First Presbyterian Church of Golden/Foothills Art Center


Address: 809 15th St., Golden, 80401

Located in the southern portion of downtown Golden, the Foothills Art Center building is distinctly different in character and historic context than the downtown area. The building has retained a much greater degree of historic integrity. The church building was constructed on June 16, 1872 as the First Presbyterian Church of Golden. Later it was converted into the Foothills Art Center in 1968. Originally there were two separate buildings, the church building and the parsonage. These two buildings were later joined together by a covered walkway. The First Presbyterian Church of Golden was founded in 1870 by the ever-colorful, circuit-riding missionary, the Reverend Sheldon Jackson. Reverend Jackson was a pioneer missionary who worked for the United States Government helping to select western Indian tribes to attend schools in the East. He also selected ethnological specimens that were later donated to Princeton University. The church was dedicated on June 16, 1872. The first elder of the church was E.T. Osborne. The prominent Golden businessman, W.A.H. Loveland, also attended the services at the church. The church exterior was constructed of red-orange bricks which were manufactured locally, with blond brick and stone trim. The building has a two-story tower on the northeast corner. The belfry has three Gothic-arched windows, corbeled brick and stone trim. It has brick buttresses with a Gothic-arched door and stained-glass windows. Eight of the beautiful, original stained-glass windows remain at the Foothills Art Center today. The foundation, buttresses, and window sills were made of hand-hewn sandstone. Several additions over the years have enlarged the Gothic-style building. The parsonage, built in 1892, was connected to the church in 1968 by a covered walkway. The building is a two-story Queen Anne style home. It has a hipped roof with cross gables. The first floor exterior is brick and the second floor exterior has shingle siding. The building has a rounded tower with an onion dome on the northeast corner. There is a new brick addition in the rear. The church building is one of the last remaining original church buildings and one of only a few existing structures built during the 1870s. The parsonage is a good example of Queen Anne style architecture and is important for its association with the church. Services were held continuously in the church until 1958 when the congregation moved to larger quarters. The building was then leased to the Unitarians for a while and became a cultural center for art shows, workshops, and classes. Because of the popularity of the art shows and the increasing interest in the Annual Golden Sidewalk Watercolor Show that the Unitarian congregation held, plans were made to convert the building into a community art center. The Foothills Art Center incorporated on April 19, 1968. A renovation program began with the donations of materials by merchants. Donations of time and effort were given by artists and other interested people. By July 1968 the Center was ready to display the art work from the Golden Sidewalk Watercolor Show. The show was co-sponsored by the Golden Chamber of Commerce. On August 3, 1968 the Center officially opened. The Center is a non-profit organization, supported by classes, memberships, donations, and gallery sales. The Foothills Art Center is unique because it is a living art center in the foothills region where people are continually participating in the exciting art happenings. Variety is apparent in the art classes offered at the Center and the ever-changing exhibits. The Foothills Art Center is a local landmark and has been listed as a City of Golden Historical Site since 1989. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (5JF418) on March 14, 1991.
Quad Map/Date: Golden, 1965 (1994)
Sec/Town/Range: S34, T3S, R70W
Elevation: 5600
Source: Ryland, Charles S., "For the Golden Times," p. 12; Simmons, Laurie et al, "1989 Survey of Historic Buildings in Downtown Golden," p. 20.
Other Names: Foothills Art Center, Unger House
Last Modified: Wed, November 28 2012
 


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