Copyright © 1987
Printed by Master Printers, Salida Colorado.
Typesetting and layout by author
It is a privilege to write a word about this history compiled by Dick Dixon. His service to his parish is invaluable.
In these pages will be found an inspiring and fascinating story of visionary pioneers at work founding and building a church. To these pioneers we owe a great debt of thanks.
Each of us is familiar with a part of the story of Ascension, but all of us will see the full story for the first time in these pages. It is my hope that you will read and ponder our history, and in so doing, find a new and deeper sense of the mission of the Church of the Ascension as we enter our second century.
I pray that this mission will be strengthened and enlarged in the years ahead, and that all who read this book will give thanks for an arm of the Church, of which Jesus Christ is the Head as well as being Lord over a promising future, fully confident of God's presence. He who has never forsaken us will continue to lead, if only we will continue to follow.
I gladly commend this book to all readers !
Donald Royce Hickman
Rector of the Episcopal Church
of the Ascension,
Church of the Ascension is a place to find and develop a saving relationship with God. We are a friendly, Christian family, being drawn together by teaching and the Eucharist.Let us enjoy your company in our fellowship with GOD and our Worship. You will find it easy to become involved in our caring, praying, sha4ring, friendship, healing and acceptance.
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Into The Second Hundred
Church of the Ascension is already on its way into its second hundred years and it's on firm footing. The original "temporary" building, constructed 102 years ago and outgrown more than ten years ago, is retired to chapel status. It sits amid an Episcopal complex of which founders Amy Graves and Caroline Starr Balestier would have been proud - and amazed.
On the east is a new stucco, tile roofed building of worship that would have seemed almost sinfully luxurious to those who scraped together $2,000 for the first little frame building. The new one has a choir loft and an organ. There is carpet under the feet and padding under the knees. Etched glass windows admit morning and evening sunlight and there is room for more than 200 worshipers. A 58-foot high tower holds a historic bell and there's room for two more - a challenge for current parishioners.
Ascension Church is home for 122 communicants who overflowed from the little frame building into the new one in December 1981. As they poured into the new building, they brought with them a few bits of history to make the new one seem like home. They brought the steel cross, hand- forged and donated in 1896 by Rio Grande Railroad mechanic C.G. Johnson.
They brought an oil painting of the Ascension of Christ which was done by Josephine C.F. Catlin in 1892. It was done as a memorial to Amy Graves Ohl soon after her death.
Parishioners also carried into the new church an old, yellowed and wrinkled document in a battered frame - the consecration paper for the old church, dated May 19,1887.
On the west of the first little frame church stands the brick rectory, built in 1888 and remodeled most recently in the winter of 1986-87 for Fr. Don Hickman, his wife Lorena and their daughter Jean. Behind the rectory is the education building, renamed after its earlier use as parish hall.
There is room for parking cars - something that never had to cross the minds of Miss Graves and Miss Balestier. There is a garden and a grove of quaking aspen - a luxury that early parishioners didn't even allow themselves to dream of.
Between the new and old churches, in the shadows of both, is a columbarium - final resting place for parishioners since 1983.
Although the centennial celebration of Ascension Church is being dated from the consecration in 1887, the parish put down roots four years earlier. Those roots were well established - nurtured in private homes and fertilized in the back room of a saloon.
So it was that Ascension Church was, in reality, four years old when it received its official "send off" by Bishop John Franklin Spalding. So it is that Ascension Church is into its second hundred years.
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It Started Behind A Saloon
Miners and railroaders swarmed into Salida, spending their money mostly in saloons and brothels which, for a time, threatened to out- number legitimate businesses. Freighters plying their trade between the rail yards and mines in the mountains alternately swore colorful oaths at the deep mud or clouds of dust on the main streets of town - F Street and First Street. The clatter of carpenter's hammers seldom ceased, and occasionally a hastily thrown together building collapsed on its contractors before it was completed.
Salida was a typical frontier supply and railroad town and had every intention of maintaining that status. Fights were too numerous to mention. Shooting scrapes were common and at one time in 1883, the editor of the Mountain Mail commented that the town seemed to be getting some civilization - there hadn't been a murder that week.
Although the town was new, dirty, rough, uncultured and constructed of little more than slap-dash frame buildings, it was inexorably moving toward respectability. This was partly because of its prosperity.
It was a good place for businessmen to set up shop. Restaurants, hotels, groceries and mercantile stores, lumber yards, tailor shops, druggists, doctors, a plethora of lawyers, and even an opera house all grew up in the "respectable" portions of town, although in those early years, the saloons and red light houses reached from the Arkansas River as far"uptown7" as Fourth Street.
Most of the businesses not connected with the tenderloin district prospered also. Owners sent back east, calling for wives, sweethearts, sisters, mothers and children to come to Salida. And they came, almost in droves.
Schools and churches vied with one another for which would be established most quickly.
When "Mary Jane" arrived, Salida's wild and wooly days were numbered as these women went quietly about their task of civilizing the frontier. In a time before women enjoyed many rights, they exercised their influence through their men folk who did have a say in government. The wild element was slowly forced into a sort of tacitly recognized district of iniquity with its center running along Front Street - where Sackett Avenue is today.
Almost from the beginning, women were instrumental in founding the variety of churches that Salida boasts today. So it was that Amy Graves, daughter of a Salida businessman and her girl friend Caroline Starr Balestier who was visiting from Boston that summer of 1883, decided there should be religious services for Episcopalians. The young women started an Episcopal school with four students in July, 1883.
They met first in homes and as the word spread and their “congregation” grew, they sought a larger meeting place. They talked of starting an official church, but realized it would take money and organization to accomplish that dream.
Miss Graves and Miss Balestier called a meeting in September, inviting "several influential women" of the city. They formed the nucleus of the support group which would eventually become Ascension Guild. Their first meeting was held in the newly completed Monte Cristo Hotel - erected by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad on the north bank of the Arkansas River, just east of the F Street bridge.
As the group grew, free use of a room in Craig's Opera House was offered. The opera house was located on the northeast corner of Second and F Streets where Lallier Pharmacy is today. Advertisements of Episcopal prayer meetings and Sunday school classes looked respectable enough in the newspaper when they noted sessions would beheld in "the Opera House.” Miss Graves and Miss Balestier regularly scrubbed the rough board floor of the small room in the back of the building on their hands and knees before services.
In reality, the location was less than satisfactory. What the advertisements didn't say was that the opera house was upstairs. The church meeting room was downstairs - separated from a combination meat market and barroom by only a thin wooden partition. The place was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and much of the noise, music and conversation which penetrated the wall from the saloon wasn't conducive to serious meditation and prayer.
The Rev. Charles H.B. Turner, who arrived Jan. 19, I886 and was in on some of the last services held in the opera house before the congregation moved into its new church, was a bit indignant. He wrote, "The services have been held in a room under the opera house and back of a barroom and butcher shop. The partition separating us from the above named places is so thin that conversation is distinctly heard in our room, and that of a very offensive kind."
