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Guthrie's State Capital Publishing Museum closed indefinitely

With funds lacking to replace a broken boiler for heat in the winter, the State Capital Publishing Museum in Guthrie has been closed indefinitely.
by Bryan Painter Published: November 27, 2012

— With winter approaching and a lack of funding to replace a broken boiler, the historic State Capital Publishing Museum building in Guthrie has closed indefinitely.

The building at 301 W Harrison is owned by the Oklahoma Historical Society and operated by the Logan County Historical Society in an affiliate program. Neither had $150,000 in their budgets for a new boiler, said Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

The decision to close was made in late October, said Melissa Fesler, director of First Capital Trolley, which is also operated by the Logan County Historical Society.

“I know we still worked on alternative heat options, but because of the age of the building and its historical value, we really couldn't come up with a way to heat the building's 50,000 square feet,” Fesler said.

Blackburn said at first it was thought the boiler could be repaired for about $60,000.

“Since our initial estimate on repairing the boiler we found out it cannot be repaired, it has to be replaced and the approximate cost of replacing the boiler is $150,000,” Blackburn said.

The State Capital Publishing Co. building was constructed in 1902, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society. It was the fourth home of the State Capital Co., which was organized in 1889 just before the first land run. Located in downtown Guthrie, the structure was one of the first in Oklahoma to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Inside the museum is a collection of original furnishings and printing equipment. Museum exhibits include the history of the State Capital Co., printing technology and other aspects of life from the territorial and early statehood era.

Mary Coffin, president and CEO of the Guthrie Chamber of Commerce, hopes someone will step forward with funding.

“There's so much potential in that building for so many things to happen there for our community,” Coffin said. “I just don't want to give up on it and I think everybody else is the same way. We've got a little snag, let's see what we can do to get past this and get it back open again.”

Coffin said it has been a popular stop during Christmas celebrations throughout December and is a starting point for the trolley tours.

In the affiliate program, the Oklahoma Historical Society provided the insurance and gave the county historical society a stipend for utilities and some administrative costs, said Chris Hirzel, president of the Logan County Historical Society.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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