Our History


 

Although evidence from archeological sites in and near Golden indicates the earliest inhabitants came here about 3000 BC, the first written mention of the Golden area was by a hunter who camped here in 1843 and reported to his eastern friends that he had seen gold flakes in Vasques Fork (now Clear Creek). Until George Jackson panned the first gold in Clear Creek there was little activity in the Golden area. Jackson and Tom Golden, a merchant who probably gave the town its name, wintered here in 1858-59. By February of 1859 others had discovered the area and in June of 1859 the first developers appeared, a mining and trading group called the Boston Company. In July of 1859 “Golden City” was founded.In 1862 Golden was chosen as the capitol of the Colorado Territory. For five years the Colorado legislature held its sessions in the Loveland building, which still stands at the corner of 12th and Washington Avenue.As early as 1860 the Reverend Lewis Hamilton had visited the Golden area and organized a “Presbyterian Society”. Our Golden church was one of many Presbyterian churches founded by the colorful and dynamic missionary, the Reverend Sheldon Jackson. During the latter half of the 19th century, Jackson’s foresight, vision, and perserverance saw him establish the church across the central and western United States. As “Superintendent of Missions for Western Iowa, Nebraska, Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Utah”, Jackson founded the Golden Church on Monday, March 7, 1870. There were four members on the first roll. The first pastor was the Reverend J. Gibson Lowrie. The congregation met in the courthouse preceeding the move to their new building, which was dedicated on June 16, 1872. Additional construction was accomplished in 1892 (the manse), 1898, 1929, and 1947 (the social hall). The completed structure now houses the Foothills Art Center, and is located at the corner of 15th and Washington Avenue.

In June 1955 initial plans were made to study the future life of the church, with special emphasis on the adequacy of the existing facilities. On January 30, 1956, the congregation voted to purchase a new four-acre site on the south edge of Golden. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on June 2, 1957, and construction began on September 10, 1957. The new building was dedicated on May 18, 1958. In 1960 a Long Range Planning Committee was appointed by the Session to study the existing needs and projected growth patterns. On the basis of the committee’s recommendations, funds were pledged and plans were made for the present narthex and education building, with construction being completed in 1964. The mortgage was burned on March 30, 1980! In 1982 a generous donation from a church family created the Gertrude E. Miller Room, named for our first woman elder. This same donation also provided for extensive landscaping. In 1985 another family donated a new public address  system for the sanctuary. The Wright Memorial Window was installed in the sanctuary in August of 1986, made possible by gifts given by church members and other friends in memory of Dr. Kenneth Wright, who served the church from 1971 to 1983.

In 1985 Dr Miriam (Mimi) Dixon came to our church with a passion for the written Word of God in Scripture and a commitment to shape congregational life around the living Word of God present in Christian community. Under Dr. Dixon’s leadership we have deepened our commitment to partner with the Together Churches of Golden to serve our local community even as we have extended our reach to sponsor 190 children and their families in Rwanda, Africa.  Our decision to do as Jesus would do in our place best describes the DNA of our congregation.

Even though the names, the numbers, and the pastors who have guided our congregation have changed through the years, our Christian spirit has burned strong. The members of First Presbyterian Church of Golden have faced the changes and challenges and continue to praise God’s name and do His work as Followers of Christ carrying His love and truth into the world.