Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tulsa Pioneer: W. Tate Brady

W. Tate Brady, born in 1870, came to Indian Territory in 1890 as a shoe salesman from Nevada City, Missouri. He set up a mercantile store

and got into the coal mining business over in Dawson. (click on photos to enlarge)
Being a smart businessman, when oil was discovered in the Glenn Pool, Brady realized the workers needed places to live and spend their money. He built the Hotel Brady and helped ensure that rail cars ran on a regular schedule to the Glenn Pool.

The Hotel Brady

The original Hotel Brady was completed in 1905 as a wood framed structure wrapped in brick. It sat on the southwest corner of Archer & N Main Streets. It was the first hotel in town with baths and was a gathering place for oil men and oil deals. It was also here in March 1907, that members of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention met, after completing most of their labors at Guthrie, and heard Haskell declare his candidacy for governorship. Eventually a new Hotel Brady was built next to the original.

The new and the original Brady Hotels side by side.
The wooden front entrance cover can be seen in the photo. The new, larger, and taller Brady Hotel was billed as fire proof due to its building materials. A tea garden was located on the rooftop. A large pass-through joined the two hotels. The pass-through, however, was wooden and in 1935 a fire “passed-through" from the original to the new hotel and destroyed it.

The hotel was not repaired following the fire in 1935, sitting empty and decaying until it was demolished in the 1970’s for Urban Renewal.

Brady also built what is now the Cain’s Ballroom in 1924 to serve as a garage for his automobiles. Madison W. "Daddy" Cain purchased the building in 1930 and named it Cain's Dance Academy where he charged $0.10 for dance lessons.
The Brady Mansion

In 1920 Brady built a three-story home on a hilltop that overlooked Tulsa in what is now known as The Brady District. The mansion once played host to many grand events in the ballroom. Brady was active in the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy so not surprisingly the walls featured murals of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. In fact, Robert E. Lee’s birthday was always a celebration at the Brady Mansion.

In 1925 Brady shot himself in the mansion’s kitchen. During WWII Mrs. Brady offered the mansion as a housing and entertainment center for soldiers. After the war she sold it.
Mr. and Mrs. Brady are buried in the Oaklawn Cemetery along with other Tulsa founders.


Unknown said...

What a shame it took one at the very end, He sounds like a very interesting guy, Thanks for the story. They don't always have happy ending.

Nancy said...

To make matters creepier, the man who bought the house and restored it was shot and killed by his girlfriend in the mansion a few years ago. No wonder its a stop on the Haunted Tulsa trolly tour......

Nathan said...

Actually, Tim was shot in his girlfriend's apartment not the Brady Mansion.

Nancy said...

I stand corrected. Thank you Nathan.


Nathan Pickard said...

No problem. I live next door to the Brady Mansion and was president of Brady Heights NA the previous two years. We are very excited that a wonderful family just bought and moved into the Brady Mansion. Thanks for writing the article. It was very informative. Tim was shot and killed in South Tulsa. We try to stay away from that dangerous side of town. :)

Anonymous said...

I went to an estate sale at the Brady Mansion about a year ago and heard how the owner had been killed. Such a sad story. The mansion was beautiful and so fascinating to walk through. I'm so grateful that we had the chance to go in it before it was sold. We looked out the back windows and saw the Springer Mansion and one of the Kennedy Mansions. I had been reading about that area and had never explored it and there it was right out of the back window of the Brady Mansion. I love that area of town! And there's even a Methodist church right across the street from the Brady Mansion. How wonderful it would be to walk to church!
I've been on the haunted trolley tour (Paranormal Team of Tulsa) and it was so much fun! The man who was conducting the estate sale told me that the house across the street from the Brady Mansion is on a register of haunted places. I asked him if he had seen Tate Brady around there since starting the sale and he said he hadn't!

Anonymous said...

he wasn't killed by his girlfriend. she was a "glen-close" with power and money.

Leslie R. said...

I could be mistaken, but I am sure that my father told me that Tate Brady's son became involved in a love triangle about 1940 (and hooked on heroin) and ended up shooting another young man to death over a girl on Halloween night. He was given life in prison, but let out in order to participate in the D-Day landings at Normandy- with the understanding that he would almost certainly be killed, which he was- leading to his father's suicide in the Brady mansion kitchen- is there any truth to that?

lacy said...

I'm his great-great-granddaughter, his daughter's son's son's daughter :) if that's not too confusing! I remember visiting my great-aunt and uncle in Tulsa, and I think we even visited the Brady mansion and mausoleum when I was a little girl. If anyone has any further information on the Brady family I'd love to have it! My e-mail address is

Rahima said...