5 & 6
Despite the inconvenience, things were good. In less than a year, the founding women could see tangible results from their efforts. They
continued writing to Bishop John Franklin Spalding to request a priest. Spalding was a frontier Bishop in every sense, traveling by horseback and on foot before arrival of railroads, to service far-flung congregations. He was friends with a number of Indians and it's possible the Bishop met Chief Ouray of the Utes on a sojurn in the Salida area.
Responding to the query from Salida, Bishop Spalding directed the Rev. Thomas Duck of Gunnison to begin holding services in Salida.
Advertising was liberal, and when Fr. Duck arrived June 22, 1884, he found a morning attendance of l00 people and an evening house of 150 worshipers - including 25 Episcopal communicants. Between services, Fr. Duck held an afternoon baptism.
Anticipating a large crowd for that first service, and no doubt a bit fearful of the sounds that emanated from the saloon, the Craig Opera House location was temporarily abandoned. Women made arrangements with the Methodist-Episcopal congregation to borrow the newly completed building owned by that group. Those first Episcopal services were held in the small frame building across the alley from the present Ascension Church education building. At that time, however, the frame structure was located where the brick United Methodist church now stands.
Following services that night, Fr. Duck helped members of the congregation form a committee to establish a permanent church. Byron Graves, father of Amy, was secretary of the group and Daniel Creamer was treasurer. They corresponded with Bishop Spalding, seeking a more permanent arrangement.
The women's guild, as yet unnamed, met again on June 26, 1884, following Duck's first visit. Like the first meeting, that one was also held at the Monte Cristo Hotel and officers were elected. Mrs. E.A. Thayer was president. She was assisted by Mrs. D.P. Cherry, vice president; Mrs. H.C. James, secretary, and Mrs. E.H. Bemand, treasurer. Their third meeting was held July 8, 1884.
By July 17, the women were advertising in the Mountain Mail that they were selling protectors for shirt cuffs and coat sleeves. Cost was 25 cents and 35 cents. Money was earmarked for the church building fund.
Throughout that summer, Fr. John Gray of St. George's Church in Leadville and Fr. Duck held services every other week, using the opera house location. Bishop Spalding preached at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the opera house room on July 13. A collection was taken up before the service. The money was given to the saloon proprietor who agreed to close his establishment while the Bishop spoke.
When the "hush money" succeeded that first time, it became fairly common for a collection to be taken up early and passed to the bartender who then cleared his establishment for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, services continued to be held every other Sunday and attendance regularly included at least 20 communicants. While the search for a minister continued, former Colorado Territorial Governor Alexander Cameron Hunt (1867-69), one of the founders of Salida, offered to donate lots on G Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets for use as a church building site. A meeting was held at 2 p.m. July 13, 1884, in the City Clerk's office and for some unrecorded reason, Hunt's offer was declined.
It wasn't until February 3, 1885, that William Van Every, an avid Episcopalian, deeded a lot on Second Street near the opera house, to the parish. He suggested it be sold to finance purchase of land which would be suitable for a church building.
Fr. J.B.C. Beaubien of Philadelphia arrived in Salida November, 1884, to serve the "Episcopal Society of Salida" and on November 16, the Mountain Mail announced Craig Brothers were continuing to donate use of the room beneath their opera house for the "Church of the Ascension." It was the first public mention of the name that the church now bears. Within another week, November 23, 1884, Salida was established as an Episcopal Mission.
Bishop Spalding returned December 11, 1884, when three people were confirmed. In addition, the Bishop gave formal recognition to the new mission. First vestry members were Daniel Creamer, D.F. Brown, Byron Graves, Henry Smith, H.J. Burghardt, J.H. Nonamaker, D.H. Craig (one of the opera house brothers), and a man recorded only as McGovern.
Lots at the present location at Fourth and E Streets were acquired sometime during the winter or spring of 1885 and a foundation was laid but no construction on a building was started. The foundation froze and its mortar crumbled. It had to be torn out.
As if there might have been something wrong with the way things were handled earlier, the parish decided to start anew, and this time do it correctly. They decided to have a cornerstone laying ceremony even before starting another foundation. Services were held at 2 p.m. April 6, 1885.
Bishop Spalding arrived from Leadville on the noon train. He was assisted by Fr. John Gray and Fr. J.B.C. Beaubien. A procession formed at the Methodist-Episcopal church about a block away and marched to the cornerstone location for the new Ascension Church.
The mayor of Salida, followed by all the city council members led the procession. They were followed by trustees of the church, two representatives of the Mountain Mail, Bishop Spalding and other clergymen, and last, members of the congregation. The open-air ceremony was conducted from a platform, fitted with a borrowed organ.
The Mountain Mail noted that "an excellent choir furnished good music. The Bishop performed the ceremonies in a very impressive manner. The 'Te Deum' was sung, and (the) Rev. Gray delivered an eloquent address, followed by some appropriate remarks by the Bishop."
Articles placed in the cornerstone included a paper listing names of the Bishop and clergy present, the President of the United States, Governor of Colorado, Ascension Church officers, women's guild members, city and county officers and the principals and teachers of city public schools.
In addition, there were copies of the Mountain Mail, Living Church, Salida Real Estate Guide, Church Press, Western Churchman, Book of Common Prayer, a copy of the last annual report of the Bishop of Colorado and a copy of an opera house program which detailed the most recent school entertainment.
That evening, Bishop Spalding preached an "eloquent sermon" at the site. When the story ran in the Mountain Mail April 11, 1885, the reporter noted that, "Salida is to be congratulated on having a society able to build as handsome an edifice as they will erect. The Mail is always pleased to note the prosperity of every institution that has taken an interest in our city and especially this enterprise. The Mail joins with everybody in wishing that the chapel may soon be constructed and that our good friends and Episcopalians may have a place of worship worthy of them."
After the night service, founding fathers met again, as per resolution approved April 1. They elected new vestrymen. They were J.H. Nonamaker, William Van Every, C.F. Hayden, D.F. Brown, H.R. Smith and H.J. Burghardt. The Mail reported that instead of completing the organization of a parish, the vestry accepted the recommendation of the bishop who attended the meeting, and formed a mission congregation.
Work on the new foundation was completed May 7,1885. In the interim, Haight and Chenowith were named contractors and price for the building, less its foundation, was set at $1,040. The building, parishioners said, would be "temporary" and it was decided that frame construction was adequate.
Church records show the vestry decided to "erect a building in which to hold services, that might be used as a school or sold after we had succeeded in building a church."
Lumber came from a sawmill near Denver and was hauled by wagon across South Park. The structure would hold l00 people. The altar, made of California redwood, was donated by Amy Graves. Miss Balestier gave a massive cross of rolled brass.
Final cost for foundation, building and furnishings came to $2,000.
Writing several years later, Fr. Charles H.B. Turner said that those first altar hangings and appointments were "exceedingly elegant, a number of them gifts of friends of the church in New York City."
No records were kept of when construction was complete, but Fr. Turner began holding services in the new building in late January, 1886. Records differ, but construction was completed with a debt of between $250 and $500.
The new building was consecrated May 19, 1887, more than a year after the parish moved in. By then, it was debt free. Again, Bishop John Franklin Spalding presided, assisted by Fr. Augustine Prentis of Leadville who preached the consecration sermon. In the evening, Fr. D.C. Potter of Canon City preached.
