In Edmond, just a little south of Guthrie is one of the state's least known but most interesting gems, something you'd expect to encounter in Guthrie instead. This is the first building constructed in Oklahoma Territory for the purposes of higher education. Known then as the Territorial Normal School, its classes first assembled in a nearby Methodist church before this building rose on its present site in January 1893. This National Historic Site remains Edmond's most impressive historic building, and sitting as it does on the edge of campus, it still serves higher education by quartering the administration for the University of Central Oklahoma.
Of least interest perhaps to church architecture aficionados visiting Guthrie is the First Christian Church on Noble Street. Having every chance to make its forms more noble or elegant, the builders stayed strictly within functional lines. Thus the facade and windows are without character, beauty or much interest.
Less ornate and less promising in its architecture is the First Baptist Church on Broad Street. This single-story structure is little more than a rectangular basilica (to stretch the term) with a modest facade and little else to recommend it. On the other hand, most of the churches on church row were founded on or little after the Land Run of 1889 (April 22), which in itself is of some interest when contemplating the houses of worship whose modern constructions still stand on the plots where their forerunners were first laid.
First United Presbyterian also graces church row with its imposing red facade, its Gothic-like belltower or campanile and its main stained-glass window in the sanctuary. None of the churches being open on Saturdays, it would do well to call ahead if you intend to visit Guthrie in order to appreciate the stained glass in the sanctuaries. In any event, First United Presbyterian possesses all the characteristic qualities that make hometown churches as enjoyable as those in the bigger cities.
First United is another of the religious houses on church row, though actually listed on Broad Street. Distinguished by its unique Guthrie-standard architecture, the tall corner spire marks this as perhaps the finest exterior of any house of worship in town, while the stained-glass inside (not personally witnessed) is probably also the pinnacle of religious ornament (along with St Mary's Cathedral).
This little out-of-the-way museum features athletes, memorabilia and the careers of Oklahoma's illustrious. Displays and other objects hope to influence Oklahoma's youth in the pursuit of true sportsmanship and self-drive and determination, while enjoying the rich history of Oklahoma athletics. Mickey Mantle, Billy Sims, Johnny Bench, Warren Spahn, Dennis Rodman, Joe Carter, Darryl Porter and many others all got their start in Oklahoma sports.
Trinity Episcopal is one of many charming churches on Noble Avenue, what might reasonably be construed as "church row." Composed of red brick and adorned with simple architecture, this little gem and its neighbors are wonderful lures from the main centers of Guthrie tourism.
West of just about everything in the historic district is the still functioning railyard. This is private property, so signs warn to keep off, but coming to the edge of the yard you might enjoy the "aged" appearance of the depot, and as I did the ancient blue line still sitting on the tracks -- a relic of olden times.
Near the above neighborhoods on Elm Street is the towering spire of St Mary's Catholic Church, the only Catholic church in town. Despite its red brick exterior, it occupies a wonderful location and enjoys all the arts of Gothic revival architecture. Though I have yet to visit its interior to more closely examine its stained glass windows, it is apparent from the outside that it has a pretentious nave and impressive windows.
Finally (as to housing styles), this gem in a regular old neighborhood looks much closer to the Colonial Revival than anything previously seen. While Guthrie has its share of tiny one- and two-room shacks, the sheer size of some of these mansions proves that the elite of local society do not necessarily gravitate to the larger cities. The same architectural styles for private homes that swept the country from 1895 to 1925 touched places like Chicago and Guthrie alike.
North of the Scottish Rites Temple are some of Guthrie's more historic neighborhoods. The editor of the local newspaper (the Guthrie Leader; see Local Customs) is said to live in this white-pillared mansion that is not quite American Colonial, nor by any means Greek Revival, nor for that matter anything similar.
Farther away from the red-brick historic center lie some of Guthrie's historical (housing) districts. Though many of the styles defy classification (i.e. they at least defeat me in identifying them), there are some that bear special attention. Pictured here is a Victorian style with slanted gables that much resembles the Overholser Mansion of Oklahoma City (though on a smaller, less ostentatious scale).