CARLTON LANDING — Grant Humphreys grew up coming to Lake Eufaula for weekend getaways. He also loved going to Florida resorts like Seaside and Rosemary Beach. So why not combine the community planning and design of the Florida resorts with an area closer to his hometown of Oklahoma City? ¶ “It was a 16-hour drive to Seaside and I was wondering if we could do same thing two hours from our home,” said Humphreys. ¶ That was the idea that gave birth to Carlton Landing, population 125 and Oklahoma’s newest town (incorporated in 2013). ¶“I just felt like there was so much that we loved about Seaside and Rosemary Beach that we could bring to Oklahoma,” said Humphreys, developer and full-time resident of Carlton Landing. “We didn’t want to do a carbon copy of what they had in Florida. They have a beach and ocean. We have a beautiful lake. ¶ “What we wanted to do was incorporate their ideas about community design and architecture but do it with Oklahoma design, spirit and culture.”
The result is what would appear to be a small town of farmhouse-style homes huddled around small parks and open spaces.
There are two small restaurants, a general store and a weekly visit from a food truck on Mondays.
There are 100 homes already built and 60 homes are currently under construction.
And on Aug. 8 the Carlton Academy, the first rural public charter school in the state, will open with 53 students in grades pre-K through 12. Last year, the school had 20 students.
Carlton Landing was recently featured in the July issue of Southern Living magazine.
“I’m 41 and the total build out of our plans is another 30 or 40 years,” said Humphreys, son of former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys. “We have plans for so much more. Besides the houses going up right now and plans for a hotel and residence club, there is a town center to be built. This is just the start.”
Right now the town center is a welcome center, general store and the school. There are small neighborhood gardens and a full farm that supplies a weekly farmers market in the town.
Eventually, the town will have a second marina, second pool and other lake amenities. There are plans for a waterfront town center that will have shops, restaurants and other amenities.
The master plan for Carlton Landing calls for an eventual 2,500 houses. They believe annual home construction will hit 80 houses per year in the near future.
“This is the area of the lake I grew up loving,” said Humphreys. “If you just see the lake up at the interstate then you aren’t seeing our part of the lake. Down here (south and east) it is so different. It has fabulous views.
“This is where I wanted this to happen.”
It is happening on about 1,700 acres. The first homes, about 12, were built in 2011. Over the last five years, almost 100 homes have been added and 60 more are under construction.
It is about 90 miles south of Tulsa, the closest major city to Carlton Landing. It is about eight miles south and east of Eufaula off of Oklahoma Highway 9A,
Location was a factor in the development of the town.
It is within 3.5 hours of 15 million people (including Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas).
And, sticking to a style of this region was important. Much of Oklahoma has varied architecture, because of the sudden birth of many state towns through the land runs. Wood farmhouses dominated the housing explosion after the land runs.
There are various styles in Carlton Landing but farmhouse-style homes with porches are the mainstay.
“When you look at places like Charleston or Cape Cod or Santa Fe, they are more than just places,” said Humphreys. “Those places also are architectural styles adapted to their climate and area.
“We have that in Oklahoma with the farmhouse style and we’ve tried to incorporate that into our idea of a community where people sit on their porches and talk and visit with neighbors.”
It was an idea that dates back to pre-air conditioning.
“After World War II, and with air conditioning, people retreated into their houses,” said Humphreys. “Carlton Landing is designed with a sense of community. It is designed for neighbors to see each other and to talk with each other.”
The master plan for Carlton Landing was created by Andres Duany of Duany Plater-Zyberky. Duany was the architect and planner for both Seaside and Rosemary Beach.
Humphrey wanted to create the same walking-friendly, eco-friendly plan in what some term “new urbanist” design.
There’s little question that Carlton Landing, through the design of parks, walkways and porches, brings neighbors into touch with one another on a daily basis.
“There is a real sense of community here because of the design,” said Humphreys. “We have been able to create something unique in Oklahoma. It is that sense of community that is the one thing that won’t change as we grow.”