126 W. 2nd Avenue
Sat 10AM–4PM, Sun 1PM–4PM
Architect: Charles Lee
Architectural Style: Richardsonian Romanesque and Craftsman
Year Built: 1891
Designation: Located in the Denver “Baker Historical District”
Photo Restrictions: No
The St Peter and St Mary Episcopal Church is a community center for the historical Baker Neighborhood. It is a good example of the distinctive Richardsonian Romanesque and Craftsman architectural style, and has been unchanged since if was first built over 100 years ago.
The building faces 2nd Avenue along the edge of the sidewalk on the south side of the street. The west side of the church is on the lot line and flush with a paved alley. The east side has a paved yard, and the south side (rear) has a narrow yard.
The building is compact and low to the ground all the while displaying the traditional characteristic of a church: bell tower, entry knave, and a sanctuary with a floor plan in the configuration of a cross. The 2nd Avenue face has a dominating hipped roof with generous overhangs and exposed rafters: the bell tower is a low square element projecting through the roof with it’s own roof with heavy corner brackets supporting the overhangs. The exterior walls are rusticated stone, and the west side and rear have been covered with stucco.
A community center addition was attached to the east side of the church in the 1940s. This building portion does not have a discernable style, however this contrast allows the focus to be on the historical church sanctuary. The walls are done in beige brick with non-articulated window openings. The east wall has four window bays defined by pilasters. The roof is a low side gable with a ridgeline intersecting the plane of the sanctuary roof.
The Richardsonian Romanesque style was practiced by the architect Henry Richardson as his interpretation of the historical Romanesque style of architecture. It was popular in Denver in the late 1800s and is best depicted by its use of heavy arches, rusticated stone masonry, and asymmetrical building massing.
The arts and crafts (or the later incarnation craftsman) style was popular during the late 1800s and through the mid 1900s because it was unpretentious and functional. The style was based on craftsmanship in construction and used simple building shapes, a rustic appearance, and native materials. There was emphasis in expressing the building materials and revealing how they were assembled to make the building.
Charles Herbert Lee is listed in the Directory of Denver Architects from 1890 until 1900. He had a brief partnership with Theodore Davis Boals from 1891 until 1894. One of Lee’s most renowned buildings was the L’ Imperiale Hotel at 314 14th Street constructed in 1892.
South Denver was a separate incorporated city in 1886 and was not annexed by Denver until 1894 after the church was built.
Architects of Colorado 1875–1950 Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation State of Colorado Historical Society: Joann Palmer & Ilene Bergmann; wwww.stpeterandmary.org; Guide to Denver Architecture 2nd Edition, 2013, Mary Volez Chandler; Thomas Sanders: site visit, Jan. 2017.