Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church - 1311 3rd Street

 Print Listing Historical Name - Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church
Style - Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals/Spanish Colonial Revival
Built Year - 1947-48
State ID - 5WL2577

Description - This Spanish Eclectic church is a rectilinear, single-story brick structure with a mission tile front gable roof. Roof features include minimal overhang of the eaves and a cross located at the peak of the west gable-end. A square, two-story hip roofed tower is located near the east end of the south façade. The exterior walls are red brick with simple wedge-shaped attached buttresses at all corners and evenly spaced along the south and north facades. The rounded arch is used in all fenestration. The main (west) façade features a central entrance with a low-relief decorative terra cotta surround, two small flanking niches, and a larger niche directly above the door.

Historical Background - Although this church was built in 1947-48, its history begins much earlier. With the development of sugar beet cultivation and processing in Northern Colorado came the need for a large amount of farm labor. Germans from Russia, Japanese and Mexican-Americans from the southwestern United States and Mexico first came to Greeley and surrounding communities to work in the beet fields. Many became permanent residents of the area and have greatly influenced the economy and culture of Greeley. The religious needs of area Mexican-Americans began to be met in 1924, with the purchase of a church in Fort Collins. The Great Western Sugar Company contributed $1,500 to the acquisition of a Presbyterian Church, which was remodeled and blessed by the Most Reverend J. B. Pivetal. Work continued in order to meet the needs of other communities. Mass was held in private homes or newly dedicated churches in Eaton, Gilcrest, Johnstown, Gill, Kersey, Pierce, as well as Greeley. "Vacation" schools were also conducted in order to provide spiritual training and guidance of area youths. In 1941, Archbishop Urban J. Vehr established a new parish in Greeley. A large building-site was purchased and plans for construction commenced. However, World War II postponed any new building. In 1947, a building permit was finally obtained. The church was named Our Lady of Peace due to its beginnings in the war years. In a 1997 interview, longtime Weld County resident Henry Carpio discussed relations between Hispanics and whites within the Catholic Church. Mr. Carpio was the first Spanish-speaking person to live in Gill, Colorado. He related how ushers waited at the doors to St. Peter's Catholic Church and led them to separate seating "on the sides." The white people sat "in the middle." Hispanics were also given a separate day for marriages. According to Mr. Carpio, the impetus for the formation of Our Lady of Peace was racial discrimination. Funds to build the church came entirely from donations.