by Richard MizePublished: Thu, June 28, 2018 5:00 AM
GUTHRIE — Grease the old presses and dust off the vintage type cases: The future of the history of publishing, Guthrie, and Oklahoma has a new edition.
The Oklahoma Historical Society, a state agency, signed over the deed to its long-troubled State Capital Publishing Co. building to nonprofit Guthrie Tomorrow Coalition Inc. on Wednesday.
A ceremony was held just off the front steps at 301 W Harrison Ave., where news of Oklahoma statehood was first announced on Nov. 16, 1907 — when Guthrie was the territory-turned-state capital — and reenacted at the state centennial in 2007.
The aim is to save, preserve and renovate the 116-year-old, 50,000-square-foot office building and publishing plant, and resume its use as a newspaper and printing museum and education and public event space.
The building, its three stories and basement crammed full of historic presses and other printing equipment, has been closed to the public since 2012 after nearly 40 years as a museum. Repair estimates have been as high as $4 million.
The building, constructed from a design by Belgian architect Joseph Foucart, is an anchor of Guthrie’s National Historic Landmark District.
Preservationists to the rescue
The all-volunteer Guthrie Tomorrow Coalition, led by CEO Lynn Bilodeau, took ownership of the property just less than a year after forming in the wake of a failed attempt by a developer to acquire it as surplus state property, gut it and convert it to apartments.