Behind the Print: Tulsa Skyline

Posted on Posted in Design

AirBnB has a new ad out that tells us to not “go” to a new city, or “do” a new city, or tour a new city, but to LIVE there, if just for a night.


I love that! Growing up my best friend lived in Tulsa (and still does). I would come often to visit and we would check out all the hot spots, popular spots and artsy spots. I was always taken with Tulsa, but until we moved here, I didn’t realize how much history is packed into this city in green country.




One of the prints currently in my etsy shop is the Tulsa Skyline Print. It is a minimal print, highlighting some of Tulsa’s history filled buildings through a silhouette. It simplifies each building, so for a “behind the print”, I’m going to bring back the details to each of the buildings that are from the 20’s and one from the 60’s.



Tulsa became home to the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks and Seminoles in 1836. In 1879 the first post office opened, followed by the arrival of the railroad. With the discovery of oil, Tulsa began to boom and became known as the oil capital of the world.


Photo by FlintCo

In 1918, the MidContinent Tower was built for oil baron Joshua Cosden and it was originally named the Cosden Building. This building was also only 16 stories high. It was then restored in 1980, and then four years later, a new 20 story tower was cantilevered over it, making the building now 36 stories. You can see where the original building ends the the newer building was built, but their goal was to make it look seamless, and I think it does.


Photo by Tulsa Art Deco
Photo by Tulsa Art Deco

The Philtower is a neo-gothic and art deco building that was completed in 1928. It was designed by Edward Bueller Delk and financed by oilman and philanthropist Waite Phillips. The office on the 21st floor that was used by Waite Phillips has been preserved. This is one of my very favorite buildings in Tulsa. The interior is absolutely beautiful and the brass elevators inside are to die for!


Photo by
Photo by

I had no idea that the Mayo hotel had such a history. It was built in the Chicago School style with 18 floors. It was designed by George Winkler and financed by John D and Cass A Mayo who patterned it after the Plaza in NYC. Their goals were elegance of decor and fine service. The Mayo hotel had Tulsa’s first running ice water and ceiling fans in each room.

A failed renovation attempt in the early 1980s left the building unoccupied and missing many of it’s original fixtures. It was then abandoned for twenty years and many thought it was destined for demolition, but in June of 2001 the Snyder family came to the rescue, purchased it and began renovation.

Now the Mayo is an icon of Tulsa and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has hosted many of Tulsa’s most notable visitors including President JFK, Bob Hope, Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Charlie Chaplin, Mae West and many many more.


Photo by
Photo by

This historic high-rise was completed in 1923. The Thompson building was originally constructed as a 10 story low-rise commercial building, but five additional floors were built in 1929, six years after it’s completion. It was constructed in the Beaux Arts Architectural style, and it’s the second tallest Beaux Arts high-rise in Tulsa, after the Mayo hotel.


Photo by Alan of Tulsa
Photo by Alan Glasco

The University Club Tower is the last building highlight. It is a residential high-rise that was completed in 1966. It currently stands as the 9th tallest building in the city. The circular building, marked by unusual floor-plans surrounding it’s central core, also holds the distinction of being the first building in the United States to be designed using a computer.

I have always wanted to go in this building and see what the apartments look like. I’ve always naively wondered if the walls are round. ( ;



What is your favorite building in Tulsa?


Shop the Tulsa Skyline print in my shop here


2 thoughts on “Behind the Print: Tulsa Skyline

  1. I love my Tulsa Skyline print, Hayley! It’s hanging in my office. This was so fun to read! I’ve always thought Tulsa has more culture than OKC. I love this place!

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