It's a good thing the church moved from its opera house location and farther "up town," because the opera house and several blocks of the business district were destroyed by Salida's second major fire which occurred January 2, 1888.
Ascension Church indirectly benefited from both the conflagrations. Not only did flames wipe out many of the flimsy buildings in the tenderloin district, forcing it to withdraw to Front Street, but the fires forced people to rebuild with brick as prevention against another fiery disaster. Yards for turning out brick sprang up along the South Fork of the Arkansas River south of the city. They turned out millions of soft, red bricks.
Determined to make the best of the fires and insure permanence for their town, there was a flurry of brick construction. One of the first private homes to be erected that summer was the rectory which is located beside the frame church building. Deacon John Wallis Ohl arrived June 10, 1888, beginning his 17-year tenure as rector of Ascension Church. The parish needed a place for him to live.
Planning for the rectory began in August 1888. September 25, the newspaper reported walls were nearly complete. Plastering inside began October 12 and contractors were predicting the house would be ready for 10- occupancy by November 1. It evidently took a few weeks longer to complete because Fr. Ohl didn’t move in until December 12.
The rectory, “one of the most elegant residences in the city” according to the Mountain Mail, cost $1,085 and the parish took a ten percent loan on $800 to complete the work. By 1890, principal on the loan was down to $500.
It’s interesting that Fr. Ohl moved in as paint was drying in mid- December 1888 and that Fr. Don Hickman and his family found themselves in a similar situation Christmas eve, 1986, almost 99 years later. Like Ohl, Hickman wasn’t installed in his new job until several weeks later.
Fr. Ohl’s name became synonymous with that of Ascension Church. Before he came to Salida, however, Ohl became interested in being an Episcopalian during his association with Fr. Duck. Ohl first started a Sunday school and then a weekly newspaper in Crested Butte, but moved to Aspen when Fr. Duck vacated that church to begin holding more regular mission services in Salida.
Ohl, a deacon by then, followed Duck first to the booming town of Aspen and then to Salida. It was inevitable that Ohl would meet Amy Graves. The two were married at 7 p.m. June 26, 1889, in a ceremony conducted by Bishop John F. Spalding in Ascension Church. Things happened quickly for Ohl. He was priested in the same little frame Salida church on September 18, 1889, and held his first communion September 22.
Meanwhile, Caroline Starr Balestier, almost as active in the foundation of the church as Miss Graves, moved to England and eventually married Rudyard Kipling.
Amy didn’t live many years to enjoy the fruits of her labors. She died April 5, 1892, following birth of the couple’s second child. After her death, Rev. Ohl’s mother and sister came to live with him and raise the children. During his time in Salida, the rector was also Chaffee County Chaplain and Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Chaplain.
Probably because of his journalistic interests, one of the things Ohl did was start a printed parish newspaper in 1889. It was called the Church Guide. He clipped a number of articles from the paper and pasted them into the parish register to help record history of Ascension Church. In addition, he started a church yearbook. A 16-page, slick paper example of that work dated 1899-1900, survives in Salida Museum. Printed by D’Unger and David, the yearbook was paid for through advertisements. Among pictures is one of Fr. Ohl on the first page. Vestry members that year were Julian DeWitt Whitehurst, senior warden; William Dargavel, junior warden; William W. Roller, James Alexander Davidson, Edwin H. Hively, Charles F. Catlin, Francis H. Droney, clerk and layreader; and Mrs. William W. Roller, parish treasurer.
Parish auxiliaries listed in the book included Ascension Guild, Saint Mary’s Guild (launched the fall of 1888), Saint Agnes Guild, the Altar Guild, and Ascension Sunday school.
Stained glass windows were installed in the church just in time for celebration of Christmas and the New Year – December 20-31, 1886. The six windows were all made of frosted glass, surrounded by panels of rectangular stained glass. Four of those original windows are still in place. They were a handmade gift from Mrs. E.A. Thayer and the Mountain Mail said they ”reflect the skill of Mrs. Thayer in painting.”
Within two years, she was called upon to remake one of the windows. It was dedicated to ”Mary, Bennie F. and Scottie, children of William and Lou Van Every.” Both upper and lower sashes were done in ornate floral patterns. Death dates for the children may reflect a diphtheria epidemic which was rampant in the city that winter. 51 Mary died November 26, 1887; Bennie on December 11, 1887 and Scottie died on. January 8, 1888.
The Mountain Mail again praised the work, “a gift of Mrs. Emma Homan Thaver,” and said it was “proof of the artistic ability of this gifted lady.”
Her talents were called upon again when Amy Ohl died April 8, 1892. The window in the center of the west side of the church is dedicated ”In memory of Amy Graves Ohl.” Its floral pattern identical to that designed for the Van Every children, replaced the rectangular stained glass put there six years earlier.
A third memorial window is dedicated ”In memory of Bertha Van Norman Lore Graves, wife of Byron Homan Graves, daughter of George R. Van Norman.” She died April 17, 1898. There is no record of who painted that memorial, but it was done in the frosted portion of one of the windows with the rectangular stained glass panels. It doesn’t match the floral patterns designed by Mrs. Thayer.
Rod Farney, Salida High School art teacher, rejuvenated faded and flaking paint on each of the memorial windows during the Salida centennial celebration in 1979-80.
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The Interim Years
Ascension Church plowed into the years, surviving the Silver Panic of 1893. It continued to grow through the hard times which lasted until the turn of the century and then moved into the more optimistic atmosphere of the 1900s. Fr. Ohl left in 1905 and was succeeded by a series of priests who built on the 17-year tradition he provided.
Before effects of the Great Depression had a chance to really be felt in Salida, the vestry voted, during the summer of 1932, to undertake an extensive improvement program for both church and rectory. Both were repainted and rewired and a combination garage and coal shed was built.
On April 13, 1935, three trees which shade the entrance to the original church were planted. They were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Harold R. Koster and the two nearest the entrance of the church are memorials to the confirmation of their children Frances and Wallace Harold, who would eventually become a member of the Colorado House of Representatives, died February 2, 1987, and his ashes are interred in the columbarium on the south side of the new church.
In 1936, curb and gutter were added on the Fourth Street side of the property. Curb and gutter on the E Street frontage were placed sometime earlier.
Fr. George Peek arrived in 1950. He was just out of the United States Navy and Seabury Western Seminary. At his urging, the vestry again remodeled the rectory. Probably the most outstanding physical accomplishment for Ascension Church during the tenure of Fr. Peek was installation of the huge stained glass window in the front of the little frame church. It depicts Christ healing the sick and was made by Maitland Armstrong (1836-1918).
The window was 52 years old when the church received it from the Denver and Rio Grande Hospital where it was installed in 1900. It was given to the hospital in memory of Helen Hoffman Coppell. In 1952, the hospital board of directors decided to remodel the ward, replacing the stained glass with clear glass so that patients could have a view of the mountains. Dr. C. Rex Fuller and Richard E. Carroll acquired the window to keep it in Salida and it was installed in the church by Butala Construction Co.
While the heavy piece of art was being transported the few blocks between the hospital and the church, it was insured for $60,000. Mrs. W.C. Alexander, in an effort to learn more about the work, wrote to Hamilton Fish Armstrong, son of the artist.
