- Associated Press - Monday, April 11, 2016

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) - Displayed in downtown Miami, a nine-room Victorian-style dollhouse sits behind a large glass window at the Route 66 Main Street Antiques Store. The light blue house draws the attention of travelers and locals because of its size and intricate detail.

The Miami News-Record (https://bit.ly/1MRt6gt ) reports that the structure is special because the proceeds of its sale are going to a good cause - to benefit the Community Crisis Center (CCC) in Miami. The center provides support to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking at no cost.

The dollhouse is 4 feet by 4 feet and has working lights throughout the dwelling. It contains four porches, a tower and working windows and doors. The house came with original documents of the former owner, R. Moree Sundstrom, of Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Unfortunately, the listed number had been disconnected, but Sundstrom mentioned that it is completely furnished with replicas of Victorian furniture remembered from her great-grandmother’s home.

The dollhouse features a miniature phonograph, real hardwood floors and a dining room table with a leaf. The documents state that the miniatures, themselves, are worth more than $2,000 and the house empty is worth more than $5,000. There are also extra boxes of miniatures that come with the house that are not on display.



After attending an auction near Pryor and Wagoner, Jacki Flores came across the vintage dollhouse, which had been sold for only $3.

“My friend Charles Garrett purchased the dollhouse from the woman at the auction for $20,” Flores said. “He didn’t have the money with him, so I gave her the money and it became a joint venture after that.”

Flores said that the dollhouse was loaded up and refurbished.

“We worked on updating it, like the wiring and repainted it,” Flores said. “The first night I brought it home, I stayed up until 2:30 a.m. just rearranging furniture.”

After the mansion took up a majority of Flores’ dining room table for six months, she decided she wanted to donate the collectible to help out an agency in need. One of the first people who came to mind to contact was her good friend, Jean Eslick.

“Charlie had originally contacted the Children’s Hospital in Tulsa hoping they could use it in an auction they have, but then they didn’t need it,” Flores said. “It has just stayed up here and I ran into Jean. I knew she could give it a good home.”

After being contacted about the dollhouse, Eslick contemplated local agencies who could benefit from such a unique donation.

“I think she chose me to find the dollhouse a home because I’m always involved in some sort of project,” Eslick said. “She knew that I would take it and make it another project.”

Flores said that the only condition in giving Eslick the dollhouse was that she must give it to a charitable cause. About a week later, bits and pieces started falling into place after Eslick received a letter in the mail from the Community Crisis Center stating that they were no longer having their annual banquet.

“I received a letter that they weren’t going to have the banquets any longer and they were going to try other areas of raising money, and I thought bingo!” Eslick said. “It was a sign because I was trying to come up with a place to give the dollhouse to.

“I went to the Crisis Center and asked if they would be interested in the dollhouse. I told them we can set it up possibly on Main Street where the center used to be located and at the time, I had not even talked to the antique store, yet. The center was so excited about it and they had only seen photos of it.”

Keila Dewey, CCC business manager, said that the center decided to cancel the banquets and try something new.

“We’ve had the banquets since 2001, and it began as the ‘Festival of Trees’ and then we went to wreaths and we had that for a very long time,” Dewey said. “We decided to have different fundraisers this year.”

Dewey said that the CCC greatly appreciated the donation because they are always looking for donations. The dollhouse will be raffled off and the proceeds will benefit the center.

“Jean comes up with these great ideas, but we didn’t have time to do it. Fortunately, she made it all happen,” Dewey said. “We made a flyer and that’s all we had to do. She arranged for the donor and for it to be at the antique store. She was a wonderful helper.”

Ironically, the antique store where the dollhouse is displayed, is the previous home of the Community Crisis Center. After hearing about Eslick’s idea, Route 66 Main Street Antique Store manager Savanna Combs eagerly jumped on board.

The store was more than happy to help out the CCC and even volunteered to sell tickets to raffle off the house.

“I was floored when Jean came to me with the dollhouse,” Combs said. “I could not believe that someone would be willing to donate such a valuable and unique item to a great cause. We’re definitely very appreciative that she chose us to display it because we have such great windows and it looks great out front.

“We were actually the business that came right after the Community Crisis Center. The building actually sat vacant for a few years and we bought it. From time to time, we actually receive calls from people who think we are still the CCC. It’s a really neat opportunity and it’s even better because we get to have it in the old home of the Crisis Center. What’s a better cause than to give back to them? I love it.”

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Information from: The Miami News-Record, https://www.miaminewsrecord.com

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