The church grew out of a Sunday school founded in 1887 by Mrs. Robert Lamont and Mrs. James Walker. The Sunday school met in the Harman Schoolhouse at 4th Avenue and Columbine Street. The growing congregation, originally named the Union Congregational Church of Harman, organized in 1888 with Rev. W.L. Gilman as the first pastor. The congregation initially met in the Harman Schoolhouse, but soon moved to a space over the Boot Grocery Store at Clayton Street and 4th Avenue. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed that building and all congregational materials, except the communion service, shortly after they began meeting there.
During the ensuing four years, the congregation met in a tent, a building in the 100 block of Detroit Street, and a two-room house at 4th Avenue and Steele Street. The congregation saved enough money to purchase a property at 4th Avenue and Cook Street for their future church site. They completed a new church at 4th Avenue and Cook Street, and after several name changes, the congregation dedicated it as the 4th Avenue Congregational Church in 1892. Though the church location was near the end of the trolley line from downtown Denver, the area surrounding the church was still partly undeveloped prairie. The congregation arrived via dirt streets and paths, from farms and city residences. This church was a neighborhood fixture from its inception with members, including the children, actively involved. Starting with a gift of 5 cents each, the children of the church invested in various enterprises, such as growing radishes or making ice cream, that astonishingly were successful enough to buy the church bell.
In the early 1960s a merger of the Congregational Church, the Christian Church, and the Evangelical and Reformed Church occurred. Due to the merger, in January 1964, the congregational name was changed to the Sixth Avenue Community Church (United Church of Christ). The legal name later became Sixth Avenue United Church, though the common name is Sixth Avenue United Church of Christ. From the early times of constant moves and name changes to the present, the congregation has shown determination and flexibility to adapt to changing times and events. Those traits, in turn, have allowed the Sixth Avenue Community Church congregation to persist and to care for their historic building at Sixth and Adams.
The 1925 Sixth Avenue Community Church meets the requirements for the National Register as an excellent example of Mission-style architecture as applied to an ecclesiastical building. The prominent hipped roof square tower with iron balconies, curvilinear shaped parapets, and rounded arched windows are the most character defining features of the style found on the church. Other features of the style include a gabled roof, terra cotta decorative elements, and overhanging eaves with decoratively cut exposed rafters. The church is the work of distinguished Colorado architect William Norman Bowman whose work includes over 35 known buildings in the state.
William Bowman (1868-1944) was born in New York and held a variety of positions prior to moving to Denver, including a carpenter’s apprentice and apprentice to several building and architecture firms. Bowman served as president of the Colorado chapter of the American Institute of Architects from 1917-19. He was also an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, Masonic Lodge, El Jebel Shrine, Knights Templar, and the Motor Club of Colorado. Through the course of his career, Bowman designed many prominent buildings from hotels to courthouses in Denver and throughout Colorado. Bowman participated in the design of the Denver City and County Building as part of the Allied Architects Association. Bowman’s work spanned numerous architectural styles popular in the early 1900s, including Beaux-Arts; Classical Revival; Neoclassical; Mission/ Spanish Colonial Revival; Georgian Revival, and others. The list below is a partial list of his credited buildings: Montview Presbyterian Church; State Office Building; Byers Junior High School; Fairplay Hotel; Park Hill Methodist Church; Cosmopolitan Hotel; Denver Telephone Building; Gates Rubber Company buildings; Seventh Avenue Church, etc.
William Norman Bowman submitted Specifications for the Church to be built at Sixth Avenue and Adams Street March 21, 1924. Shortly thereafter in 1924, construction of Sixth Avenue Community Church began and was completed in 1925. The gymnasium portion of the building was completed first; church services and community functions were held there while the sanctuary was being finished, concluding with the final installation of the 10 stained glass windows. The congregation of the church has met continuously in the building since its dedication in 1925.
Sixth Avenue United Church of Christ || © 2017
303.377.0173 || email@example.com
3250 Sixth Avenue, Denver, Colorado 80206