In his reply March 24, 1952, Armstrong wrote that his father ”was an artist who specialized in stained glass, mosaics and murals. He was a great friend of Saint Gaudens (the Irish sculptor), Vedder (an American painter and illustrator), and other artists of that period and played a good role, I think, in the development of American art and taste.”
The letter continued, ”Some of his works are in important churches in various parts of the country, and though I can’t speak of this particular example which is now in your church in Salida, I think I can say without boasting that his work is considered among the best ever done in that medium in this country,.”
Because of the tremendous weight of the window and the soft lead which binds hundreds of pieces of stained glass, the window began to sag. In the 1970s it was reinforced with horizontal rods to prevent further deterioration.
Ascension Parish House, known in 1987 as the education building, was built in 1959. It was dedicated May 15, 1960 by Bishop Daniel Corrigan and a party of assistants. Fr. Kenneth W. Davis was Ascension rector.
Located behind the rectory, the 60x26 foot building faces Fourth Street. It was built in Spanish mission style with a white stucco exterior topped with a red Spanish tile roof. It was built on two levels with the lower floor originally housing six church school rooms, restrooms, and an office and small chapel where week-day services could be held. Upstairs was the gathering hall and a kitchen.
During the dedication, Bishop Corrigan quoted Saint Bernard, ”A fool is a man who prays for everlasting life and yet doesn’t know what to do with himself on a rainy afternoon.” During the ceremony, he admonished the congregation that the hall should be used not only for church activities, but should be shared with the community.
Among organizations which have used the parish house through the years are the Chaffee County Speech Clinic, Alcoholics Anonymous, Senior Citizens, Chaffee County Nurses Organization and Episcopal Ascension Teenagers.
In the 1960s, soon after completion of the parish hall, talk – which surfaced periodically through the years – returned to building a new church. The original building, parishioners felt, ”had a limit to its endurance.” Writing for the Pueblo Chieftain Lacy Humbeutel said in 1965, ”For a number of years there has been talk of tearing it down and building a more modern structure. Recently the Rev. William C. Zeferjahn, parish priest, appointed a building committee to study the possibilities. It is hoped that a Spanish mission type church, in keeping with the parish house design, can be built in the near future.”
Lack of money stalled the project, but when the parish hall underwent extensive remodeling during the mid-1970s, thoughts turned again to a new church. Although there was still no money, the size of the congregation made services uncomfortable at times. Special occasions and funerals frequently overflowed into the parish hall.
Salida moved into its centennial year with fireworks and a flurry of activities which included many of the churches in the city. Probably the biggest thing Ascension offered during that centennial celebration was ground breaking for a new church. Before that, however, parishioners participated in ”heritage Sunday,” sponsored by the Salida Centennial Committee.
Preaching and singing’ in Ascension Church April 13, 1980, was anything but fresh and modern. In fact, most of it was a century old. In spite of the age of the rituals, members of the church emerged smiling in less than the two hours which would have been required of them 100 years earlier. United Methodist and First Christian Churches held separate, but similar services that Sunday.
Clothing worn by most of the people was hard to distinguish from what would have been in vogue in 1880. Little boys squirmed uncomfortably in too-short pants and coats and wore brogan shoes. Little girls looked dainty in long dresses, bonnets, aprons and lace. Mothers outdid themselves with furs, capes, shawls, huge flat brimmed hats and tiny little head coverings which looked more like fruit salads.
Men wore Grand Army of the Republic type military regalia, top hats, bowlers, tails, ruffled shirts and leather chaps. Below the knees, a few of the men appeared with miners’ or cowboy boots, heavily scuffed. There was the jingle of spurs.
Music wasn’t too different and included a lot of old favorites, but some members of the congregation said they simply hadn’t realized that old favorites were that old. Episcopalians celebrated an abbreviated eucharist which 100 years ago would have been two hours long. The service was read from an 1866 Book of Common Prayer which was owned by Amy Graves. The sermon was a much-shortened version of one delivered 57 years earlier and was presented by Rob Webb, grandson of the Pennsylvania author of the piece. The Rev. Edward Rouffy officiated at communion.
More than half the Ascension congregation turned out in aged, but stylish finery, some of it provided from the collection of Mary Rawson in Poncha Springs. Those who participated said Heritage Sunday helped them to ”get in the spirit of things to come” for the Salida Centennial blowout.
In a few cases, it was difficult to tell if the fancy dressers were more enthusiastic about their old duds or the fact that for the first time in several weeks, the sun shed chilly, but welcome light on the day. It was the last really big celebration held in the little frame church before ground breaking ceremonies signaled start of construction on the new church.
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Wishes Into Action
Planning for a new church became serious in 1979 when the vestry received a gift of $10,000 for use in renovation of the old church building. Members couldn’t decide how best to spend the money and the matter simmered for a time until it was decided maybe that was the time to get serious about a new building.
Search of available assets showed a major source of construction money could be provided by sale of stock in the First National Bank of Salida. The stock – donated earlier – was sold for $120,000.
With that nucleus around which to accumulate money, the vestry hired architect Joe MacMillan. His estimated cost for the building envisioned by people of the parish was $245,000. The vestry began a building fund campaign based on gifts and pledges from parishioners. The pledges were payable over a three-year period, beginning in January 1980.
In a booklet explaining the financial situation, senior warden Tal J. Ruttum wrote, ”To raise $115,000 over and above our church budget is a tremendous challenge indeed.” He suggested that gifts ”should be liberal enough to make you pleased with the giving: Give until it feels good.”
Colorado Bishop William C. Frey bolstered high local morale and wrote, ”It isn’t too often that the church outgrows its building, and I rejoice with you in your problem! I believe the strength and the growth of Ascension Parish is a sure sign of the Lord’s activity in your midst, and of your vital response to His presence, and I commend you in your endeavors to provide more adequate facilities for your common worship and life. I pray that many will give unstintingly of themselves, of time, talent and treasure as you take this new step of faith.”
Parish rector Fr. Edward Rouffy put efforts in perspective when he told parishioner ”The challenges of the new church year (1980) are legion as God calls His Christian soldiers to embark on a campaign of service that will proclaim His victory visibly in our community.” Rouffy added, ”Give gracefully that we can better serve and make witness of God’s love to His people and thereby grow in obedience to His commands. This church year can be one of the most exciting we have ever known as we walk with our Lord and make His life truly known through our life together.”
As the effort continued, vestry members visited with officials of Temple Baptist church of Salida to learn how that congregation paid for its new building in an extremely short time.
Enthusiasm, backed by faith, encouraged the vestry to plunge into the project before fund raising was complete. Bidding wasn’t done when the decision was made to start work – in fact the only two bids in hand were those for the labor on framing and plumbing and heating. As work progressed, vestry members – voting to begin another construction phase – often prayed, and reassured themselves, ”He will provide.” He always seemed to be just one step ahead of construction which moved more rapidly than most people earlier hoped.
A city-wide moratorium on sewer taps was lifted just long enough that Ascension Church managed to gel, the first of only a few issued before the ban was re-imposed. A complicated quiet-title suit emerged from the overlap of two old city subdivisions, and although it could have been a serious hindrance to construction, things worked out so that the quiet-title decree was issued in May. 1981, a year after ground breaking.
