State-owned publishing museum drawing closer to becoming locally-owned

State-owned publishing museum drawing closer to becoming locally-owned

The title to the State Capital Publishing Museum appears it will once again rest in the arms of Guthrie. A local nonprofit group has an agreement in place to acquire the State Capital Publishing Co. building from the Oklahoma Historical Society.

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The plan is to save the building, continue a portion of the building as a newspaper and printing museum and put it back to use for the community.

The Guthrie Tomorrow Coalition Inc. needed nearly 10 months to come to an agreement on the four-story, 50,000 square foot building. The structure, constructed in 1902, was one of the first buildings in Oklahoma to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 116-year-old building, located on the corner of 1st Street and Harrison Ave., was donated to the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) in 1975 by the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce.

A 2016 law required the Oklahoma Historical Society to first offer to sell surplus property to the original donor (Chamber). However, last year, the Chamber board of directors voted to relinquish the building and leading the path for the nonprofit to take over.

Obtaining ownership is the first phase of the project as the estimated cost to repair the building stands at approximately $4 million.

More details are expected to be revealed on the transaction. Bob Blackburn, executive director of the historical society, told The Oklahoman the transaction will be an in-kind purchase based on a property appraisal. When a certain level of improvements is made to the building, title will be transferred to the nonprofit.

The nonprofit, led by CEO Lynn Bilodeau and Chairman Jan Goodyear, will look to develop revenue from the property, to pay for repairing and operating it, maybe by leasing parts of it to comparable organizations or businesses.

A ceremony is planned June 27 during a Chamber Coffee meeting on the steps of the building at 301 W Harrison Ave.

In 2012, with a lack of funding to replace a broken boiler, the museum closed indefinitely. Related articleState Capital Publishing Museum closed indefinitely

In 2016, the Guthrie Planning Commission recommended not to issue a special permit to allow construction of a multi-family development in the historic building. Related articlePlanning Commission denies recommendation for downtown apartments

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