Now for the next 100 years
Church opens 1904 cornerstone, prepares to refill it for 2104
On September 15, 1904, members of the First Congregational Church placed memorabilia in a cornerstone at the northwest
corner of their new church in Colorado City and cemented it away.
On Sunday, June 5 of this year, the congregation of that church - now the Pikes Peak United Methodist - gathered to watch the cornerstone being opened at 30th Street and Pikes Peak Avenue. Inside was a 4x4x8-inch, watertight metal box stuffed with a surprising amount of paper materials, all well-preserved.
The stone weighs 250 pounds, according to Larry Becker, owner of Pioneer Masonry Works, who had the job of breaking the cement seal and “rassling out” the stone. The fact that he had done this work in advance - to make certain the building and the documents were OK - was not announced, but became evident when he pulled out the metal box while the congregation stood at the northwest corner watching.
“They had duct tape back then?” an onlooker commented, at sight of Becker's modern resealing of the metal box.
Inside the church, the box's contents were placed on a table in the sanctuary for all to look at (but not touch). Items included a photo of the pastor at that time, Rev. Frank Hullinger; a photo of the new church's inside (with wooden chairs - pews not yet affordable); a Colorado City Iris newspaper from Sept. 9, 1904 (including a news item that his father had just died near Chicago); a Gazette from the same date; a church manual; two Chicago children's magazines; a postcard with a sketch of the church; a handwritten list of the congregation's 66 members; and a printed schedule for the 1904 cornerstone-laying event.
“I think it (the cornerstone) is really interesting because it showed when they built the church they expected it would last this long,” said long-time church volunteer Dixie Fields.
Both she and Rev. Rick Carpenter, the current Pikes Peak United Methodist pastor, were impressed by how many people came for the opening. “We had people who hadn't come since they were kids,” Fields added. “They were really intrigued with it.”
“We won't be here to see it, but you young ones, imprint this on your mind, the memory of this day,” instructed Rev. John Thompson, district superintendent for United Methodist churches, who was visiting for the occasion. He suggested to those children present for the occasion that they might live to see the next opening of the cornerstone in 2104.
Although the church has changed denominations over the years, it has existed without break since 1879, making it one of the oldest continuing congregations in the region. Before building their own church in 1904, early members often met in the original Colorado City city hall building at the northwest corner of Colorado Avenue and 29th Street.
According to Fields, the church did not open the cornerstone last September - exactly 100 years later - because of uncertainties about structural impacts to the building in removing the cornerstone.
At the cornerstone opening, members also got to hear plans for the next 100-year “time capsule,” which will include items important to the present-day church. According to church volunteer La Vada Brown, these will include a picture of Carpenter, bulletins celebrating the 100-year anniversary and cornerstone opening, a 2004 $1 coin, three American flag postage stamps (“so people will know what the postage was this year”), a picture postcard of the church, a list of all members and officers, pictures taken at the cornerstone opening, the church newsletter, a document on prices of current commodities, a DVD interview of church members, a poem by 69-year church member Claire Ruby about previous pastor Glenn McPherson and an article about the 100-year building anniversary from the Westside Pioneer of Feb. 3, 2005.
Westside Pioneer article