On May 14, 1980, on the eve of the Feast of the Ascension, ground breaking ceremonies were held. A cold blustery wind whipped steady rain and Bishop William Frey presided at the 7 p.m. ceremonies from under an umbrella. Despite the weather, there was a good turnout to watch, but among the people there were more than a few hoping that the stormy weather wasn’t a harbinger of things to come.
After the Bishop turned a shovel of soggy earth, other activities were forced indoors to the frame church. Bishop Frey confirmed Marigay Allen, Judy Mehos, Alan and Mona Morris of Salida and Julie and Peter Hupper of Grace Church in Buena Vista. Readings and lessons were done by lay reader and chalice minister Harold l.ewis and lay reader Picie Hylton. Prayers were led by James Brown and lay reader Pamilla Dixon.
Music was provided by the Aileen Gregg Handbell Ringers and by a brass ensemble. Ringers, directed by Wendy Petty, included Kelly Brooks, Alan Fansler, Debbie Finck, John Hergert, Isaac Maestas, Christopher Petty, Stephen Rouffy, Troy Gonzales and Troy Manchego. The brass ensemble, directed by Arlin Buller, included Robert Cook, Dan Eller, Charles Glenn, John Hoag, Kathy Molaski, John Orthel and Stewart Rubertson.
Construction began soon after with the church serving as its own general contractor. Volunteers dug the basement and poured concrete footers, walls and floor. Pre stressed concrete main floor slabs and framing beams were set with cranes September 17, 1980. Labor, equipment, materials, furnishings, food for volunteers and other construction necessities were donated or furnished at cost by a number of people and firms, some connected with the church and some with no church affiliation.
Some of the companies included were Y&K Excavation, Hylton Lumber, Lowry Crane Service and Avery Structure, George Pallaora, Ed Miles, Eugene Emery, Reynolds Construction, Lou’s Electric, Argos Plumbing and Heating, and construction supervisor Bob Meckel.
Dozens of individuals donated labor, tools, skills and ideas as the project continued. Meals and coffee break refreshments were frequently brought to the site by women and children.
By the time construction was underway, Alta Proctor the first woman to serve on the Salida vestry, was senior warden. Alan Sulzenfuss was junior warden and headed the building committee. Other members of the committee, selected for various areas of construction expertise, were Don Kaess, Earl Fansler, Picie Hylton, Bob Finck and Jim McCormick. Ex-officio members of the committee who attended nearly every meeting were Mrs. Proctor, Fr. Edward Rouffy and Harold Lewis, vestry treasurer.
Earlier, a number of smaller committees were set up to provide input to the main construction group, but, no accurate records were kept of members of these groups who did their work and quietly disbanded.
With construction complete, Bob Finck was lau ded as the person who probably put in more total hours than any other individual. It was primarily Finck who was responsible for fabrication of the 58-foot high bell tower. It was fashioned from beams donated by Elmo Bevington, following plans drawn by Ray Hosford.
The entry, of which the tower is an integral part, was designed by Alan Morris who also designed the curving memorial walkway between the old building and the new. It would soon be the location for the columbarium and officially became ”All Souls Walk.” Jim McCormick was a regular construction volunteer and helped guide less experienced laborers.
Progress was measured partly by the checkbook balance. By September 29, 1980, $133,570 had gone into the building. At that time, the budget was $190,000. By July 28, 1981, fund raising had the budget up to $199,955 and of that, $196,373 was spent, leaving a tight working balance of $3,581. Income continued to stay just ahead of construction costs until the vestry decided that the basement should be finished rather than being left for completion at a later date.
The church borrowed $30,000 at nine percent interest in September 1981. For the next five years, the congregation whittled at the debt, and finally in late fall, 1986, an anonymous donor – apparently unable to stand the suspense – paid off the balance of about $4,500. Months before its centennial celebration, Ascension Church was debt free.
As the modern church rose from its hole, it changed the face of Salida. A number of less visible changes were taking place for Episcopalians on the national and local levels. The spring 1980 progress edition of the Mountain Mail noted a few. Alta Proctor, in addition to being the first woman on the vestry, received special dispensation from the Bishop and became a chalice minister. Other women were moving into regular worship services including Anne Hylton who became the second woman on the vestry. Pamilla Dixon became a lay reader and chalice minister behind Mrs. Proctor. Other chalice ministers in that first local class initiated by Fr. Edward Rouffy were Harold Lewis, Picie Hylton and Alan Sulzenfuss.
Speaking for the progress edition, Mrs. Proctor said, ”I’m no women’s libber. It just happens that they asked me to do it. It’s my way of working for the Lord.”
Rose Patterson, a member of the Ascension congregation for more than 50 years and organist for 15 years, commented in the same edition about changes in the church at the national level. She said, ”We’ve much to say about women in the priesthood, homosexuality and we’ve changed our prayer book.”
Concerning the charismatic movement in the Episcopal church, she said, ”We have the traditional hymnal, which is one of the greatest in the world, but we also have more modern music which appeals especially to youngsters. The music is often written for guitars and we have quite a bit of guitar music in the church.”
Mrs. Patterson, who researched and wrote a history of the church in the 1950s, explained tradition was changing – including practices of Salida parishioners. She said women were getting away from use of head coverings although ”some female members may don a piece of lace.”
Construction extras were added and money seemed to appear from nowhere, making it almost impossible to determine a final cost. One of the most controversial features came early and concerned a ramp along the side of the building so that handicapped people would have access. Some favored installation of an elevator indoors.
As work neared completion on the outside of the building, Alouise Howerton, head of the grounds committee, began planting low juniper bushes and turning the space between the two churches into a colorful garden. Work eventually included a grove of quaking aspen trees. Paved parking was provided at the rear of the building.
Anxious to use even a portion of the unfinished church, parishioners tolled the 300 pound bell for services for the first time on January 10-11, 1981. The 58-foot tower dwarfed the 95-year-old frame church next door where services were held. The bell was used during communion for the first time on May 31.
John Davis, a parishioner employed by the city, spotted the bell at the city water treatment plant where it was being used on the grounds as a flower pot. Ascension representatives asked if the city would donate the bell to the church so it could be returned to more conventional use, and city fathers agreed.
Although records are hazy” it appears the bell in Ascension tower came full cycle in about a century. It may have been women of Ascension Guild who donated the bell to the city in 1884. Fire alarms then were sounded by firing a pistol or blowing train whistles in the rail yards. Ascension women believed purchase of a fire bell would be a good service project.
The bell fell in the ashes of the firehouse in at least two fires which swept downtown Salida and was never returned to its customary place in the firehouse tower after the fire of 1886.
Ascension records show that ”Salida’s first fire bell” was donated to the church by Alice Louiza Crozier Hawkins. There is no further record of the bell but it was never hung in the frame church or placed on a post on the grounds. It disappeared for almost a century before Davis found it at the Salida water plant. Markings indicate it is likely the same bell.
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It’s Time To Use It
Although the new building was a long way from complete, members of Ascension Parish celebrated their first mass in it May 31, 1981 – a little more than a year after ground breaking and 96 years after the first ”temporary” frame building was started. It was prophetic that the church received clear title to the land that same month following more than a year of legal work by Alan Sulzenfuss.
