History of the Building

Explore the history of the Mid-Continent Life Insurance building, now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Open date

May 10, 2007

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The building that is now the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, home of the Oklahoma of Fame, was constructed in 1927 as the headquarters of the Mid-Continent Life Insurance Company. R. T. Stuart, an ambitious man, acquired the Mid-Continent Life Insurance Co. and relocated his company and family to Oklahoma from Texas.

"Think over your shortcomings, your past mistakes, but only just long enough to devise ways of improving yourself and plan better methods of doing things in which you have previously failed. Face the future with confidence. Have faith in yourself. Then launch your energies into the new year with a determination to render the best service of which you are capable." - written by Edwin Starkey about R. T. Stuart after seeing him hard at work.

The building was built in a Neo-Classical style by Solomon Layton, who also built other iconic Oklahoma buildings such as the Oklahoma State Capitol, the Skirvin Hotel, and the Bizzell Memorial Library at the University of Oklahoma. Some of the building's construction materials included white Vermont marble and Honduran mahogany, which is seen on the 3rd floor in  R. T. Stuart's office and in the board room. In the historic Heritage Hills neighborhood where the building is located, zoning laws during the time only allowed for residential housing, so Stuart designed a living area for the family on the 4th floor.

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