Welcome back. With a couple of gigs coming up in Tulsa I thought I would bring you the story of a man and a Tulsa landmark which I hope you will find interesting.
At the time of its completion in 1918 this Tudor Gothic style 16 story building was the tallest in Tulsa. Known as the Cosden Building, it was constructed by the fabulously wealthy Joshua Seney Cosden who at the time was also known as the “Prince of Petroleum”. According to my research Cosden also owned one of the biggest refineries in the world in Bigheart, Oklahoma.
When the new building opened the Cosden Pipe Company, the Cosden Oil and Gas Company and Cosden Pipeline Company were consolidated and incorporated as the Cosden Company. Estimated to be worth fifty million, Cosden, who was considered to be quite a character, made more news with his building because it was the tallest building in the world made of concrete.
In addition to his Tulsa residence, Cosden owned fancy homes in New York, Florida and Rhode Island and he also maintained a stable of thoroughbred horses. With a private railroad car and a yacht by 1924 Cosden was living in high society, even hosting King Edward VIII. Not bad for a man who started out as a drugstore clerk.
All of this ended in 1925 when Cosden went belly up as they say and lost his company. His other assets were soon gone as well when Mid Continent Petroleum Company acquired his refinery and other assets including the Cosden Building. The landmark building was renamed the Mid Continent Tower and in 1984 the interior was completely remodeled and an addition was constructed in the same architectural style which rises 21 stories above the original building. The construction of this addition was an engineering marvel as the tow structures do not touch each other and a separate support system was designed to carry the weight of the new building. It really is amazing and the building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Getting back to Cosden, although he had lost the majority of his fortune he managed to relocate to Fort Worth, Texas in 1928 where he put his money into drilling in the newly discovered West Texas oilfields. Cosden made another fortune estimated at fifteen million only to lose everything again during the great depression of the 1930s. He died of a heart attack on November 17, 1940 while traveling by train from Arizona tot depression of the 1930s. He died of a heart attack on November 17, 1940 while traveling by train from Arizona to El Paso. The Daily Oklahoman reported that hi last assets had just been sold at public auction.
It’s quite a story and I’ve just scratched the surface but the next time you go to Tulsa check out the skyline and look for the distinctive green top. Tours of the building are available so you might want to put it on your to do list.
As for me this Saturday I will be at the Tulsa Historical Society at 10AM and 12PM and then in the evening it’s on to the toughest sport on dirt, the PBR which will be held at the Chesapeake Arena. If you are unfamiliar with downtown OKC, the arena is also home to OKC’s Thunder basketball time and it’s a big place. The Express Employment Professionals bull riding championship comes to OKC once a year at the start of the season and winds up at the BOK Center in Tulsa near the end of the season. If you’ve only seen bull riding on TV I can tell you that when you are watching it live the energy level is unbelievable. I’ll bring you the scoop next week along with some history about the oldest movie theater still in operation in Tulsa.
Till then I’ll see ya down the road…..