mantle

Merlyn Johnson, Mickey Mantle and Merlyn’s younger sister, Pat Johnson LaFalier, are seen sitting on a sofa in the Johnson home. LaFalier, now 75, lives at Miami, Okla.

The Commerce Sports Authority voted Thursday night to try to save the house in which Mickey Mantle and Merlyn Johnson were wed 60 years ago in Picher.

The small frame house is among those set for demolition by the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, which is overseeing the federal buyout and relocation of families from the former mining towns of Picher, Cardin and Hockerville.

Brian Waybright, with the authority, said, “We voted to try to save that house and have it moved to Commerce. We are sending a letter to the trust asking that they grant us permission to take it.

“We are excited about the prospect. We have determined it will cost $3,500 to move it.’’

Waybright said the authority would like to move the house to a more secure site in Commerce. Vandals have set fire to several abandoned structures in Picher in recent months.

“Right now, we are most worried about moving it more than anything else,” he said. “If we can get it moved to a more secure place, we would eventually restore it. We think it has a future as a tourist attraction.’’

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