Mrs. L.E. (Mary Tyler) Latham of Guymon and the late O.S. Tyler. Also, his sons Stanley and Oliver Tyler who were born in the old family mansion which is now only a' heap of rubble in the middle of the prairie two miles north of Morse, Tex., on Highway 136.
The builder of the model, Wiley G. Price of Borger, is a student of history. His hobby is the building of miniatures of historic homes in the area. His model of the ranch house in McBride Canyon provoked much interest when it was displayed at the 1972 Magic Plains Fine Arts Festival.
Only recently did Price complete his most ambitious project: a model of the old Tyler mansion that was a two-story limestone house with basement and attic, 43 windows, shake-shingle roof and with many other details made in miniature. It is not only fascinating as a piece of craftsmanship but is also a visual representation of the era and the settling of the North Plains. It is a memento of the edifice as materials used were salvaged from the home's remains.
The craftsman said, "I feel as if I knew Stanley Cushing Tyler. As I fashioned the tiny block replicas of the home that was built in the last decade of the 19th century I thought about what I had read about the life and times of the Massachusetts born Tyler (1857-1927) the pioneer rancher, banker and Hansford County Judge."
Before Price began building his model of the Tyler home he studied old photographs, and a painting by Gwenfred Lackey of Spearman, who grew up on a ranch near the Tyler place; he conferred with the Hart family who purchased the Tyler ranch property in 1948 and read a lot of history and talked to many people.
The model was constructed to a scale of ½ inch to 1-foot, has a removable roof to show the second
story rooms and the second level can be removed to show the downstairs where two tiny fireplaces are among the interior decorations of the replica of the home that was a showplace of the area and a center for social activities for many years. The home's trap door on the roof opens on the 'widow's walk' reminiscent of the architecture of the past in Massachusetts. Tyler lived in a sod house for several years before the home was constructed.
The flues of two of the four chimneys can actually draw smoke but only Wiley Price is allowed to prove it, for he spent 11 months carving the tiny shingles, cutting and cementing hundreds of stone blocks, building porches and dormers, erecting the fireplaces and cutting glass for six and eight-pane windows, for the tiny cellar window and for the doors.
Presently, Price displays the model on a revolving stand, in his office or home, so that all sides of the house may be seen. Then, lest any viewer assume the model is just an imaginary house he places by it a display board on an easel framed with square nails used in the woodwork of the Mansion. On the board he has old photographs of the original house with information about its history.
The home was on the VZ Bar Ranch where Tyler raised cattle and wheat. Tyler, a graduate of Harvard University had studied two years in Harvard Law School, came to Texas in 1877 and settled on the Palo Duro Creek in Hansford County with a sod house as his first home.
Price relates that Tyler returned to Massachusetts in 1879 and married Mary Elizabeth Ayers and brought her back to Texas. The Tylers had five children. They moved to Texas County and built another home in Guymon, 510 N. Academy, about 1907 although the ranch was maintained many more years after they moved. Mr. Tyler was a businessman in Guymon.
The ranch was occupied by many Tyler family members and later leased. It was sold to the H.B. Hart family in 1948.
Price admits his hobby has become an obsession so after one more model he plans to retire from the engrossing work.
More Model Pictures
Page last updated July 20, 2002.