Group working to save historic church overcomes first hurdle

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OKLAHOMA CITY –Organizers with plans to save a well-known structure in northwest Oklahoma City have overcome their first hurdle. In 2016, a 32-acre property went up for sale near N.W. 36th and Walker in Oklahoma City. The property includes the First Christian Church, which is known for its shape and history. “This building is definitely one of the architectural icons of Oklahoma City. It gives us the distinctive architectural look that we have,” said Lynn Rostochil. Rostochil’s grandfather was actually one of the architects that designed the church in 1956. The congregation made the difficult decision to put the massive property up for sale in 2016, and many said they hoped that a buyer would love the place as much as they did. Recently, Okie Mod Squad created a petition to ask the city council to declare the First Christian Church a landmark. If the church is declared a landmark, they say any demolition permit would have to be reviewed by a historical preservation commission before any work could begin.
“We would not have initiated this had we not heard these buildings were going to come down,” Lynne Rostochil said. On Wednesday, the Historic Preservation Commission voted to begin research to determine if the church is worthy of being designated as a landmark. “To consider initiating the process to make it a landmark and they’ll talk about whether it meets the designation criteria,” Katie Friddle, with the Historic Preservation for the City of Oklahoma City, said. Rostochil says that once the commission creates a report with their findings, that report will be sent to the city council. Even if does meet that criteria and city council agrees, demolishing the church could still happen. However, it would be a much more difficult legal process.

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