Before the Mayo Building was built, 5th Street was a residential neighborhood, with the First Methodist Episcopal Church facing the Mayo house on Boulder. At the west corner of the block backing up to the Mayo house was a lovely house owned by the Bynum family, on Cheyenne, and across the street to the southwest was the home of Dr. Fred Clinton. It was the neighborhood of wealthy pioneer oil families.
By the time the Mayo brothers built their building on 5th Street, it was known that a new county courthouse would be built on the northeast corner of 6th Street and Boulder. The site was acquired from Rachael Perryman, the Creek widow, who refused to sell it to anyone but the City of Tulsa, with payment in gold. With the Mayo Building and the new Courthouse anchoring that part of town, its future as a center of commerce seemed assured.
The Mayo Building was completed at its present size in 1918, and by 1920, the Mayo Brothers were ready for another building project, this time on the site of Cass and Allene’s house at 5th and Boulder. The ten-story Petroleum Building became the new home for Mayo Furniture, and lots of oil companies on the upper floors. Meanwhile, the First Methodist Episcopal Church had outgrown the old sanctuary and moved in 1921 to its present location at 1115 South Boulder. In 1930 it was finally replaced by the Gillette-Tyrell Buidling, a three-story building designed to carry an additional ten-stories above.
In the early 1920s, talk of the need for a first class hotel in Tulsa led Cass to organize an ambitious solution – an 18-story building which would become the crowning achievement of the Mayo brothers’ real estate ventures. Cass acquired the Bynum residence next to the Petroleum Building, raised the capital, oversaw the construction, and opened the Mayo Hotel in 1925. John soon moved his office into the hotel to manage it, and stayed there until it was sold in 1968. Cass continued to operate the other Mayo businesses from his office in the Mayo Building until his death in 1949.
The hotel was conceived as the finest west of the Mississippi, and became a legendary setting for social events in Tulsa for many years. Even when the depression forced the Mayo Hotel Company into receivership in 1931, the hotel never shut down. Cass managed the reorganization of the creditors and stockholders and emerged in control of the restructured company four years later.
For nearly sixty years the Mayo Hotel was the social center for Tulsa, hosting dignitaries and important events that became etched into the memory of Tulsans. In the hands of new owners in the mid-1980s, the grande dame of Tulsa hotels finally succumbed to the decline of downtown and closed its doors. It was more than 20 years before the building was reborn as a renovated boutique hotel with rental apartments, reopened at about the time that the Mayo Building was being restored as a mixed-use project.