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Press Release

April 18, 2012

Chad Williams405-522-5207

Oklahoma Historical Society Partners with Local Church to Open "Century Chest"

On April 22, 1913, a "Century Chest" was buried in the basement of the First English Lutheran Church (now the First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City) at 1300 North Robinson. The ceremony was witnessed by a capacity crowd including Governor Lee Cruce and other notable Oklahoma residents.

Through a century of dutiful vigilance the congregation of the First Lutheran Church has guarded the "Century Chest" in order that on April 22, 2013 the chest would be unearthed and the past would come alive. The church has partnered with the Oklahoma Historical Society in order that the treasures of 1913 are preserved and exhibited at the Oklahoma History Center.

The church and Oklahoma Historical Society are trying to locate as many descendants of members of the church from 100 years ago as possible. Descendants may contact Chad Williams at the Oklahoma History Center at 405-522-5207 or by email at chadw@okhistory.org.

Contents of the chest include Indian relics donated by Oklahoma's Native American tribes, a quilt stitched with the names of over 700 Oklahoma citizens, newspapers, photographs, paintings, books, poetry, and more than 40 messages from clubs and organizations in 1913 to their counterparts in 2013. In addition, the chest contains other 1913 period items. A Kodak camera, phonograph, telephone, coins, clothing, the pen with which President McKinley signed the free homes bill for Oklahoma, and a poster advertising the first 4th of July celebration ever held in Oklahoma City.

The First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Historical Society hope that all Oklahomans will take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience as the voices, messages, and artifacts preserved within the "Century Chest" are shared with a new generation of Oklahomans.

Three events are in the planning stages. An unearthing ceremony at the First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City, a special live opening of the chest at the Oklahoma History Center, and later a major exhibit at the History Center revealing all of the historic treasures recovered from the "Century Chest".

For more information e-mail centurychest@okhistory.org or call 405-522-5207.

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