“I asked a miner if there was any church,” A. D. Richardson wrote of Central City in his 1869 account, Beyond the Mississippi. The miner replied: “No, but we are going build one before next Sunday.” Steepleless St. James is a reminder of how miners hustled to give instant cities respectability. St. James traces its origins to a July 10, 1859, service, making it the oldest Protestant congregation in Colorado. An earlier log church burned down and two false starts delayed efforts to erect a grander replacement. Among stalwarts in the congregation was Aunt Clara Brown, a former slave turned washerwoman, who had held services in her home and helped build this bulwark of native stone with Gothic and round-arched openings. M. H. Root, a local stonemason, constructed the church. Inside it is adorned with stenciled wallpaper and has an 874-pipe, tracker action organ that was operated by water power until 1932. The well-maintained sanctuary, illuminated by beautifully detailed stained glass windows, seats 400 in eighty oak pews.
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St. James Methodist Church
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