|Historical Fund Grant
Helps Local Church Celebrate German Roots
Oriega, Marcy. "Historical Fund Grant Helps Local Church Celebrate German Roots."Reporter-Herald, 5 April
A classic example of Gothic Revival architecture
in Loveland shines bright as new following a six-month-long
Weathered by time and the elements, the almost century-old
First Congregational Church at Lincoln Avenue and
Eighth Street was in need of extensive restoration.
Thanks in part to a $165,530 grant from the Colorado
State Historical Fund and $56,472 in donations from
church members, phase 1 of the renovation process
Members of the congregation will host a rededication
ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday, with a potluck to follow.
The community is invited to attend the special service.
The church is much brighter now, and we want to celebrate
what weve accomplished, said Cindy Sauer, church trustee
and restoration committee member.
The history of the church is rich in German culture
Fleeing persecution from Russia, farmers of Volga
German descent emigrated to the United States at the
turn of the 20th century and settled in the Midwest.
Many were drawn to the Loveland area to work in the
sugar beet industry.
Several of the early immigrants organized the original
First German Congregational Church and erected a building
at 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue in 1903. Within
a few years, the congregation grew to more than 250
members, and a larger building was constructed at
its present site in
Portions of the old structure were moved to the new
building, as was the steel alloy bell, which still
rings each Sunday.
In the late 1950s, the church was renamed the First
Congregational Church, reflecting the changing demographics
of the congregation.
Since the renovation project started in September,
contractors, architects, electricians, masons and
volunteers have worked over the entire exterior of
the tan brick building.
The church, which stands two stories high with a
20-foot bell tower, has been cleaned from top to bottom.
The brick has been remortared and repaired, and missing
bricks were replaced.
Because mortar used at that time was delicate, a
cleaning solution recommended by the State Historic
Fund had to be used, Sauer said.
The original leaded stained-glass windows, crafted
in Germany and painstakingly shipped to Loveland in
the early 1900s, have been polished to reveal vivid
rainbow hues and patterns. Also, laminated glass panels
were installed outside to protect the windows.
According to Sauer, some members have adopted many
of the 30 windows, usually in memory of a loved one,
and money collected from that program will be used
for more restoration projects.
Members hope to raise money to install recessed lighting
within the church to illuminate the windows at night.
Our goal is to be able to apply for another grant
in October, Sauer said. Well hear next spring and,
if approved, will begin work next summer or fall.
In renovation phase 2, members plan to restore the
podium, now covered with gray carpeting, to its original
Workers also will strip the white paint from the
double doors to reveal the natural wood.
The doors stand about 8 feet high and are fashioned
in traditional Gothic style with metal ornamental
I think its a fantastic project, said the Rev. James
Watson, pastor of First Congregational.
Not only is it a unifying project, the energy it
has generated has spilled off into other programs,
so that the restoration is a metaphor for the actual
restoration of the church community.
The 93-year-old First Congregational
Church at Lincoln Avenue and East Eighth Street has
just undergone a complete exterior restoration that
cleaned and repaired its bricks and stained-glass
windows. Phase 2 of the restoration could begin sometime
next year. Reporter-Herald/Jenny Sparks