Built in the 1950s, the iconic dome of the First Christian Church at Northwest 36th Street and Walker Avenue was considered one of the area’s first mega churches. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
Recently, Lynn Rostochil, whose grandfather designed the egg-shaped cathedral, learned that a historical record means very little if someone wants to overthrow it.
“Someone could get a permit at 8 a.m. and pick it up at 8:30 a.m.,” says Rostochil.
She and others are fighting to make the cathedral a national monument to better ensure its preservation.
Many neighbors voiced their support for the historic distinction in front of the OKC City Council on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
But First Christian Church’s congregation has dwindled to fewer than 50. The church has been trying to sell buildings on the 22-acre property for three years.
Now the church is fighting landmark status.
“I think it reduces the pool of potential buyers and I think it also reduces the value of the property because it puts encumbrances on the property that don’t exist today,” the attorney for the property said. First Christian Church, David Box.
First Christian says he wants to see the dome stay forever, but hopes another church can buy the property and pay to maintain the structure.
In the meantime, he tries to make sure the property is as salable as possible.
“In my view, it would be an extraordinary measure to step in and impose your will against the landlord and rezone him against his will,” Box added.
The city council has decided to postpone a decision on whether or not to continue with the historic distinction process until next month.