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Photo: The Beryl Ford Collection/Rotary Club of Tulsa, Tulsa City-County Library and Tulsa Historical Society.

Boston Avenue Methodist Church

BY http://www.bostonavenue.org

Tulsa was just a small trading post town in Indian Territory when the Rev. E. B. Chenoweth arrived with his wife and infant son in November, 1893, to organize the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Though the Civil War had officially reunited the Union and Confederate states some years before, the church was, at that time, still divided over the issue of slavery.

Property for a church site was purchased on the corner of Fifth and Boston in late 1906, and a large new building was erected with tall white columns. This would be the church's home for the next 20 years. The congregation was renamed Boston Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

By the mid-1920's the congregation had again outgrown its building. Building committee members traveled from coast to coast in search of the right design. Architects were hired, then dismissed when their suggestions were less than inspiring. Finally, in desperation, the wife of Building Committee Chair C. C. Cole asked Miss Adah Robinson, a University of Tulsa art instructor, for her help. The sketch Robinson produced a few days later was a real shock to committee members, but her idea gradually caught on. 

The design was done in a new art deco style rather than the then-popular Gothic architecture, and included a round sanctuary and a slender 15-story tower. With the 1920's oil boom at its peak, church members were optimistic enough about the future to embrace both the new look and the $1,500,000 commitment. Robinson's design was approved, and Rush, Endacott, & Rush architectural firm was hired. A young man named Bruce Goff, one of Robinson's students and an employee of the firm, did the drafting and another former student, Robert Garrison, created the sculptures. Robinson supervised the project, working closely with church members and construction workers through the building's completion. 

Construction took more than two years, and finally on June 9, 1929, church members moved into the twentieth-century art deco masterpiece that still houses the Boston Avenue congregation today.