First Church of Christ, Scientist, has seen 100 years in Tulsa
The church at West 10th Street and South Boulder Avenue is among Tulsa’s most historic sites.
Looking west from East 10th Street and South Boulder Avenue in 1953.
Courtesy Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society and Museum.
Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2018, the First Church of Christ, Scientist, at West 10th Street and South Boulder Avenue is among Tulsa’s most historic sites.
The structure’s original architect, Courtland Butler, took inspiration from Greek and Roman designs for the church’s grooved columns and iconic dome. Adah Robinson, who is credited with the design of Boston Avenue United Methodist Church, redecorated its interior in 1935.
“The dome you see on the outside is not what you see on the inside,” says Judy Morton, a church staff member who holds the position of first reader. “When you go into the church and look up, you’ll see a dome with beautiful colors, but there’s another dome 40 feet above that one.”
According to Morton, the building has been used solely for church services since its cornerstone was laid in 1918. “We don’t have a kitchen, so we don’t cook or anything like that,” she says. “It’s not like the other churches that have lots of stuff going on with active young people — we have not had that in recent years.”
Morton, who has been a member of the church since 1966, recalls relatively little change in terms of the building’s basic structure.
“One year in the ’70s or ’80s, we had a really bad storm and we had to put storm windows over our stained glass windows,” she says.
Morton also emphasized the church’s dwindling congregation throughout the years. “The church seats 700, and we used to nearly fill it up,” she says.
Even so, members still meet every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening in the church, an icon of Tulsa’s downtown Cathedral District.