Usual trimmings were missing from that first celebration – things such as carpet, pews, altar, altar rail and finished walls. Worshipers happily made do with folding chairs, swept bare concrete and a decorated table. They ignored the lack of doors and the holes in the walls. Flowers and smiles brightened the interior so that no one noticed bare- bulb construction lights dangling from the ceiling.
Because the tiny church next door sat only 80 people, members of the congregation were incredulous as they looked around and discovered more than 150 people turned out. Music was provided by the Ascension Church Handbell Choir and a combo of guitars and flutes. No one missed the organ which was silent in the old building. For the first time, parishioners enjoyed the sound of a choir resounding from a loft at the rear of the building and no one noticed that the railing was a makeshift affair of a few 2x4s topped with a piece of old sisal rope.
In his sermon Fr. Edward Rouffy explained that, in the modern world, there was really no need for an altar rail for serving communion. In earlier times, he said, the railing was for protection of the priest who was in danger of being overrun by eager worshipers. He added that lattice work, which later developed into wooden rood screens, was originally designed to keep animals from eating from the altar.
Mass was a joyous occasion and a number of congregation members said they didn’t realize how crowded they had been in the old building. They enjoyed cake, coffee and punch in the spacious basement after the service and noted that it, too, suffered from lack of completion. It was about this time that vestry members began considering the loan which would enable them to finish the basement.
Scaffolding, rolled to one side of the sanctuary to make space for the congregation, testified to continuing construction. Fr. Rouffy emphasized that services in the new building weren’t going to be regular yet, but were held to recognize a year of progress.
Interior work continued through summer and fall. Basement completion included a huge kitchen with two sinks, a furnace and storage room, rest rooms, and a small group meeting room. Carpet covered the floor in time for a wedding reception. The main portion of the basement parish hall is almost twice as large as the one in what is today the education building.
With red tile roof and stucco in place on exterior walls, the building’s namesake mural – which was in planning and construction for almost a year – was installed the weekend of September 12-13. It took a fork lift, two sets of two-story scaffolding and labor of almost a dozen men to hoist the three-section redwood rendition of ”The Ascension of Christ” onto the west wall.
Measuring 25 feet high at its apex, the mural was painted on two-inch thick redwood planks by artist Raymond Hosford of Salida. Hosford was a commercial artist in Chicago and came originally from central Nebraska where he loved farm life and farm people. That love of strong people is captured in much of his work; including the figures in the Ascension mural.
Other local works by Hosford include the mural on the inside south wall of Chaffee County Bank. It depicts the history of Chaffee County.
Speaking of the Ascension mural, Hosford explained, ”The life-size figures depict strong men. Jesus and the apostles were laborers and fishermen and I tried to show that strength in the mural.”
The work began as a sketch, was turned into a one-quarter size working drawing, and finally transferred full-size to chalk designs on the tongue and groove redwood. Hosford said a friend, Bob Mailander, routed the figure outlines, and the grooves were filled with black paint. Vertical lines between the planks, Hosford envisions as similar to lead separations in a stained glass window.
The mural was dedicated May 16, 1982, Rogation Sunday. The ceremony was in conjunction with the first Holy Communion for six young parishioners – Michael and Kathryn Clear, Benjamin and Samuel Vena, Anna Lea Hergert and Brian Allen. Fr. Rouffy said the dedication was appropriate because Rogation Day is set aside for prayers for the earth and for bountiful crops.
Ceremonies included an outdoor procession asking for God’s blessing on the church exterior where first impressions are made. followed by prayers of dedication of the mural. Prayers of thanksgiving for the landscaping in front of the church and for the gardeners who would soon be planting and caring for flower gardens were offered. Bob Schroeder of the Soil Conservation Service presented slide shows at two services that morning.
During the winter, between completion of the mural and its dedication, the main church building was dedicated December 20, 1981. Ceremonies were conducted by Bishop William Frey and Suffragan Bishop William Wolfrum. A number of local touches were included in the ceremony such as the use of a red-hot branding iron by each of the Bishops who burned small crosses into the wooden threshold of the main entrance.
Fr. Rouffy said, ”It added a little bit of a western touch, which I think is fitting for our area.”
As part of the celebration, Bishops blessed all the furnishings. Music included organ and brass ensembles, flutes and guitars, the Ascension Handbell Ringers and pealing of the bell from the tower.
A crowd, estimated at 300 people, turned out. They filled the building past capacity. A parish party, which included a light supper, followed the formal ceremonies. Rouffy explained, ”The people of the parish didn’t want a tea and crumpets affair. This was a real parish wing-ding.”
Prior to the dedication, volunteers labored until late hours almost nightly for several weeks completing detail work. Carpet was installed the week before services. Pews, furniture and altar, made from a full truck load of Arkansas oak, were made by the Mill and Cabinet Shop and Hylton Lumber in Salida. They were moved in right behind the carpet layers.
Comfortably moved into the building, parishioners continued to work to turn it into the dream they envisioned earlier. They were continually surprised at how far they were able to stretch their money, resources and volunteer labor – providing far more, sooner, than any of them hoped.
The columbarium was initiated in August, 1982, in the garden and walkway between the two churches, An unidentified church member told the Mountain Mail on August 31, ”We’re trying to get back to the old tradition of courtyard burials. Similar burial programs are offered at Saint John’s in Denver and at Saint Luke’s in Fort Collins.”
Prices ranged from $100 for burial in a common crypt to $300 for a family crypt. By the end of August, several vaults were sold and construction began soon after. Church records show the first person buried in the columbarium was Thomas French. He died June 15, 1982 and was interred October 12, 1983. By March 1987, records showed remains of five people buried in the columbarium.
Still, parishioners were moving in and making themselves comfortable. Plain glass windows were replaced with etched glass the week of October 25, 1982. They were paid for by an anonymous donor. Fourteen windows, crafted by Susan Ragan and Diane Seals, portray stations of the cross in a journey based on events that happened to Jesus Christ after he took up the cross.
Mrs. Ragan, whose hobby was glasswork, said the project began several months earlier. She explained, ”Fr. Rouffy talked to us about doing some windows for the church. He gave us several booklets that illustrated the stations of the cross and asked if we could come up with something.”
Rouffy approved the sketches and each was enlarged to the size required for panes of glass. Mrs. Ragan continued, ”We sketched the designs on contact paper and attached each to the individual window. Then we cut out the area to be sand blasted and peeled that paper off, leaving the basic design on the glass.”
She said that 17 windows were prepared, but that three were broken during slow and tedious sand blasting.
”Moving in” was essentially complete, and members of Ascension Church settled down to refining and improving what they had done – and using and enjoying the fruits of their labors, sharing them with members of the community. There were dinners, fund raisers, a parish yearbook photography session, numerous slide shows, entertainments, private school fund raisers, potluck dinners, meetings and special occasion dinners and coffees.
Thanksgiving dinner November 22, 1984, was a light-hearted occasion and it was difficult to determine who enjoyed it more – those who prepared the free meal or those who consumed it. There wasn’t a strong dividing line between cooks and consumers because many of the volunteers brought their families. When initial serving was done, they sat down to the meal themselves. Dining visitors saw that servers were busy with their own meals and helped themselves to seconds.
