Antelope Springs Methodist Episcopal Church

 

Antelope Springs Methodist Episcopal Church shortly after the 2019 fire.

 
Year Listed: 2020
County: Morgan County
Construction Date: 1915; 1932
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect – Vacant; Arson
Status: IN PROGRESS

 

The lovely Antelope Springs Methodist Episcopal Church, located on the Eastern Plains of Colorado, may have averted disaster thanks to the quick reaction of passers-by who noticed suspicious behavior and the fact that the building was on fire at 2:00 am on a Sunday morning last summer.  This led to the quick apprehension of suspects on charges of arson and an amazing response from firefighters who managed to save the structure before it was lost.  While the interior damage was relatively contained and the ceiling beams and portions of the roof suffered damage, the structure itself remains intact and can definitely be restored, which is exactly what a small but determined group of area residents intend to do.

The Antelope Springs church was built through community effort by local farmers and ranchers in 1915 and is the only remaining building from the Antelope Springs community.  A two-story addition with access to a full basement was built in 1932.  The church was used both for religious purposes and community meetings and holds many important memories for people in the area.  Many weddings, community potluck dinners, baby showers, family reunions, harvest festivals, and club meetings have been held at the church, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. 

The Wolever family and other locals have deep ties to the historic church

The church is now owned by the local Wolever family, who also dealt with personal tragedy prior to the fire when Kim Wolever’s husband Craig lost his life in an accident last year.  At the time, Kim and her mother-in-law Sharon Wolever were in the process of forming a 501c3 non-profit corporation for the purpose of restoring the church.  The goals of the effort will be to return the church to its role as a community center for the area and to share its historical value with area schools and organizations.

Building on the outpouring of community support that followed the arson fire, CPI completed an initial site orientation and helped facilitate a UC-Denver student-led structural and engineering survey with support from Deep Roots Craftsman. The building is currently protected with temporary mothballing, while CPI along with the property owner and surrounding farmers identify funding for roof repairs and interior restoration. One potential opportunity is to use restitution funds from the arson fire to match a mini-grant for the roof replacement. In the meantime, CPI will continue working with the community, hoping to plan a community cleanup day and possible Weekend Workshop at the site for 2022 or 2023. 

Learn more about the site by clicking on the video below from our program partner, CBS4.

 

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