Mid-Continent Tower

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Mid-Continent Tower
Mid-Continent Tower.jpg
Mid-Continent Tower (right) in 2005
General information
Type Office
Location 401 South Boston Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma
Coordinates 36°09′09″N 95°59′20″W / 36.152603°N 95.989006°W / 36.152603; -95.989006Coordinates: 36°09′09″N 95°59′20″W / 36.152603°N 95.989006°W / 36.152603; -95.989006
Completed 1984
Height 513 ft (156 m)
Technical details
Floor count 36
Cosden Building
Built 1918
Architectural style Sullivanesque, Neo-Gothic[2]
NRHP Reference # 79002029[1]
Added to NRHP February 1, 1979

The Mid-Continent Tower is a 36-story skyscraper located at 401 South Boston Avenue in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. At 156 meters (513 ft) in height, it is the fourth-tallest building in Tulsa and in Oklahoma. Faced with bright white terra cotta and crowned with a distinctive copper roof, it is one of the city's most recognizable buildings. The design is unique because the first 16 story structure was built in 1918. The top 20 stories comprise a separate structure, cantilevered over the first 66 years later. The architects of the addition matched the design of the original structure so carefully that the result is considered a single structure. It is included in the Oil Capital Historic District


Cosden Building[edit]

The Mid-Continent Tower started out as the 16-story Cosden Building, built for oil baron Joshua Cosden in 1918. The Cosden Building was built on the site of the first Tulsa schoolhouse, which was established as a mission in 1885 on Creek Indian land.[2] The Cosden Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1]

Conversion to Mid-Continent Tower[edit]

The building was restored in 1980, and in 1984 a new 20-story tower was cantilevered over it, bringing the total number of floors to 36. The tower appears to rest on the Cosden Building, but it is actually supported by an addition built onto the east side of the older structure. The entire project was designed to resemble the style of the Cosden Building as closely as possible, giving the impression of a unified whole even though the two sections of the building were constructed 66 years apart. It remains listed on the National Register of Historic Places under the same number that was issued before the conversion.

The building was the home of energy company Reading & Bates until it moved to Houston in 1989. The company's departure led the building into foreclosure, receivership, and an extended legal dispute that was resolved only in 2011, when the building was sold to Tulsa real estate investors John and Chris Bumgarner.[3][4]

Although it is sometimes mentioned in connection with Tulsa's extensive inventory of Art Deco buildings, the Mid-Continent Tower is actually built in a modern version of the Gothic style that was popular before the advent of Art Deco.[5]

Mid-Continent Tower
The Mid-Continent Tower in 2006 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Cosden Building". Tulsa Preservation Commission. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Kirby Lee Davis, "Mid-Continent Tower, a highlight of Tulsa's nighttime skyline", The Journal Record, January 14, 2008.
  4. ^ Robert Evatt, "Mid-Continent Tower's sale ends litigation in Tulsa", Tulsa World, October 6, 2011.
  5. ^ "A Tulsa icon is up for sale: The Mid-Continent Tower is two buildings in one", KRMG (AM), June 13, 2011.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Petroleum Building
Tallest Building in Tulsa
Succeeded by
Mayo Hotel