BUILT AS “AN EVERLASTING MONUMENT … THAT WILL STAND FOR ALL TIME TO COME.”

  • Buildings erected during Tulsa’s oil-boom era where not merely investments in commercial real estate. They were deeply personal monuments to the hard-won dreams of daring self-made men who often started with nothing and fought tooth-and-nail for every ounce of success they accumulated. While many of Tulsa’s founders were hard, shrewd, and even conniving in their pursuit of wealth, others were men of towering emotions and vulnerable souls. The Kennedy Building was the product of not just one, but two such tender-hearted titans. The Kennedy Building was constructed in two sections—the 4th Street-facing Gallais Building, constructed in 1915-16 and the Boston Avenue-facing Kennedy Building completed in 1919.
  • The building stands on the northeast corner of 4th & Boston where one of Tulsa’s early pioneers and most colorful and influential characters, Dr. Sam Kennedy, first acquired a homestead in what was, at the time, Indian Territory. On that corner of 4th & Boston, Kennedy found the three things he longed for most: adventure, success, and a place to call home. Known as a loving family man, he was very proud of the homestead where his children were born and his first wife died. But for as much as he valued the land, misadventures in his pursuit of a fortune in oil ultimately forced him to sell the southern portion that fronted 4th Street.

  • In 1914, the lot Kennedy had sold was purchased by a real estate developer named Sosthenes Gallais. The French-born Gallais came to America as a penniless orphan but became a successful oyster and ice cream wholesaler in St. Louis. Gallais brought his wife and two teenage daughters to Tulsa in pursuit of oil but found he could make more money in real estate. In the midst of the personal triumph of topping off the beautiful new 10-story building bearing his name, Gallais’youngest daughter, Esther, suddenly died of a mysterious illness. While the Gallais Building was his crowning achievement, he loved his family more. Broken hearted, Gallais gave up on both life and business. As the drama of loss was playing out in Gallais’ life, Dr. Kennedy’s grand dream of becoming an oilman was exploding. Less than a year after Esther Gallais’ death, Dr. Kennedy finally stuck oil. Years of work and dreams paid off literally overnight. The first major investment Kennedy made after striking oil was reacquiring his 4th & Boston property where Gallais had built his building. In what was the largest
  • Oklahoma real estate deal to date, Kennedy bought the building from Gallais who, in his loss and depression, turned every penny of the money over to the new United States Liberty Bond program to show his gratitude to our nation for their support of Gallais’French homeland during World War I. Gallais never recovered from the loss of Esther. One year later, just as Dr. Kennedy was opening his expansion of the Kennedy building, Gallais died of heart failure. After acquiring the Gallais building, Kennedy tripled its size on the land where his original home once stood. Upon his death in 1941, the building passed to Kennedy’s children. True to their father’s will, the Kennedy family continued operations and upkeep until 1967 when they sold it to Williams Brothers Co. in what the Tulsa Tribune termed, “a sentimental transaction.” In 1981, Williams was faced with the difficult decision to tear down the building and replace it with modern Class A office space. Because of the historical value the Kennedy represented to Tulsa’s oil industry, Williams chose to save the building with an extensive Class A modernization that created the dramatic central atrium for which the building is best known today.

A CENTURY OF SERVICE

CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS OPERATION.

  • Celebrating 100 Years logo and 4th & Boston book 

    Celebrating 100 Years logo and 4th & Boston book

     

     

  • 1917-2017

    The Bumgarner family is honoring the century mark for the opening of the 320 South Boston Building (1917) and her stalwart sisters, the Kennedy Building (1916) and the Mid-Continent Tower (1918), all of which stand at the intersection of 4th & Boston. Very few of Tulsa’s oil capitol buildings survived the Urban Renewal era of 1965-1975. And unlike many of those that did survive, these three buildings never fell into disuse or abandonment.

    To honor that perseverance, the Bumgarners commissioned the award-winning book, 4th & Boston: Heart of the Magic Empire to tell the story of these three remarkable buildings, the men who built them, and the city that surrounds them. The project was originally intended to be produced strictly as a gift to tenants in these buildings. As the story evolved, however, it became apparent that it would be a shame to restrict distribution to such a small audience. Thus, the decision was made to expand production enough to make a limited number available to the general public.


    4th & Boston: Heart of the Magic Empire 

    Available for purchase in Suite 1130 of the 320 South Boston Building, Suite 500 of the Mid-Continent Tower, on Amazon.com, and many fine local booksellers.

    Amazon.com - 4th-Boston-Heart-Magic-Empire

    For more information, call (918) 592-1774 or email katec@bostonavenue.com