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About the Criterion Group PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 25 August 2008 15:50




What is the Criterion Group?

The Criterion Group is currently inactive, but in previous years its members played a key role in fighting to save some of the city's endangered historic structures. The preservation community has had both success stories and heartbreaks. They successfully united to save the Walnut Avenue Bridge in Bricktown and the Gold Dome at NW 23 and Western. But they were unable to save the downtown YMCA or the Belle Isle plant. Their mission was to advance historic preservation efforts within Oklahoma City’s historic Grand Boulevard Loop.

In 1910, Oklahoma City developed a comprehensive plan to enhance the quality of life for its residents. A portion of that plan involved the construction of a grand boulevard to ring the city. Over time, this loop served as a significant landmark for construction and development of the city. Today, the remainder of this loop serves as a significant collector of the city’s historic resources. The Criterion Group, Inc. was formed in response to the loss of significant resources and inappropriate development within this historic loop.

The Criterion Group is named for the Criterion Theater, arguably the most ornate theater in downtown Oklahoma City.  It was built in 1921 for $700,000 and was torn down in 1973.  The theater was located at 118 W. Main, now ab empty "mall" and parking garage attached to the Sheraton Hotel. The information in "Preserving OKC" represents a "how-to" guide assembled by the group and displayed on its  old web site.

What the Criterion Group did:

  • Actively promoted the architectural and urban resources within Oklahoma City’s historic Grand Boulevard loop through occasional and ongoing projects.  One of our first projects was to conduct an architectural and historical survey of the public schools in the Oklahoma City School District.  This project is the first step toward placing these historically and culturally significant buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.  It will also potentially provide tax benefits if the buildings that can no longer be used are conveyed to private owners for rehabilitation.
  • Actively participated in researching public policy which enhances the protection and re-use of historic resources.
  • Provided tours, seminars, and informational materials to educate members and the citizens of Oklahoma City in matters relating to historic, architectural and urban resources.
  • Recognized members and non-members for exemplary efforts in these matters.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 February 2009 03:36