A crew of more than ten people worked two days preparing the meal, but workers said it was ”hard to nail down” who worked when, because ”People just drifted in and out when they had time to help.”
Some guests couldn’t afford to prepare their own meals and were appreciative of the chance at the holiday cuisine. Many who ate at the church said they were simply looking for companionship and didn’t want to eat alone at home or in a restaurant.
And there were the volunteers and their families who said they thought eating the meal at the church ”was at least as much fun as eating at home.” One volunteer said, ”Cleaning up the mess after this one won’t be any worse than it would be at home for a whole lot fewer people.”
Gina Kolbeck brought her guitar and entertained with a series of Thanksgiving ballads. Most of the food and trimmings were donated – some by individuals, some by businesses and restaurants in Salida. Three turkeys collectively weighed in at 55 pounds, along with a couple of hams which added 30 pounds more meat. There were 50 pounds of mashed potatoes, a case of green beans, salads, rolls, coffee, tea, and so many pumpkin pies they literally filled a 4x8 sheet of plywood which became a serving counter in the corner.
The event was coordinated by Joan Pugh and Pam Schnackenberg, wife of Ascension Rector Jerry Schnackenberg.
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BISHOPS OF COLORADO
1860-1865 – The Right Reverend Joseph Cruikshank Talbot.
1865-1873 – The Right Reverend James Maxwell Randall.
1878-1902 – The Right Reverend John Franklin Spalding.
1902-1918 – The Right Reverend Charles Sanford Olmsted.
1917-1946 – The Right Reverend Irving Peake Johnson.
1921-1949 – The Right Reverend Fred Ingley.
1947-1955 – The Right Reverend Harold Linwood Bowen.
1955-1969 – The Right Reverend Joseph Summerville Minnis.
1960-1973 – The Right Reverend Erwin Burton Thayer.
1973-Present – The Right Reverend William C. Frey. (Diocesan)
1981-Present – The Right Reverend William H. Wolfrum. (Sufragan)
CLERGY IN CHARGE OF ASCENSION
The Rev. Thomas Duck (Gunnison) – June 22, 1884 - August 24, 1884
The Rev. John Gray (Leadville) – July 20, 1884 - July 27, 1884
The Rev. J.B.C. Beaubien – November 1, 1884 - June 1, 1885
The Rev. Joseph L. Berne – October 24, 1885 - November 15, 1885
The Rev. Charles H. B. Turner – January 19, 1886 - December 31, 1886
The Rev. G.W. Hinkle, – February 18, 1887 - December 1887
The Rev. Henry Dunlop – early June, 1888
The Rev. John Wallis Ohl (first rector) – June 10, 1888 - June 22, 1905
The Rev. Carroll Matthews Burck – December 1, 1905 - Jan. 20, 1910
The Rev. Alex Corbett – March 10, 1910 - Sept. 19, 1910
The Rev. Charles William Griffith Lyon – December 1910 - May 26, 1914
The Rev. Frank Frederick Beckerman – June1914 - July 15, 1919
The Rev. Denzil Clarke Lees – August 28, 1919 - September 30, 1920
The Rev. Charles Arthur Burritt – December 1, 1920 - May 31, 1922
The Rev. George Grierson Hoisholt – August 14, 1922 - Jan. 14, 1924
The Rev. Philip Nelson – March 9, 1924 - October 26, 1930
The Rev. George Bingham Oakes – September 6, 1931- February 16, 1941
The Rev. Herbert Edson Covell – March 16, 1941 - April 28, 1946
The Rev. Theodore Alfred Bessette – November 17, 1946 - August 29, 1948
The Rev. George Hooper Peek – July 2, 1950 - August 30, 1953
The Rev. Eric Alfred Clifford Smith – October 4, 1953 - July 25, 1957
The Rev. Kenneth William Davis – January 19, 1958 - September 30, 1962
The Rev. William Charles Zeferjahn – February 3, 1963- October 14, 1968
The Rev. Edward Albert Rouffy – May 1, 1969 - September 20, 1982
The Rev. Gerald Lee Schnackenberg – January 2, 1983 - August 31, 1986
The Rev. Donald Royce Hickman – December 14, 1986 – Present
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From Past To Future
Research by a number of people turned up a variety of material that didn’t fit comfortably in other portions of the text. It includes information about guilds, current vestry members, Ascension Church centennial committee members, Diocesan Bishops and ministers who have served Ascension Church into its second century.
ASCENSION GUILD – was founded by Amy Graves and Caroline Balestier who established the first Sunday school for Episcopalians. They put out the call for women to form an auxiliary group which held its first meeting in September 1883. ”Several influential women” of Salida attended and the meeting was held at the Monte Cristo Hotel. There are no minutes of that first gathering, but records show the women met a second time, on June 26, 1884, just three days after Fr. Thomas Duck of Gunnison held his first service in Salida. The group still did not have a name.
Third meeting of the group – when a name was likely selected – was July 8, 1884, and nine days later ”Ascension Guild” advertised its sleeve protectors in the Mountain Mail. The organization has continued under that name. In recent years, Ascension Guild meets monthly on first and third Fridays except during the summer. Membership is not restricted to church members. Ascension Guild was instrumental in starting the Altar Guild and in making vestments for the priest.
BEREAVEMENT COMMITTEE – members became active April 9, 1984, following action initiated by the vestry. Chairman of the group is Pat Warner who said purpose is to provide bereaved families with refreshments in their homes or in the church. Between June 1984 and the end of 1986, the committee served full meals or cooperated with other groups to provide for ten bereaved families of Ascension Church. Mrs. Warner said, ”While the families have appreciated this act of kindness, it also gives all of us who contribute and work much satisfaction.” Caring and sharing group members on the first committee were Alouise Howerton, Ellen McCormick, Miriam Middleton, Maxine Paquette, Jo Salberg, Nina Sheeley, Viola Underwood, Pat Warner and Nancy Weber. Members of the group called upon (or planned to call upon) every member of the church to help with food or finances, serving or cleaning up.
SAINT ANNE’S GUILD – was founded January 23, 1951, by 13 women who met with Fr. George H. Peek for approval and election of officers. Donna Champlin was named president and was assisted by Valdee Stewart as vice president. Betty Cable was secretary and Viola Underwood was treasurer. Dues were 25 cents per month, but later were raised to $5 per year.
The guild was. named for Saint Anne because she kept the faith and prayed constantly.
First project was covering the kneeling benches in the frame church, and although there was no money, the women held a bake sale, book review, took donations and dipped into dues to complete the project. A gift basket was started. The basket was passed from member to member, collecting food and financial contributions, but mysteriously disappeared. Women in the group still wonder in whose closet the basket is hidden.
Fund raisers through the years included food sales, decorated Easter eggs, rummage sales, a summer basket, making baby things, making bazaar items in cooperation with Ascension Guild, making candles, card sales, feeding FibArk bands, catering dinners, tasting tea, making popcorn balls for Elks Lodge 808, hosting Lenten luncheons and chili suppers, and sponsoring the current Treasure Alley sale annually.
