Hopewell Baptist Church

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City/Town: Edmond
Location Class: Church
Year Built: 1951
Year Abandoned: 1989
Status: Under Renovation
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler MooreBilly Dixon

This modern church on the prairie is an architectural icon, a tribute to the ingenuity of architect Bruce Goff, and to the congregation that brought his design to life. This place matters to its community, to Oklahoma, and to modern architecture lovers.

This unique treasure, designed by Bruce Goff while Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, was completed in 1951, and listed on the NRHP in 2002. Goff’s renowned ability to utilize locally collected scrap material, in this case fragments of old drill pipe, native fieldstone, and even an aluminum cake pan that was transformed into a chandelier, was ideal for a small community church in need of a new place of worship. Goff was able to design a structure that reflected the community which he served: the teepee shape of the conical sanctuary is a tribute to the Native American roots, while the old oilfield equipment is a testament to the rich history of oil and gas exploration within Oklahoma.

One of the fascinating facts about this church is that while designed by a famous and highly skilled architect, construction of the church was completed entirely by volunteers from the church congregation. Led by Chairman of the Board of Deacons (and a foreman for a local oil company), J.R. “Ike” Thomas, this church was a labor of love, with the job lasting 4 years before completion. This iconic church was featured in TIME magazine in 1955, and was named 1959’s “Rural Church of the Year” by the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention.

The church has stood empty since 1989, with the congregation using a neighboring structure for worship. While extensive study of the condition, history, and design of the building has been completed, physical deterioration will continue until funds can be secured to begin restoration work. The longer it remains empty and unattended, the worse the need for repairs grows. It would truly be a tragedy for this rare and fascinating structure by an architect of such prestige to be lost. Until it is restored, objects like the reception chairs will sit empty, accumulating dust and wear. The ceilings, roof and structure will continue to erode creating more debris on chairs, floors and other artistic pieces of the once grand architecture.

Liked it? Help AOK take action to save some of these places on Patreon! Donations will help fund clean ups, securing of buildings and hopeful restorations as we work with the owners who want to bring them back to life.
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Audrie
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Audrie

My Daddy was one of the volunteers that helped build the Tepee church. My Mother was one of the ladies that provided supper for the men. I and my parents moved to Oklahoma City before construction was complete. We attended the white frame church before construction started on the Tepee. I was 4 or 5 years old.

Cvecare Beograd
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Throughout the grand scheme of things you secure an A for effort and hard function. Where you lost me personally ended up being on the specifics. As as the maxim goes, the devil is within the details… And it could not be much more correct right here. Having said that, permit me inform you what did do the job. Your text is pretty engaging and that is possibly the reason why I’m generating the effort to be able to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, although I can definitely notice the jumps in… Read more »

Henry Kissinger
Guest
Henry Kissinger

Someone needs to shoot you through the face.

Kyle Ripton
Guest

does anyone know how I can get in to this area and do some photo shoots with a bunch of models of mine? I just need to know my name and a phone number or contact information so that I don’t cross over boundaries without permission. Thanks,

kyle Ripton 580 399 2566

Henry Kissinger
Guest
Henry Kissinger

I assume these are fully nude plus-sized male models in their 80s right?

Gordon Middleton
Guest
Gordon Middleton

Is this Don Jackson? If so, this is Gordon Middleton. Where are you now? I'm retired and living in San Diego.

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[…] Baptist church, or the “Teepee Church”, was designed by Bruce Goff and built entirely by the church’s congregation from 1948 to 1951. […]

Will
Guest

I'm looking for a location for a music video shoot in a couple of weeks. Who would I need to contact to see about getting permission to use this place?

Henry Kissinger
Guest
Henry Kissinger

You want to shoot a homosexual themed music video in a church?

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[…] Ballerini Kork Ballington Hans Baltisberger Carlo Bandirola Alain Barbaroux Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

queens car dealerships
Guest

I was doing a search and came across this site. Have to say that this info is great! Keep it up. We will be reading your posts

Angela
Guest
Angela

The was the church I went to until my family moved when I was 7. Although I was young I still have many memories from the Teepee Church. It really is a beautiful building. I still love to go see it when I am in the area

Jackson
Guest
Jackson

My heart is really softened by what I've seen about my old home Church. My name is Jackson I was one of the first to be baptized after the church was finished. The Jackson family were members from 1946 to 1958. Then my family and I in 1972 to 1979. My home Church.

L.D.
Guest
L.D.

I went there until I was about 6 I think! I can remember sitting in the sanctuary when I was about 4 with my parents!! It seemed huge to me back then! I will see if my parents might still have any old photos of the church.

Jeff Bezdek
Guest
Jeff Bezdek

Do you have any historic photographs of the church's original interior intact? It would be nice to get a sense of what the interior ceiling and walls looked liked. Where they simply sheet rocked?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

It was sprayed on asbestos insulation. It had to be removed befor anyone could think about restoring the place.

greeneyedbosoxlover
Guest
greeneyedbosoxlover

How difficult was it to get into the church to explore?

AbandonedOK
Guest

Rather easy considering the secretary of the church had the key to let us in. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently seeking funds to hire Rand Elliot's firm to renovate and re-open this iconic church. You can learn more about it here http://my.preservationnation.org/site/News2?page=

Be sure to look on the right side of the screen, where you can register with just your name and email to vote for the church to win a grant to help pay for construction.

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