Century Chest Celebration

Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman, Copyright 2013

Mrs. Virginia Eason (Sohlberg) Weinmann removes first item from chest
which was the "Book of the City Builders"

On April 22, 1913, with the Lord's blessing, a burial ceremony took place at the newly built First English Lutheran Church (now First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City) at 1300 North Robinson.  Attendees heard speeches from the church pastor, Dr. Royer, Governor Cruce and other notable Oklahomans.  The purpose of the ceremony was to bury an 8'x4'x4' Century Chest filled with treasures from 1913 Oklahoma.  The funds raised in conjunction with the Century Chest burial went toward the purchase of the church's Moller pipe organ. The Andrew Carnegie Foundation provided the other half of the funding.  This very instrument has faithfully provided our worship services with beautiful music for the past 100 years.  Some of the contents of the chest include:

Indian relics, pamphlets and pictures

Pottery made from Oklahoma soil

Historical photographs

Original paintings

Original poems and musical compositions

Kodak camera shipped direct to the century chest from the factory

Oklahoma City newspapers

Forecast of Oklahoma City in 2013 by leading professional men

Several articles placed at the last moment and not listed

List of Donors to the Chest

720 Names of City Builders Handsewn on Quilt

On April 22, 2013, 100 years later, First Lutheran Church celebrated the opening of the Century Chest with an invocation written by Pastor Newton Royer read by Pastor Jerry Peterson; 1902 original music (The Lord is My Shepherd by Rowland D. Williams, choir director) sung by First Lutheran Choir; 1913 original poem (To Those Who Shall Come After by Louise Brooks) read by Mrs. Virginia Eason (Sohlberg) Weinmann and excerpts from original speeches were read by Governor Mary Fallin, Mayor Mick Cornett, and President of 1889er's Association, Billy Fogarty.  Mrs. Virginia Eason (Sohlberg) Weinmann (granddaughter of Mrs. Sohlberg who was the originator of the Century Chest) and her family were present for the celebration.  The transfer of custodianship of the chest has been given to the Oklahoma History Center where the contents are now in public display in The Century Chest Exhibit room.

You can view some of the pictures taken at the celebration on our Photo Album page.

If you want to view the program, OETA has made it available. There is an eight minute delay before the program begins.

For more additional information:

Visit the Oklahoma History Center website  

Yahoo News

NewsOK ndepth


AOL News

100 Years of History Revealed! Century Chest 1913-2013


The Century Chest Exhibit is now open to the public at the Oklahoma History Center.  At the exhibit's opening held on Monday, April 21, 2014 Pastor Peterson gave the following message.