Colorado History and Genealogy Project





Catholic Churches ~ Colorado ~  1870

Before the organization of the Territory the churches, in what is now Colorado, were under the jurisdiction of the Right Rev. Bishop Miege, of Leavenworth, Kansas. Bishop Miege transferred his jurisdiction to Bishop Lamy, of Santa Fe, who retained the charge until 1868, at which time Bishop Joseph P. Machebeuf, formerly Vicar General of the Territory, was appointed Bishop of Colorado and Utah, and assumed the charge, which he now retains.

In 1860, Bishop Machebeuf and Father John B. Raverdy came to the Territory as missionaries. They both had charge of the whole Territory for nearly three years, without any clerical assistance. When they came to Denver there was no church, but there was one in course of erection, which was soon completed and occupied.

Central City

Early in 1860 a mission was organized in Central City, a most beautiful location selected, a frame chapel built, which was attended, every two weeks, from Denver. In 1863 a permanent pastor was appointed, and preparations have been made for schools and a hospital under the care of the Sisters of Charity.


In Georgetown a most commanding and central block was secured, some improvements made, and a church is now being built; and a permanent pastor will soon be appointed.

Boulder County

In Boulder County, on South Boulder creek, a beautiful farm has been secured for the benefit of the church, a monthly visit made to the Catholic settlement, and a church will soon be erected for their accommodation.

Colorado City and Pueblo

At Colorado City and Pueblo good locations have been selected, and a church will be built, during the spring of 1871, at Pueblo. At Trinidad, Culebra, Costilla and Conejos, in San Luis Park, churches have already been erected and parishes organized.

Golden City

In Golden City a neat frame church was erected, in 1866, on a fine block generously donated by Hon. W. M. Loveland and Judge Johnson. Preparations are also made for schools, etc.

In the southern part of the Territory, where there are from 10,000 to 12,000 Catholics (mostly Mexicans), four parishes have been organized and seven priests appointed to attend to their spiritual wants.

The diocese of the Bight Rev. Bishop Machebeuf includes Colorado and Utah. His residence is at Denver. The church at Denver is in charge of the Rev. Father McGrath; that at Central City in charge of the Rev. Father John B. Raverdy; and the one at Salt Lake is presided over by the Rev. Father John B. Foley.


St. Mary's Academy, under the direction of the Sisters of Loretto, was established in 1864. The property of the institution comprises one and a half blocks of ground on California Street, between E and F Streets, Denver. When this property was purchased there was located on it a building, a private residence. Since that time the Sisters have constructed a large brick building, which was partially destroyed by fire in April, 1869, and rebuilt the same year, with a third story, with capacity to furnish ample accommodations for thirty boarders, and will be further enlarged to meet the wants of this rapidly-growing Territory. There are at present, at the school, thirteen Sisters, who have charge of all the departments. Every branch of education usually included in a seminary course, with the modern languages, is taught at this school. This institution has been liberally patronized by all classes, and is amongst the first in the Territory.

Another flourishing school was established, last spring, at Trinidad, under the care of five Sisters of Charity; and two more such schools will be opened, during the spring of 1871, by the same Sisters, in Conejos and Costilla, in San Luis Park.

Rocky Mountain Directory & Colorado Gazetteer

Source: Rocky Mountain Directory and Colorado Gazetteer, 1871, S. S. Wallihan & Company, Compilers and Publishers, Denver, 1870.


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