Mayo Building the First for the Mayo Family

GTR Media Group photo
STATELY LANDMARK: The Mayo Building stands tall today in downtown Tulsa at 420 S. Main St. It houses retail space at the street level and office with apartment space above.

There is a traditional Tulsa family that is associated with a number of downtown Tulsa real estate properties. The Mayo family was responsible for building the Mayo Building, the Petroleum Building, the Mayo Hotel, and the adjacent Mayo Motor Inn parking garage.
Today, a fourth generation Mayo family member, Peter Mayo, follows this heritage in restoring and improving Tulsa’s former Municipal Theatre now called the Brady Theater.
With this much real estate, I decided two articles on these Mayo properties is certainly justified. Having already written about the Mayo Hotel and the Brady Theater, I’ll now focus on the first Tulsa Mayo property, the Mayo Building.
In 1904, two brothers, Cass and John Mayo arrived in the small oil town of Tulsa, Indian Territory from the nearby state of Missouri. Using their savings and a loan from their grandmother, the two opened a retail furniture store which was to last over 50 years. As Tulsa boomed, the brothers moved their original store at the 200 block of South Main Street several times as their store grew.
In 1909, the growth in their furniture sales allowed them to begin building a five-story building at 420 S. Main St. Their furniture emporium was on the lower two levels while the upper stories were utilized for oil company office space.
By 1914, the Glenpool oil strike had created even more growth in Tulsa which allowed the brothers to add five more floors to their building. By 1917, they doubled its height to 10 stories.
The Mayo Building has a high ground floor with an exterior that was significantly remodeled in the 1950s utilizing maroon colored marble veneer panels. The original large windows at street level (perfect for showcasing Mayo furnishings) were framed with rounded maroon marble trim also utilized at a small square window centered above each large window below. The building’s primary facing is a light tan brick.
The south facade presents eight bays with triple window spacing and projecting brick pilasters which have a corbelled brick detail at pilaster corners. The east façade has a symmetrical two, four, two horizontal window spacing to the building center. The original double hung windows have been replaced with single insulated glass panels. The same face brick is expensively utilized at all building elevations (even at alley exposures). Above the lower floors the footprint splits into two towers creating a large center light well. A massive cast stone cornice on the south and east elevations caps these facades.
Due to a 1994 remodeling, today the building has a mixed-use occupancy with street level retail and office and apartment space above. It was listed on the National Register in 2008.