Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Oklahoma City Historical Buildings (Self Guided), Oklahoma City

The capital of Oklahoma State provides interesting sightseeing opportunities to enthusiastic tourists. It is home to an attractive variety of historic buildings located downtown. Eye-catching religious buildings, and magnificent structures of great architectural and historic significance are definitely worth sightseeing and should be a part of any vacation itinerary. Take advantage of this self-guided walk by checking out Oklahoma City Landmarks.
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Oklahoma City Historical Buildings Map

Guide Name: Oklahoma City Historical Buildings
Guide Location: USA » Oklahoma City (See other walking tours in Oklahoma City)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Sandra
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The Skirvin Hotel
  • First National Center
  • Oklahoma County Courthouse
  • Federal Courthouse and Old Post Office
  • St Joseph's Old Cathedral
  • First United Methodist Church
  • E. K. Gaylord Building
  • St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral
  • Central High School
  • City Church
  • First Baptist Church
  • First Lutheran Church
The Skirvin Hotel

1) The Skirvin Hotel

The Skirvin Hotel, at the corner of 1st Street and Broadway, is the city's oldest hotel. First opened in 1911, the Skirvin Hotel contained 224 rooms in a ten-story two-winged tower. A third 12-story wing was added in 1925, and then in 1929–30 all three wings were leveled off to 14 floors with a total of 525 rooms. The hotel is named for its founder, William Balser "Bill" Skirvin, whose daughter, Perle Mesta, became the ambassador to Luxembourg under Harry Truman.

The hotel closed down in 1988 and sat abandoned for the next 19 years. It reopened 26 February 2007 after a renovation project restored the original exterior finish, installed historically accurate windows, reconfigured guest rooms and added new guest elevators. Rumors of a haunting in the hotel persist, and have even been cited by NBA teams, notably in 2010 when the New York Knicks famously blamed their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the haunting and when the Chicago Bulls reported doors slamming shut on their own and strange sounds outside their rooms.
Sight description based on wikipedia
First National Center

2) First National Center

The First National Center, formerly known as First National Bank Building, is a prominent skyscraper in downtown of the city. The art deco tower is 446 feet (136 m) tall at the roof, and is 493 feet (150 m) at its spire and contains 33 floors. The building was constructed in 1931 by the First National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City and has 990,000 square feet (92,000 m2) of office space.

First National Center was built with an Art Deco, Neoclassical style inside and out, featuring polished aluminum, granite, glass and several varieties of marble from around the world. Rising 446 feet above the sidewalk, the building was topped out with an aluminum aviation tower and a red beacon light above a polished aluminum notched roof line. The aviation tower originally housed a massive white rotating beacon that was visible for 75 miles.

One First National's most distinctive features is its night lighting, where the upper-story setbacks are lit white. There nave been times when the lighting has changed - after 9/11, the setbacks were lit in red, white and blue tiers - which is still done on July 4. For many years, a cross was created by lighting office windows during Christmas.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Oklahoma County Courthouse

3) Oklahoma County Courthouse

Oklahoma County Courthouse was designed by prominent Oklahoma architect Solomon Layton and partners George Forsyth and Jewel Hicks of the firm Layton & Forsyth, and was built in 1937. It replaced the original courthouse that was built with $100,000 in bonds issued and located at the intersection of California and Robinson at 520 West Main Street in the 1900s. The building is located at 321 Park Avenue It cost $1.5 million paid for with a bond issue and money from the Public Works Administration (PWA), "a federal program to create jobs in The Great Depression.”

The 11-floor concrete courthouse building is considered art deco / art moderne and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Quotes are inscribed in the "sandy-brown Indiana limestone" and a carved mural depicts "a scene of Oklahoma friendship" between a Native American figure and a Mountain Man. The building is said to be "loosely abstracted from stepped-back Mayan temples" and includes a two-story lobby with terrazzo floor with a compass design as well as abstracted wagon wheel chandeliers and third story overlooks.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Federal Courthouse and Old Post Office

4) Federal Courthouse and Old Post Office

The United States Post Office and Courthouse is a historic post office, courthouse, and Federal office building built in 1912. It previously served as a courthouse of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, and of the United States Court of Appeals, briefly housing the Eighth Circuit and, then the Tenth Circuit for several decades. It continues to house the Bankruptcy court for the Western District of Oklahoma. The building includes Moderne and Beaux Arts.

The United States Post Office and Courthouse was the first monumental structure in Oklahoma City and served as an anchor for future federal development. This landmark building was designed by James Knox Taylor, Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury Department. The building was constructed in 1912 in the Beaux Arts Classicism style. This style of architecture was commonly used for important public buildings from the end of the 19th century until the early years of the 20th century. The building's symmetry, monumental form, balustrade, and pilasters (attached columns) are characteristic of Beaux Arts Classicism.

