Just because First Presbyterian Church, located on N.W. 25th Street and N. Western Avenue, appears indomitable, doesn’t mean that Oklahoma’s harsh weather hasn’t taken its toll.
Water marks and wind damage on the roof, patches of ceiling destroyed by moisture, and 43-year-old wiring in the towering sanctuary are just some of the problems First Presbyterian faces. But, thanks to a new flurry of repairs and updates, church members are hoping to ensure the historic landmark will continue to be a major presence years into the future.
“The church was formed in 1889, the first day of the Land Run,” said Gayle Cox, clerk of the session.
Church members are finding that some of the stained glass windows are bowed; they are having to replace one elevator and add another. They are updating the electrical and lighting systems and weatherproofing cracks, but the most dire project is the pending roof replacement.
The building, made of Crab Orchard, Tenn., limestone, was built to last but wasn’t kept up properly, and the roof is no longer able to hold out the ever-destructive element of water.
“It’s aged well considering what they’ve done to it, which is nothing,” said Philip Rhodes, who sits on the church’s board of trustees. “We’re trying to move from crisis program to preventative maintenance program, but with the amount of projects we’re having to do and the things that fall out of the blue sky, it’s been a difficult transition. But we’ll get there.” “Charles Martin