Holder's Hideaway: Holy City of the Wichitas

LAWTON, OK (KAUZ) - Tucked away between mountains, the Holy City is a hideaway, that if you don't see the signs by the main road, you may miss completely.

Originally, the Holy City was located in Medicine Park back when it was founded in 1926.

In 1935, the city was moved to the refuge and finished in 1936.

"The founder, Reverend Anthony Mark Warlock, came out here and he decided he wanted to build a place that replicated the Holy Land. The WPA program came out here, that's the Workers Progress Administration, they came out here and built all these buildings out here and there was 150 volunteers that stayed on site to complete the entire Holy City," says Holy City caretaker Jordan Stevenson.

The city is on its 91st year of leasing the land from the Federal government and has to renew their lease every ten years.

All the structures on the ground are built from rock found around the refuge site.

The Holy City is also home to the longest running Passion Play in the United States.

"Each member of the Sunday School class, after that first one that they did, vowed to come back every year to do it. Well it got so popular everybody wanted to come out to see it, actually one year they had to turn back 30,000 people," Stevenson said.

The largest crowd the play has ever performed for was around 280,000 people in the 1940s, now about 6 to 7 thousand people attend the Passion Play every year.

There are two plays each year, one the day before Palm Sunday and the other one the day before Easter.

"As a child I took it for granted but now I've realized what a privilege it is to have places that show the Christian faith and what the Bible teaches about Jesus," Mary Blair, a visitor to the Holy City, said.

The Holy City showcases important pieces in the story of Jesus Christ from his birth to his resurrection.

One of the most iconic locations on the site is a chapel that was built along with the rest of the city in the 1930s.

The walls are four feet thick and feature paintings along the wall and ceilings done by Irene Malcolm.

"Irene Malcolm, who was the artist, she did all the artwork in the chapel. It took her ten years to complete the entire task and she funded the entire thing."