As part of the 1932 expansion, a centrally placed tower was added over the 1919 addition. The tower features stylized decorative motifs that are characteristic of Art Deco architecture, which emphasizes the verticality of the design and incorporates Classical forms while minimizing ornate elements.
Sight description based on wikipedia
St Joseph's Old Cathedral

5) St Joseph's Old Cathedral

St. Joseph Old Cathedral was the seat of the Diocese of Oklahoma City from 1905-1931, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The church building was severely damaged during the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. A statue carved from Italian marble entitled 'And Jesus Wept' was created to commemorate the event and is adjacent to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It was dedicated in May 1997 and the church was rededicated on December 1 of the same year. An interfaith prayer service was held in St. Joseph’s on September 12, 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Sight description based on wikipedia
First United Methodist Church

6) First United Methodist Church

The church is located close to the City National Memorial at the corner of Robinson Avenue and 4th Street. The original structure was built at the end of the 19th century, after the Land Run of 1889. This historic church is a witness of the nation’s most challenging events. Its sanctuary and adjacent education building was immensely damaged by the bombing in April 1995, and was essentially rebuilt and significantly enlarged. The distinguished configuration of this church includes built-in corner and central towers of different shapes. The brick structure with white elements features an imposing portico entrance introducing the grand staircase, a significant rose window both on the front facade and its western side, and stained-glass windows.
E. K. Gaylord Building

7) E. K. Gaylord Building

This impressive symmetrical building is located in the heart of the city facing 4th Street and Broadway Avenue. It was named after E. K. Gaylord. The Gaylord family owned this 5-storey tower that was constructed in 1909 and housed the local publishing empire. E. K. Gaylord Building is also known as Daily Oklahoman and OPUBCO building. The historic building has front applied columns with richly adorned chapters separating rows of window openings, the upper floor is lined with cornices and balustrade, and there are refined entrances on two main facades. The building underwent renovation in 1997.
St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral

8) St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral (must see)

St. Paul's Cathedral was founded in 1903. The Stone Celtic Cross on the top of the cathedral, that has interesting origins, stood intact for 92 years, until the Murrah Building bombing in 1995, when one arm fell off. Soon it got the name of "Broken Cross", which had a profound meaning. The Cathedral was closed for a couple of years, and only after 7 more years and millions of dollars, it has been restored and rebuilt. Now, after such a long period of work, you may see stunning architectural elements, featuring traditional Gothic style.
Central High School

9) Central High School

Central High School is situated downtown, two blocks north of the well-known National Memorial. This magnificent structure was built in 1911, so it’s one of the oldest buildings in Oklahoma City. Its architecture represents Late Gothic Revival. This symmetrical structure has prominent portico entrances facing Robinson Avenue, 8th Street, and the main façade articulated by a central tower. Every elevation features similar repetitive façade elements. The building has served as an office building since the end of the 20th century. It was added to the National Register in 1976.
City Church

10) City Church

City Church is located on the intersection of Northwest 10th Street and North Robinson Avenue. This century–old downtown Oklahoma City landmark was home to several churches since 1910. Originally the home of First Christian Church, today it houses a protestant non-denominational congregation. It is notable for its original white façade with six Corinthian columns at the front, lofty foreside staircase, massive entablature, gilded center cupola set on cylindrical base, and smaller corner turrets similar to the main one. This city landmark was restored after the 1995 bombing to retain all its initial glory. City Church is also known for its brilliant stained glass depicting key scenes and figures in Christian history.
First Baptist Church

11) First Baptist Church

This church is the largest religious complex located in the historic and cultural center of Oklahoma City occupying the entire block along North Robinson Avenue. It is home to the First Baptist Church established just after the 1889 Land Run. The church construction began soon after its foundation. The neo-Gothic brick building that houses the sanctuary has two front towers with entrances, gable roof covered with red tiles, and a concordant combination of arched and rectangular openings. The First Baptist Church is known for its interior comprising a substantial row of sumptuous stained-glass windows from 1910, the immense pipe organ of 1989, and the timber framework support the high ceiling.
First Lutheran Church

12) First Lutheran Church

First Lutheran Church was constructed around 1912. It is an early religious structure facing North Robinson Avenue, next block north of the First Baptist Church. It features two Gothic style front towers, gable roof covered with red tiles, a combination of lancet, tall, narrow and rectangular windows, and the creamy colour of the facades. The church interior also has creamy shades of the ceiling and walls contrasting the dark altar, paintings and stained-glass windows.

Walking Tours in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Create Your Own Walk in Oklahoma City

Create Your Own Walk in Oklahoma City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Oklahoma City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Oklahoma City Introduction Walk I

Oklahoma City Introduction Walk I

Oklahoma City, the capital of Oklahoma state, is known for its cowboy culture and capitol complex, surrounded by working oil wells. Other places of interest include Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Bricktown, as well as the Oklahoma City National Memorial commemorating victims of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. To learn more about Oklahoma City...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Oklahoma City's Adventure District Tour

Oklahoma City's Adventure District Tour

Oklahoma City's Adventure District, created in 2000, is a region well known for its attractions. Don't hesitate to spend a couple of hours touring the great places this district has to offer, such as The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Remington Park, Oklahoma City Zoological Park, National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum and more.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.6 Km or 4.1 Miles
Oklahoma City Introduction Walk II

Oklahoma City Introduction Walk II

The capital and the largest city of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma City is known for its cowboy culture and capitol complex, surrounded by working oil wells. There's also a wealth of historic heritage to be found in the city preserved in museums and historic mansions. Oklahoma History Center, located north of downtown, showcases eventful past of this part of the United States. To learn more about...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles