History of the Building
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.
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.
The Oklahoma Hall of Fame re-opened the building to the public on May 10, 2007, as the Gaylord-Pickens Museum, coincidentally the same date as the Mid-Continent Life Insurance Company opening years earlier. The building was purchased thanks to a generous donation from Edward L. Gaylord and, in 2005, the donation was matched by T. Boone Pickens to aid in the extensive renovations. Walking through the building, one can experience the past through the architecture and celebrate how contemporary Oklahomans continue to shape our great state through traditional and interactive exhibits. The Mid-Continent Life Insurance building now bears the legacy of telling the story of Oklahoma and its unique people.
The Mid-Continent Life Insurance Co. building at night, 1927. Courtesy Mid-Continent Life Collection.