WMWR - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is pleased to announce that the National Park Service has listed the Holy City of the Wichitas Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Listing on the National Register provides recognition to eligible historic properties and assists in preserving our shared cultural heritage through tax credits, specialized support, and grant opportunities. Started as an Easter pageant in 1926, the Holy City was originally located near Medicine Park on private land. Due to its overwhelming popularity, local community members, business owners, and politicians jointly lobbied for federal assistance to select and construct a new larger location. Back by federal grants from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Holy City of the Wichitas was constructed west of its original location within the refuge. As many as 200 local men were employed by the WPA for the construction providing much-needed relief to during the Great Depression. Today, the Holy City is managed under a special use permit by the Wallock Foundation which pursued listing with the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office. The Holy City of the Wichitas Historic District is approximately 14.3 acres located about 7 miles west of Medicine Park on State Highway 49 in the eastern portion of the Refuge in Comanche County, Oklahoma. The site consists of multiple wooden building including a chapel, lodge, and the original control building, and a memorial room. It also encompasses 11 permanent stone sets, an exterior stone pulpit, a stone entry, perimeter walls, and many stone monuments and facades faced with concrete and native stone to resemble the Holy Land. The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.
Chronicle photo by Lisa Carroll