|City/Town: • Atoka|
|Location Class: • Church|
|Year Built: • 1912 | Year Abandoned: • 1990's|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz|
Presbyterian missionaries first appeared in the Atoka area in the 1840s and by 1883 the Presbyterian Church was established in the region. In 1897, the congregation built a wood frame meetinghouse on the outskirts of town, which they utilized until 1907.
The current church site was acquired and construction begun on this version of the church in 1912. It was completed in 1913. The church was designed and constructed by the Faudree brothers – notable, local contractors who were associated with several prominent historic buildings in Atoka. The First Presbyterian Church of Atoka is an architecturally distinct building, the lone example of a Romanesque Revival-style church in Atoka County. This particular church is further enhanced by characteristics associated with the Arts and Crafts style that emerged in the first part of the twentieth century.
Membership in the congregation of First Presbyterian grew through the 1930s, but by 1962 the church counted only 46 members. Similarly to many churches around the state, the drop in membership combine with the cost of maintaining the structure led the church to close its doors permanently in the 1990s. A private owner hopes to see the property restored, but issues with costs, conflicts over encroachments on abutting properties, and recent rumors that the site would make a suitable parking lot for neighboring businesses has the community concerned. Organization and advocacy are needed to see that this architectural gem in downtown Atoka isn’t lost.
Read More at Preservation Oklahoma: http://www.preservationok.org/2011_Atoka_Presbyterian.html