Push To Make Iconic Dome Church A Historical Landmark Met With Opposition

Tuesday, March 12th 2019, 5:07 pm
By: Karl Torp

Built in the 1950's, the iconic dome of First Christian Church at Northwest 36th Street and Walker Avenue was regarded as one of the area's first mega churches. It’s on the national registry of historic places. 

Recently, Lynn Rostochil, whose grandfather designed the egg-shaped cathedral, learned a historic registry means very little if someone wants to knock it down.

“Someone could get a permit at 8 in the morning and take it down at 8:30,” says Rostochil.

She and others are fighting to turn the cathedral into a national landmark to better ensure its preservation.

 Many neighbors voiced their support for the landmark distinction in front of OKC City Council on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

But, First Christian Church's congregation has dwindled to less than 50. The church has been trying to sell buildings on the 22-acre property for three years.

Now, the church is fighting the landmark status.

“I think it reduces the pool of potential buyers and I think it also reduces the property value, because it places burdens on the property to that don't exist today,” said First Christian Church attorney David Box.

First Christian says it wants to see the dome stay forever, but it hopes another church can purchase the property and pay to maintain the structure.

In the meantime, it's trying to make sure the property is as marketable as possible.

“In my opinion, it would be an extraordinary measure to come in and impose their will against the property owner and rezone it against their wishes,” added Box.

City council decided to postpone making a decision on whether to pursue the landmark distinction process until next month.