This iconic structure sits on the northeast corner of 178th Street and MacArthur Boulevard, on the western edge of Edmond, Okla., in an area now called Deer Creek. The Hopewell Heritage Foundation, Inc. will rehabilitate the “tepee” for public access to benefit all of Oklahoma from the central Oklahoma region.
To rehabilitate this unique building for reuse as a beautiful event center will honor both the legacy of the creative genius of Oklahoma--Bruce Goff--and the humble community that built it with their bare hands--the small congregation of Hopewell Baptist Church.
Equally important will be programming for public access as a new event center for the community, hosting concerts, performances, promotion of the arts, business meetings, educational seminars, charitable events, weddings or worship gatherings, tourism for architectural enthusiasts, school tours and others who will enjoy this historic Oklahoma destination.
Professor Emeritus from the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture, Arn Henderson, describes the building as we prepare for its new use:
“The Hopewell Baptist Church is significant...as an outstanding example of the 1950’s period of the architecture of Bruce Goff… The intention of Goff’s design was to recall Oklahoma’s Native American culture and the dominance of oil production in the Oklahoman economy.
Henderson describes the building as conical in shape, dodecagonal (12-sided) with 12 exposed steel trusses rising 80 feet to meet at the top of a decorative spire. The building was designed with lower level classrooms and an upper level sanctuary to hold 300 worshipers. Canted walls of angular fieldstone sloped outward on the ground floor, and inward on the lower level.
Converging to triangular skylights, the dome of the sanctuary was said by area residents to reverberate with astonishing sound when the music and singing rose heavenward. Imagine how these walls long to break their silence and emit that sound again! It can and will be done with the support of local residents, the Oklahoma City community, historians, mid-century modern architectural enthusiasts and others who understand the weightiness of its revitalization.
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