• Out of all the audacious personalities from Tulsa’s oil boom era, there was no ego quite so bold as refining and transportation magnate, Josh Cosden’s. It was only fitting, then, that Tulsa’s most flamboyant oil man would build for himself a corporate castle grand enough to match his personality. A self-made man and professional risk-taker, Cosden funded his building with profits gleaned by out-maneuvering Pittsburgh steel magnate Charles M. Schwab in the $12 million Hill Oil deal, the “single greatest oil property in the world.” True to his flamboyant nature, Cosden punctuated the transaction by casually writing a personal check for $7 million in the lobby of Hotel Tulsa in public view of his rivals. To put his signature on Tulsa’s skyline, Josh Cosden, a native of Baltimore, looked to the East Coast for influences. Business frequently took Cosden to New York City, where he became enamored with the Neo-Gothic architecture of lower Manhattan’s newest star attraction, the Woolworth Building. Designed by Cass Gilbert, the “Cathedral of Commerce” was the world’s tallest building at the time and was frequently regaled as “one of the most beautiful in the world.” Cosden hired Kansas City architect Henry F. Hoit and his firm, Hoit, Price & Barnes, to build a sixteen-story, reinforced concrete reflection of Gilbert’s sixty-floor terra-cotta masterwork. Inside and out, Hoit’s design for the Cosden Building was replete with influences from the Woolworth Building. The base, cap, and window treatments flaunted similar Gothic touches, using motifs, ornaments, and segmented arches rendered in the same
  • graceful terra-cotta cladding. The Cosden Building was completed on the day World War I ended—Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. But almost as soon as the tower opened, a new war began brewing inside the Cosden Petroleum Companies. In a 1925 transaction described as “a forceful restructuring,” Cosden was removed by his board of directors. The action resulted in the Cosden Building becoming official headquarters of Mid-Continent Petroleum, and, eventually, home of the national DX Petroleum brand. In 1977, Tulsa-based offshore petroleum giant, Reading & Bates, acquired the Mid-Continent Building for use as its international headquarters. By 1980, oil was booming as was Reading & Bates’ offshore oil platforms, engineers and architects devised a structural frame that rose 16 stories alongside the original Cosden building, cantilevered 40 feet over the Cosden, and then rose an additional 20 floors. The feat resulted in a 527-foot matching addition to the Cosden Building that maintained a mere six-inches of separation between the two structures. Midway through the project, the price of oil collapsed. Despite the resulting revenue crisis, Charles Thornton was unbending in his determination that they would finish what they started. He refused to compromise his vision of a new building of such quality that it would rival the original Cosden Building. Thornton’s dream was ultimately realized with the opening of the Mid-Continent Tower in 1984.




  • Celebrating 100 Years logo and 4th & Boston bookCelebrating 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