Thousands sign petition to save iconic church through new designation

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Lynne Rostochil is doing everything she can to save the First Christian Church in Oklahoma City.

“We feel like this building is one of the greatest mid-century modern architectural marvels in America, and we’re really lucky it’s here in Oklahoma City,” Lynne Rostochil, co-founder of Okie Mod Squad, said.

On Monday, the Okie Mod Squad created a petition to save the church, located on N.W. 36th and Walker.

“We have heard several very valid rumors that a potential buyer has been contacting the city to find out what restrictions there are on demo’ing the building and there are none,” she said.

The 32-acre property went up for sale in 2016. On it, Jewel Box Theater, Trinity School, the Oklahoma Disciples Foundation and this iconic church, built in 1956.

“And to me, it’s just as modern and exciting as it was when it was built 60 years ago,” Rostochil said.

While it is on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s not designated a landmark, which would mean certain changes would have to be approved by a commission.

“It requires review by the Historic Preservation Commission of any exterior changes to the site, including demolition of a structure,” she said.

Properties with city historic preservation designation include Marion Hotel, Sieber Apartment building, and the Freedom Center on MLK Blvd., which the city council approved as a landmark last year.

Lynne and more than 2,000 petitioners agree, the First Christian Church should be on that list.

“This is one of the few historic gems of Oklahoma City. A prime example of mid-century modern architecture,” Cayla Lewis, executive director of Preservation Oklahoma, Inc., said.

“We want to show the city council how much the community cares for this building,” Rostochil said.

The church has been on Preservation Oklahoma’s list of “Most Endangered Places” a couple of times. They’ll release their latest list March 4.

News 4 reached out to the reverend and the realtor for the property, but have not heard back.

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