COBWEB CORNERS: Churches, then and now

By Mel McFarland

       I enjoy the Old Colorado City History Center, partly because it is interesting to see it full of people when I give a talk over there. I have read of services in the building, from the days when it was First Baptist Church of Old Colorado City, that must have had people standing outside. When many of the Colorado Midland men who died in terrible accidents had funerals, people must have filled the place.
       My grandfather, his brothers, and a generation before them were preachers. I guess some of my interest is in my blood. It is interesting that there were lots of school teachers (including me) in the next generations.
       As I read the old newspapers, I see reference to the number of churches in our town. You always hear the stories of the Colorado City saloons, but there was no shortage of churches either. A while back I did a story for the History Center on Duncan Lamont, one of Colorado City's most colorful preachers. He was a minister in the Bethany Baptist church for many years. He eventually became a politician.
       The old newspapers also tell of the decline of the churches in the 1920s, '30s and '40s. If you look around, you can see others that were forced into different uses as the population of Colorado City fell in those times. The Colorado Springs churches reaped the benefit, but even over there churches were closing. I like to point out the site of an old gas station, now gone, that used to sit at Nevada and Colorado avenues. A hundred years ago there was a fine church, with a grand steeple, on that spot.
       The Bethany Baptist Church building is not, by any means the oldest, largest or even prettiest of Colorado City's churches. But the Old Colorado City Historical Society has put a great deal of work into restoring it since buying it in 1993, and its members hope to put its church spire back up again.
       Other old churches in Old Colorado City are still being used as churches. Some are in better shape than others. If you only go a block or so east from the History Center, you will see an old church in need.
       All the way down Pikes Peak Avenue to Limit Street, there are several examples of the fine little Colorado City churches. Unfortunately, others have vanished, much like some of the neighborhood stores.