Saint Anne’s Guild has given money to the church building fund, out- fitted acolytes, contributed to Saint Anne’s Home in Denver and Saint Francis Boys’ Home, made gifts for the rectory, provided care packages for an Austrian family; provided clothing, money and food to several Indian churches in Utah; outfitted singers with choir cassocks, cottas and ”dinks” (caps). The guild paid for linoleum in the back room of the rectory when it was used as a nursery, paid annual dues to the church, purchased 36 of the 1940 hymnals, provided window shades for the parish hall and curtains for church school rooms, and gave chairs for the rector’s study. An annual tithe is sent to a needy organization and the women continue to purchase additional hymnals.
Membership in 1987 was 12 and summer meetings are cancelled.
Presidents of Saint Anne’s Guild have been Donna Champlin, 1951; Roxey Carey, 1952; Alta Proctor, 1953; Viola Underwood, 1954; Eleanor Fry, 1955-56; Mickey Davis, 1957-58; Nina Purcell, 1959; Kathleen Holmes, 1960-61; Peggy Davis, 1962-63; Ellen McCormick, 1964-65; Barbara Williams, 1966-67; Karol Reekers, 1969; June Gardunio, 1970-80; Viola Underwood, 1981-83; and Lenna Finck, 1984 to the present.
VESTRY MEMBERS – in March 1987 are Fr. Don Hickman, senior warden Jim McCormick, junior warden Pat Hoffman, treasurer Bill Fagala, clerk Sue Kaess, Karol Reekers, Helen Nachtrieb, Sharon Rich, Alta Proctor, Jack Glasby, Faire Feaz, Marigay Allen and Alan Sulzenfuss.
ASCENSION CHURCH CENTENNIAL COMMITTEE – held its first meeting February 4, 1987. Members included chairman Pat Warner, Fr. Don and Lorena Hickman, Maxine Paquette, Alta Proctor, Sue Kaess, Jim McCormick, George Howerton, Glenn Bordelon, Nina Sheeley and Dick Dixon.
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Books and Limited Publication Works:
Ascension Church. All Things Come of Thee. Fund raising brochure. 1979.
Ascension Church Dedication and Consecration. Program. 1981.
Breck, Allen Du Pont, Ph.D. The Episcopal Church in Colorado, 1860-1963. Denver:
Big Mountain Press, 1963.
Dixon, Dick. A Walking Tour of Five Church Buildings. On-site lectures. Aug. 7, 1975.
Dixon, Dick. Directory of Salida Church of the Ascension & Grace Church, Buena Vista. 1977.
Douglas, Winfred. The Diocese of Colorado and Its First Bishop and Dean. April 15, 1936.
Ground Breaking for the Church of the Ascension. Program. May, 1980.
Kaess, Sandy. Directory for Salida Church of the Ascension & Grace Church, Buena Vista. 1982. Lindbloom, H.S. & Pottle, J.T. Colorado Citizen. Denver: Old West Publishing Co., 1966.
Pasquale, Cynthia, et. al. 100 Years in the Heart of the Rockies. Salida: Arkansas Valley Publishing Co., 1980.
Patterson, Rose Boutwell. Ascension Church History, 1881-1957. Salida: church pamphlet, 1957.
Proctor, Alta. History of Saint Anne’s Guild. Unpublished research. Feb. 1987.
Rennie, Patsy. History of Ascension Church. Salida: church pamphlet. Also, newspaper publication, no dates or publication names preserved.
Shaputis, June & Kelly, Suzanne. A History of Chaffee County. Marceline, Mo.: Walsworth Publishing Co., 1982.
Warner, Pat. Bereavement Committee. Unpublished research. Feb. 1987.
Official Records and Artifact Inscriptions:
Ascension Church Memorial Windows
Ascension Church Columbarium
Ascension Church Parish Register, 1887-1987.
Ascension Church Vestry Minutes. 1910.
Davis, Ginger and other custodians . Ascension Church Scrapbook.
Sulzenfuss, Alan, ed. Ascension Church Construction Legal File. 1979-1983.
Colorado Episcopalian: June 1960, July 1961, Jan. 1980, Dec. 1981.
Mountain Mail and Salida Mail: July 12, 1884; Nov. 23, 1884; April 11, 1885; May 7,1885; Dec. 31, 1886; Sept. 25, 1888; Oct. 12, 1888; Oct. 19, 1888; March 27, 1959;Aug. 21, 1959; Dec. 23, 1959; June 19, 1961; May 12, 1972; Progress Edition, 1980;May 15, 1980; Sept. 14, 1981; Dec. 21, 1981; April 9, 1982; May 13, 1982; Aug. 31,1982; Nov. 5, 1982.
Pueblo Chieftain: Oct. 2, 1955; April 18, 1965; April 14, 1980; Sept. 20, 1980; Jan. 13,1981; June 2, 1981; Dec. 17, 1981; Nov. 24, 1984.
Pamilla Dixon, Fr. Don Hickman, Jim McCormick, Rose Patterson, Alta Proctor, Alan Sulzenfuss, Pat Warner.
The idea for Ascension Church, Into Its Second Hundred surfaced a few months before the centennial of the original consecration date and the first organizational meeting came February 4, 1987. There wasn’t time for exhaustive research and the committee relied on collective efforts to compile information.
This book, the committee hopes, provides a relatively accurate, somewhat complete chronicle of the first century of Episcopalians in Salida. As with all historical work, there are errors and omissions. Some omissions were planned because there just wasn’t time or space to mention every event and the people associated with it.
In some cases errors or omissions were accidental or were through a lack of information. To people who were left out, sincere apologies – and thanks. A close proximity to the present title was suggested by my son Shane on February 7 as we talked about the book. The next day, Fr. Don Hickman’s sermon dealing with the centennial celebration of the Diocese repeated the idea which was adapted to this booklet.
Special thanks are due Fr. Hickman, his wife Lorena, and daughter Jean who frequently dropped what they were doing to look up dates in parish registers, make manuscript copies, or do proof reading. They also served as a coordinating depository for information being provided by other people.
Alan Sulzenfuss, Jim McCormick and Rose Patterson each dug through their collections and came up with clippings, photographs, notes, records, and other types of information. Alta Proclor and Pat Warner each supplied histories of parish organizations and guilds. Sue Kaess did legwork for printing bids and provided a variety of lists. Shelly Lucero did much of the typesetting and Rob Lehmann helped with photography – both are members of Tenderfoot Times Salida High School newspaper and Le Resume’ (SHS yearbook) staffs.
As with many church projects, there was no money for this booklet. Thanks are due the vestry which gave its approval based on faith rather than the bank balance.
Thanks go to Eleanor M. Gehres and Auggie Mastrogiueseppe in the Western History Department of the Denver Public Library for their research and assistance. Norma Edlund, Serrell,a Reicher and Mclanie Berg at Salida Regional Library helped with research and document copying. Thanks goes also to Judy Micklich at Salida Museum. People in the composition room at. the Mountain Mail were extremely cooperative and helpful. I owe thanks to other members of the committee for their efforts at gathering information and money. Their ideas, criticism and suggestions were well founded and invaluable. And to those people I forgot – or didn’t know about – my apologies and heartfelt thanks.
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