Mid-Continent Tower

 

Mid-Continent Tower proudly welcomes you to one of the nation's most distinguished business locations. Located in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Mid-Continent Tower is a nationally acclaimed triumph of architectural preservation and enhancement, combining the elegance of yesterday with the technology of today. Designed for the future, and enriched by an important past, the Mid-Continent Tower offers your business the most sophisticated amenities of modern corporate life in a setting of matchless luxury and prestige.

A truly monumental achievement of modernization, the Mid-Continent Tower displays an uncompromising integrity of style with more than a half century separating the two phases of the building's construction.

The original structure was built in 1918 by Joshua Cosden, one of Tulsa's most colorful oil barons, known in his day as the "Prince of Petroleum." Rising 16 stories above Fourth Street and Boston Avenue, the ornately decorated Tudor-Gothic "Cosden Building" was Tulsa's first skyscraper.

Later known as the "Mid-Continent Building," the Tulsa landmark was painstakingly restored to its original grandeur in 1980 and re-equipped to meet the needs of a modern corporate environment.

Soon thereafter, work was begun on the dramatic addition that would more than triple the building's size. From an adjacent structural "twin," builders raised a cantilevered tower 20 stories above the Mid-Continent Building. Extending 40 feet over the older building, the tower creates the appearance of an upward continuation of the original structure.

Completed and renamed in 1984, the Mid-Continent Tower received an Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1985, and has won numerous other national awards since then. The building is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Construction of a Historic Landmark At first glance, a visitor may not notice one of the most unique aspects of the Mid-Continent Tower.  Surprisingly enough, the Mid-Continent Tower is in fact two buildings.  The 16-story Mid-Continent Building was completed in 1918.  The 36-story Mid-Continent Tower was completed in 1984...65 years later. 

Because the original structure was not strong enough to support the weight of an additional 20 floors, "cantilever" design was used to suspend the new Tower over the older building at the 16th floor level.  The two structures do not touch.  The Tower rises 20 stories above and extends 40 feet horizontally over the older 16-story building.  Deeper and wider steel trusses in the construction of the 16th and 17th floors of the Tower and a foundation of 120 feet deep carry the burden of the cantilevered floors. 

In order to sustain continuity of the original Tudor Gothic design, more than 85,000 pieces of terra cotta panels, spires, cornices and moldings were produced for the exterior façade.  At the time of the Tower's construction, the only manufacturer of terra cotta in the United States was located in California.  Terra cotta is fired, glazed clay material somewhat like a ceramic tile.  Elaborately ornamental, each hand-crafted and hand-cast piece is a work of art.

Marble panels to match the existing interior walls were carefully selected in integrating the two structures.  Three different types of marble used in the Tower came from Italy.  Calcutta Vagli Rosatta marble graces the walls and columns.  A marble called Roman Travertine covers the walls of the rest rooms.  The accents and trim are Verde Antique.  Two colors of marble from Tennessee make up the lobby's floor - Craig Rose and Rose Gray.

True to a neo-gothic approach, the artist used the design motif of those standards in the various stained glass pieces throughout the tower.  In the lobby, a panoramic view of the Tulsa skyline, from the Boston Avenue Church to the Bank of Oklahoma Tower, is recreated in stained glass.

The stained glass dome that forms a ceiling over the three-story spiral staircase, which connects the top three floors of the Tower, looks like a giant Louis B. Tiffany lamp. Another dramatic feature of the building is the two-story high "colonnade" entrance which is formed by four terra cotta arches.

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