The Brady Heights Historic District of Tulsa will host Storytellers: Historic Home Tour 2017 on Sunday, October 15, 2017, from 10:00AM to 5:00PM. The tour will include around 10 homes in Tulsa’s oldest historic neighborhood. Tickets will cost $10 per person 12 years of age and older. Guests under 12 years old receive free admission. Tickets can be purchased on site at the tour’s starting point, the Centenary United Methodist Church, at 631 N. Denver Ave. Proceeds will benefit community projects of Brady Heights Historic District, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which serves the residents of the neighborhood and the surrounding community.
To go to the Brady Heights Tour Website: Storytellers: Historic Home Tour
Introduction for tour of the Parish of St. Jerome
Nestled in one of Tulsa’s earliest wealthy neighborhoods known as the “silk stocking” district, our church building is among the oldest continuously occupied church structures in Tulsa. Purchased by this parish in 1997, this building was formerly the home to a Presbyterian congregation for almost 80 years, changing hands, when the congregation had dwindled to a handful. The building was constructed in 1920 by the members of the original congregation and dedicated debt-free in January 1921. The outside of the building illustrates a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque characteristics popular at the time with Gothic arched windows and more compact towers characteristic of Romanesque architecture made popular by the famous nineteenth century architect, H.H. Richardson.
The bricks were actually made on site and were sun dried as opposed to baked. The basement, what we currently refer to as the undercroft, was constructed first, so the congregation could begin to worship in at their new site, before completing the structure above. The original cost for this corner lot was $8,000. The building itself, cost $75,000 to construct. At the time of the 1920 riot in the Archer and Greenwood district this church was still under construction.
The wing on the north side of the property was constructed in the 1950s to provide space for what was a growing population of children in the Brady Heights neighborhood. Regretfully, the construction of the wing resulted in the tearing down of one of the Church’s original four towers that marked each corner of the building. The wing was constructed at a cost of $40, 000 with minimal concessions to the style of the main building.
This building is actually the second building for the former congregation. There is a bell in the taller south tower. The bell was actually moved from the original church that was located at Cameron and Cheyenne Avenues. The name of our beloved building has changed numerous times since its construction. One the earliest names associated with the original congregation is “Mekke Hute”, meaning “Home of the King.” The cornerstone on the southwest corner inscribed with “Northside Presbyterian Church.” Newspapers references to the church at the time of construction called this building the “First United Presbyterian Church.”
The interior building was designed, most likely from an architectural pattern book, using the popular “Akron Plan,” after a Methodist church in Akron, Ohio built before the civil war. This interior design features creates the sense of an auditorium using an amphitheater lay-out with a sloping main floor, , balconies at the sides and rear, and with Sunday school classrooms along the rear periphery of the sanctuary space. Preaching took front and center in this architectural style, very characteristic of Protestant Churches in the United States. The intention was create a space where everyone had a clear sightline to the minister preaching. Today, the legacy of this space is the excellent acoustics for our music program. When St. Jerome’s acquired the building there were several modifications to the original space. The pulpit has been moved from center to the side, because the focal point of our worship is the celebration of the Eucharist.
Originally, the choir loft was located above the altar under the center window on the East elevation of the building. In the original configuration the pews were in a semi-circular pattern with no center aisle. To conform to our Anglo-Catholic worship, the original heavy pine pews were reconstructed to create the center aisle you see now.
In the original interior, the rooms to the rear of the worship space were Sunday school rooms. You can see that the rolling wooden doors are still present to partition off spaces from the sanctuary. Today we have converted these rooms for other uses, for example the north room is now All Saint’s Chapel where more intimate services are held. On the north side of All Saints Chapel you will see our columbarium for the cremains of parishioners who have died or their family. (docents can describe the art in All Saints Chapel)
Please take some time to look at the beautiful stain glass windows throughout the original part of the church. Most of the glass is original and is from Kokomo Indiana with a type of stained glass favored by stain glass artisan Louis Comfort Tiffany. This type of stain glass is called “opalescent” for its milky translucency and rich wisps of color combinations. You will note that the original stained glass is very simple in its depictions, which are, characteristic of Presbyterian piety. The stain glass window above the altar contains an addition of the Eucharistic Christ, donated by Charles Faudree to honor is mother. Many of you will remember Charles Faudree as a world famous interior decorator and author, known for his exquisite French Country interiors. You will see that Charles Faudree, and Dr. Robert Coffey, both beloved founding members of our Parish, are both memorialized by their presence in our columbarium
All Saints Chapel also includes stain glass dedicated to the memory of beloved parishioners. One window depicts our Church patron, St. Jerome, a doctor of the church who was responsible for translating the original Greek and Hebrew Bible into the people’s tongue, Latin. This window is modeled after church window (I have the name) in St. Louis. The second window includes images of grape and grain as well as the Eucharistic cup and bread for the sacred body and blood of Christ celebrated at each mass.
Last year, our parish dedicated the Northeast bell tower as the St. Mary Chapel. It is a cozy space where folks can light a candle and offer prayers for those they love. We also offer the Rosary on Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
Our beautiful building is quickly approaching its one-hundredth birthday. Since 1997 the Parish community has worked tirelessly to maintain the building for the future. Steps have been taken to repair the roof and prevent further damage from water, as well many other structural features of the building.
Last year, we installed 2 chairlifts to allow those who have difficulty navigating the stairs to make it to worship and to fellowship. In the future we hope to improve our accessibility with a new porch and ramp. This year, we have installed the new entry doors, as well as new “antique” church lights. We hope to continue to improve the appearance of our grounds, which, have been beautifully augmented over the years.
Again, welcome to the Parish of St. Jerome and we hope that your participation in the Brady Heights Neighborhood tour is as educational and enjoyable as possible. Don’t forget to visit and worship with us!