When Ernest Wiemann first opened his metalcraft business in 1940, he probably didn’t anticipate that it would forge the face of Tulsa’s most celebrated landmarks. Although they’re masterfully subdued in their grandeur, Wiemann’s gates and other metalcraft adorn the Philbrook Museum, City Hall, Holland Hall and the University of Tulsa. Without realizing it, you’ve probably been greeted by a Weimann work several times around town.
In this edition of Goodbye Tulsa, we hear from Doug Bracken, president of Ernest Wiemann Ironworks. As Bracken explains, Weimann was a larger-than-life character who took deliberate pride in the craft of metalworking. It was a trait that earned him an international reputation–in fact, each year, the highest prize for ironwork is given an “Ernie” in Weimann’s honor. All this from a German immigrant who had to repeatedly fight to earn American citizenship. Ironically, Weimann’s enduring spirit, as evidenced by countless ornamentations around town, seems stronger than the metal he bent on a daily basis.