Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 14: Pointing to the heavens

click photo for larger version

It's been over 20 years since I played a round of golf at Cedar Valley in Guthrie, Oklahoma. But for 2 summers, my friends who actually could play the game would let me tag along every Sunday afternoon as I tried in vane to find my swing. I loved trying to play golf, but probably more than the game, I enjoyed the 45 minute car ride each way on route to the golf course. It was filled with a lot of laughter, sharing great music and just enjoying the fact that most stressful thing I'd have to do that day is hit an approach across a lake on the 1st hole of the Augusta course.

On that drive each week, we passed this church that was so unusual in design that the Art Vandelay in me would gaze in awe as we passed by. My friends called it the teepee church, but I always had the thought that I could never worship in a place that constantly reminded me of one of Madonna's C-cups. But still I always wondered what it looked like on the inside and what was the story behind its construction.

Yesterday as I was thinking about what to shoot, I noticed the sky was once again a nice shade of blue with great cloud formations. I knew I wanted to shoot something with a skyline and for some reason this church came to mind. I drove up Macarthur to NW 178th to revisit the teepee church. When I arrived I was a bit disappointed. First the name of the church was different. It's now the home to the Church at Edmond. Seriously...it's not Church of Edmond or Church in Edmond, it is really called Church at Edmond. Secondly, I noticed the disrepair of this eclectic structure. Wow...another great landmark sitting in decay. There's still a church right there, but it's in a steel siding building with a tin roof. I wonder how the parishoners must feel to come there each week and see the church building that was.

Well back at home I began researching and discovered that this was built by the Hopewell Baptist Church, a congregation that still exists in Edmond. The architect was Bruce Goff and the church was built in the 1940s for $20,000. It has not been occupied since 1989...the year after I last passed it on the way to Guthrie. The building itself has been recently added to the National Register of Historic Places and in 2003 an effort (the Hopewell Heritage Foundation) was begun to raise money to restore it at an estimated cost of $2 million. If you're ever headed to Guthrie, skip I-35 and take the time to see one of Oklahoma's most unique structures.

Photo info: I shot this with a 24-70mm lens with a polarizer filter to darken the blues in the sky. 1/320th sec at F8.0.


Kristie said...

Yeah, that building looks like a space ship to me. Not sure I could worship there without feeling a little sci-fi. :)

Beautiful picture, though .... do I understand correctly, that you lose one f-stop when using a polarizer? I have uv filters on all my lenses, just to protect them, but I never think about using anything else ..... this is a great example of that, and I'm inspired to try it!

Are you shooting in P or M? Your shooting specifics always make sense .... just not sure when I'll reach the point that I can figure it out for myself, instead of relying on the camera to do it for me! :)

Thanks for sharing ... I'm really enjoying this, in case you can't tell from my incessant (and probably obnoxious) commenting.

Territory Mom said...

Great photo and thanks for the history of the building. This is great!

Jim Smith said...

Yes you do lose some light using a polarizer. I only use it for bright sunlight photos. This one I shot in P mode.

Territory Mom...thanks so much. I'm always happy to see you stopped by. I really enjoy all your old photos on your blog.

Adjective Queen said...

Oh, Seinfeld...just about everything in life can be traced to an episode. Sometime when we're waiting in a restaurant, I dare my kids to go over to a table and ask for a bite ... it always gets a laugh.

Anonymous said...

This was my childhood church. I was baptised there in the third grade and sat many Sundays listening to "Brother John" deliver a good ole' fashioned Southern Baptist Sermon about the fear of God.

The Hopewell Foundation has a photo tour of the inside of the building and it makes me so sad to see it so run down. Thanks for the picture. It brings back a lot of memories!