A PBS special that aired this weekend said he killed himself when learning his son had been killed--but I believe they said his son had purportedly been in an automobile accident. "Tulsa A to Z" was the program, I think.

Karll said...

It was not Tate Brady's son involved in a murder over a woman. It was the son of a Tulsa Judge and it occured around Thanksgiving of 1934.

Anonymous said...

I spent alot of time in the tate brady mansion as a child. My aunt was married to a man who's family owned the mansion at the time(1991 or 1992 thru 1996-1999 is the time period) It was seperated into apartments, nonetheless still very intreguing as a child. I loved spending summers, school breaks,or weekends with her. I went down the butler stairwell, entering from the 3rd floor bathtub area, and exiting the 2nd floor in my aunts closet...trembling the entire way. I also would hide in the main stairwell behind secret panel opening's my aunt showed me. It is my favorite memories from my childhood. I remember Tim (the man who was killed) as a child, and was told the story of Tate Brady and how he committed suicide. However i was told he killed himself after he found out his son had died in war, and that is why he had murals of General Robert E. Lee. And his wife later allowed the home to be used by civil war soldiers. I researched tate brady and the mansion as i got older to get facts. I feel very honored that this home played a pivitol role in my childhood. I do believe Tate Brady's spirit is in the home waiting for his son to return, and had a few spooky encounters in the mansion as a child. I never believed him to be an evil presence so i never feared him. however i'd rather not encounter spirits. I am so happy that the Mansion has been restored and hope to see it once again.

Thank you,

Monica WhiteShield

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention his role in the race riots and activity with the Ku Klux Klan.


Anonymous said...

I was going to mention that.. oh what the heck!:)


Marc Carlson said...

You mean the part where he was kicked out of the Klan after a year because he wouldn't vote they way they wanted him to? And what role in the race riot (there having only been one in Tulsa)?

Proof would be nice and more helpful than simple assertion.

- Marc

Unknown said...

My Grandma lived there over 30 years ago and said there was always some messed up things happening there. -John

Unknown said...

Ha ha mee tooo

Anonymous said...

- January 20, 1870 / 2020 -

January 20th marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Wyatt Tate Brady – pioneer, entrepeneur and one of Tulsa´s founders. By coincidence (or as we Presbyterians prefer to say, with a twinkle in our eye, "as divine providence would have it"), this anniversary coincides with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, traditionally observed on the third Monday of January each year.

As one of Tate Brady´s great-grandchildren, I will pause on January 20th to give thanks for all of the men and women – past and present, remembered and forgotten, of all colors and cultures – whose vision, commitment and hard work have contributed to making Tulsa the vibrant, diverse and culturally-rich city it is today.

Together with others, I will also remember what great strides have been made to overcome racism and inequality, while at the same time humbly recalling how far we – as individuals and neighborhoods and as a nation – still have to go in making Martin Luther King, Jr.´s magnificent dream a reality.

It is my hope that this coming year – on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre (1921) – might provide new and significant opportunites to work for reconciliation and healing, not only in Tulsa, but wherever racism rears its ugly head and violence tears at the fabric of communities.

One of the inscriptions on the walls of the MLK memorial in Washington, D.C., recalls a passage from the Bible, which Dr. King himself drew upon in various speeches: "to work and fight until justice runs `down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.´" These poetic words convey a powerful vision; yet the challenge still remains of working out the irrigation system.

Jeffrey Myers

In some ways, Tate Brady can be said to have been a child of his times. He was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in a young city painfully divided along racial lines. He was a man filled with larger-than-life dreams, as well as inconsistencies. Having joined the Ku Klux Klan as a young man, he later renounced the group, going on to support an anti-Klan gubernatorial candidate for election.
It has been said that W. Tate Brady was known for hiring African Americans to work in his hotel and other businesses. Not long before she died at the age of 104, Mabel B. Little, a survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre who was once employed by Brady, recalls in her book, Fire on Mount Zion: My Life and History as a Black Woman in America (1990): "Another man, Mr. Tate Brady had good feelings for black people. He hired several black boys as porters. But he told them up front, "Listen, boys: I'm gonna train you so you can get your own businesses someday."
In a moment of larger vision, Tate Brady was quoted as saying: "Indian and white man, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protestant, we worked together side by side, and shoulder to shoulder, and under these conditions, the `Tulsa Spirit´ was born, and has lived, and God grant that it never dies. " Though framed in words from another era, these thoughts capture something of the magnanimous, unifying "spirit" of Tulsa.