History

Summit's 50th Anniversary Video History

The private dining landscape in mid-1960's Tulsa, boasted two oil centric establishments: The Petroleum Club and The Tulsa Club. Having shared in the design and development of the Petroleum Club building in 1961, founding father of The Summit, Jack W. Kelley decided to go higher. This time, it would be Tulsa's first modern skyscraper, with plans to include another elite dining club, one that could compete with any European establishment.

With that concept, Kelley and partner Tom Marshall, began designing the 32 story Fourth National Bank building and future home of The Summit. They along with financial partners,William H. Morris and A. R. (Bill) Tandy, broke ground in 1965 and completed Tulsa's tallest in 1967. Together the four businessmen held complete ownership of the building. Many hours of detailed planning went into the building's design to ensure panoramic views from every room. With the Arkansas River to the west and the Osage Hills to the north, the private club occupied the 30th and 31st floors.The 29th floor was reserved for future expansion. The south end of the penthouse suite housed Kelley's executive of executives and upon his retirement became what is now, the main dining room and bar. The building's towering presence over downtown Tulsa led to the natural selection of its name, “The Summit”. Kelley, along with ten local entrepreneurs formed the first Summit Board of Governors, all who were instrumental in developing the successful club we enjoy today.

The 30th floor featured a high-ceiling dining room and ballroom with a majestic staircase to the “Top of the Summit”, as well as three private dining room; the 31st floor boasted a cocktail lounge, a men's grill, card room and bar in addition to a service kitchen. A renowned interior design firm searched the globe for remarkable tapestries, murals and Baccarat chandeliers. England yielded the elaborate oak staircase that traverses from the 30th to the 31st floors.

Emile Magg, Swiss, became the Summit's first chef because of his reputation for creating elegant, European cuisine. Chef Magg demanded a fully-trained staff of professional servers. Lambert Fielder, a Summit founder and the president of the Fourth National Bank, assured the private organization of the use of the bank's community room, as well as their 12,000-square foot, landscaped terrace on the ninth floor, where lavish weddings and spring parties were anticipated. With an emphasis on superior cuisine, attentive and meticulous service and the ambience of stylish comfort, the Summit provided Tulsa's most distinctive dining experience.

The initial membership goal for the plush club was set at 750. In the days leading up to the Monday Grand Opening of the spectacular Summit, workers hastily completed laying carpet, bolting table tops together, and assembling couches, chairs and cocktail tables. The frenzied work continued through half of Sunday night, until the last fleck of dust was gone and the last flower was strategically placed.

On October 16th, 1967, first Board President Stanley D. Breitweiser presided over the grand opening. He once stated, “The Summit will be as fine as possible. We are going to proceed to make certain that is the case.” Greeted by the members of the board of directors and their wives, new members streamed into the facility, getting their first glimpse of the twinkling, city lights far below and the breathtaking, panoramic view.