Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1st German Congregational Church

German-speaking people in Globeville came, not from Germany, but from villages along the Volga River in Russia. Perhaps because they had been persecuted for their religion in Russia, German-Russians wasted no time organizing churches in Globeville. The earliest of these was the First German Congregational Church.
The church was founded by people from the village of Norka and was known as "the Norkera Church."  The first structure, known as the shanty, was constructed at 44th and Lincoln in 1894 and was soon replaced by a larger brick building in 1896 or '97. As in the old country, life revolved around the church with Sunday services, prayer meetings, Bible studies and revivals. The services were held in German, and children attended "German school" after regular school during the week. Membership increased steadily and, in 1927, a larger church was built.
Throughout the years, attendance and contributions remained high, even as the neighborhood came under attack. The construction of I-25 and I-70 took the homes and businesses of many church members and led to discussions about relocating away from the neighborhood. A search committee purchased land at 5615 West 64th Avenue in Arvada and  the new church was dedicated in 1974. The former building in Globeville was purchased by the city of Denver in 1976 and is now home to the Globeville Community Resource Center.


Jess said...

Thanks for this post. I didn't know much of the history of that church.

The construction of the highways knocked a whole lot of air out of Globeville, and it has yet to recover.

Winston said...

My grandparents, their children, my mother and my sister and myself all grew up at the other german church in Globeville, St. Paul's Lutheran Church. The church closed in 1978 and we were the youngest members, 15yrs old.

Lauren said...

My great-great grandfather started this church. His name was John Adam Traudt and he immigrated from Norka, Russia in 1879. He was minister of this church until 1910.

Mary Lou Egan said...

My browser hasn't been displaying all the comments or I would have replied a lot sooner. I didn't know that Adam Traudt immigrated in 1879 - he was truly a pioneer and I'd love to hear more about him.
Mary Lou

Ron said...

My great-grandfather was John Adam Traudt. As a kid I can remember my grandmother, his daughter Emma,telling us many wonderful stories of her father's adventures.

Mary Lou Egan said...

I'll bet you have some great stories to tell - I'd like to know more about this amazing fellow. How fortunate to have a great ancestor!

Anonymous said...

Ms. Egan,

I am part of The Globeville Community Center, the group which just bought this building from the City of Denver. I would love to hear about the history of the building and how it has been used since 1976, if you know.

Christopher Scott

Mary Lou Egan said...

Christopher, I have more information about the church building before the church moved in 1974 (from a history published in 1984) Don't know too much about its use since.
email me at maryloudesign@comcast.net
Mary Lou

R Bauderer said...

My family, both immediate and extended, were members of this Church for many years. I was Confirmed at First German in 1974 under Reverend Ketterling. Such great memories of this wonderful place... the kids sitting in the balcony, Sunday School outside on the lawn in the Summer, getting to ring the bells! So many weddings, events, ... and I even played basketball for the Globeville Trotters (The Church Team!) In fact I played for almost 35 years, ending just a few years back at Heritage, where we wore First German Congregational uniforms, and were registered as FGCC in our final year. Won 2 championships as a teen here, and ended up winning three in a row as old men! ha ha ha. I would love to see the Church again.

Mary Lou Egan said...

Thank you for sharing your great memories. This church was so important to Globeville - a beautiful building. Right now, there are plans for Garden Place School to acquire the building (the last outfit the city awarded a contract to never got going and it's been vacant for a couple of years.
My email is maryloudesign@comcast.net

Send me an email and I'll send you a current photo of the church
Do you have any photos of the Trotters?

Thanks again,
Mary Lou

Rhonda Fagan said...

After my grandmother's family church moved to Arvada, the building was used as a senior center. My grandparents spent time there doing various things.

My grandma worked on ceramics with a lady named Jill. I'm sorry I don't know her last name. I assume she was staff or a volunteer.

My grandpa played pool with other men in the community. They held tournaments. I know he brought home one small trophy. I will search through my parents old pictures for a group photo my grandpa treasured.

My grandma took care of my sister and I during the summer, Monday through Thursday. Friday we were at home because that was senior citizen day. My grandparents went to tge center for lunch followed by Grocery BINGO. The members would bring canned goods and such to donate as prizes. Government cheese was a popular item.

They loved the senior center. It was a wonderful place for them to socialize with other senior neighbors and family.

Mary Lou Egan said...

Rhonda, What was your grandmother's name? I talked to lots of folks - Ann Morgan, Esther Hoff, Lalo and Eumelia C. de Baca, the Tekavecs, and Romelia Carrillo who have fond memories of the Senior Center.

Thank you for your memories - I'd love to see a photo from the center.

My email is maryloudesign@comcast.net

Look forward to hearing from you again,

Mary Lou

Rhonda Fagan said...

Mary Lou,

Fred and Margaret Shank are my grandparents. They lived at 4745 Sherman Street until they passed away. My grandmother's maiden name was Fritzler.
I will look through all their pictures. I don't recall any pictures of the outside when it was the senior center, but I wasn't looking for any specifically.