Renovations Of Iconic Downtown Cathedral Highlight Layers Of History

Thursday, October 22nd 2020, 5:39 pm
By: Sawyer Buccy

TULSA, Okla. -

Holy Family Cathedral in Downtown Tulsa is nearing the end of a $4 million restoration. Crews had to really focus on keeping the historical integrity of the church while working on the project, but they also found a way to add new history with a time capsule, hidden in the walls.

If a building could speak, the walls of Holy Family Cathedral would have stories, on stories, on stories.

"The cathedral was built between 1912 and 1914. We are 106 years old," said Father Gary Kastl with Holy Family Cathedral.

The layers of history can be found everywhere you look.

"When you really think about the heroes who have come before us, there is a profound sense of responsibility of taking care if this gem," said Kastl.

That's why crews spent years planning and fundraising for a renovation project. The age of the building meant they ran into issues they had to fix, so the cost for the project went up to $4.3 million.

"We are a living, breathing community,” Kastl said. “New apartments and more people living downtown, we are seeing a reflection of that in the number of people who are coming to mass here on a given weekend.”

The money went towards all kinds of projects like adding an elevator, a new heating and air system, updating restrooms and the kitchen space. It was important to these crews to go to lengths to preserve the historical integrity of the church. The stain glass windows don't just glow from the inside of the Cathedral now, they gleam from the outside too.

"We took all of the old glass off. We repainted the frames, the dark bronze and cleaned the windows," said Kastl.

There is also history hidden in the walls. People from the Cathedral, construction crews and architects created a time capsule.

"We want to keep the history going so that way, 50-60 years from now when this gets opened back up for the next restoration, that rector and that community can find the history of the work that we did," said Father Kastl.

The church still has about six to eight weeks of major construction left, but said most of the work left to be done is on the outside of the building.

For more information and history, you can visit the Cathedral website here.