Dozens of people gathered at the First Christian Church in Oklahoma City in the hopes of saving it from demolition. The property has been on the market since 2016, and some community members are worried a potential buyer will tear it down.
“There is no other building like this in the world,” said Lynne Rostochil with the Okie Mod Squad. “So much of our collective identity in Oklahoma City is wrapped up in this building.”
First Christian Church, often referred to as “the egg” because of its unique shape, opened in 1956. Families of victims gathered there after the Oklahoma City bombing.
“It was a place of sanctuary during the most difficult time in Oklahoma City’s history, so there is a true love for this building and everything it represents,” said Rostochil.
The complex is already on the National Register of Historic Places, but the symbolic recognition doesn’t give it any added protection. That’s why the group wants the Oklahoma City Council to designate the structure as a landmark.
“Doesn’t mean it couldn’t come down, it just means there would be an added layer or review before a demo permit could be granted,” Rostochil said.
Councilman Ed Shadid, who represents Ward 2, plans to initiate the process at the next city council meeting on March 12.
“I think what you’re seeing with the thousands of people signing the petition and the outpouring today and online, is that structures like this make us feel like we’re a part of something greater than ourselves,” said Shadid. “It’s part of our identity.”
He’s hopeful the landmark status will preserve the building and give it new life. Shadid says his resolution to have the property deemed a historic landmark will need seven of the nine votes on the council to pass.
The church told FOX 25 the property is not currently under contract but declined to comment on today’s rally.
Places in Oklahoma City that currently have Historic Landmark zoning: