The Archivist: Church begins countdown to opening of its 'century chest'

Mary Phillips: The chest, with a treasure trove of items, was buried in the basement of First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City on April 22, 1913.
BY MARY PHILLIPS Published: April 23, 2012

The countdown has started. Next year will be one of anticipation for the First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City, 1300 N Robinson.

A century chest was buried in the church basement on April 22, 1913. The Oklahoma City mayor, governor and other dignitaries were in attendance when the time capsule was sealed. .

The church now has devoted a Web page to the century chest at and it includes a countdown clock.

Next year, on April 22, church members and other dignitaries will gather to open the century chest, which is not an ordinary time capsule. It contains a treasure trove of items that will fill a future column on their own.

Today, I want to introduce the young woman who was credited with “perfecting the plans for the chest” — Mrs. George G. Sohlberg, president of the church's Ladies' Aid Society.

Virginia Bland Tucker was born and raised in Missouri. After frequently visiting local relatives, she and her mother settled in Oklahoma City in 1890, two years after the Land Run.

She taught school until 1898, when she met and married George G. Sohlberg, founder and president of the Acme Milling Co. and civic leader.

In 1966, Joan Gilmore, Women's Editor of The Oklahoman wrote of Mrs. Sohlberg in conjunction with an Oklahoma Art Center Gala:

“At the time of her death in 1913, Mrs. Sohlberg was headlined in The Daily Oklahoman as ‘Active in Society' and was esteemed ‘One Of City's Most Queenly Women.'” The article about her describes her as “one of the best and most beautiful women ... one of the gentlest, the most cultivated members of society; her influence has been widely felt.”

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