The first Episcopal service in Colorado Springs was held on 13 January 1872 in Foote's Hall and conducted by Rev. Samuel Edwards, Rector of St. Peter's Church in Pueblo. About 60-70 people attended, including Rose Kingsley, who played a harmonium. A subscription list was started for creating a church, and funds were raised for erecting a building. Work began in June 1873 on a stone building at Pike's Peak and Weber on lots donated by General Palmer. George L. Summers designed the building, Robert Rickens was the stone mason, and Winfield Stratton provided woodworking skills. George L. Summers was the architect for the Colorado Springs Company, while W.S.Stratton would later become a millionaire from Cripple Creek mining investments.
General Palmer donated the land for the first Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs
The cornerstone was laid on 12 July 1873 by Bishop Randall. Rev. M.F. Sorenson was the first minister acquired by the congregation. In October 1873 the group selected the name "Grace Church," and the parish formally organized. The new building opened on 28 June 1874, with Bishop Spaulding officiating and the crowd described as "overflowing." The Bishop commented that the building was "the most beautiful church" in his jurisdiction, and he donated $500 to pay off the mortgage. Other donations included $600 from Dr. W.A. Bell and several hundred dollars from English contributors. On 8 August 1880 consecration ceremonies were conducted by Bishop Spaulding. In June 1881 a rectory at 329 N. Nevada Avenue was purchased. Transepts were added to the church in 1891. In 1891 the Gazette reported, "Grace Protestant Episcopal church stands on large and well kept lawns on the corner of Weber and Pike's Peak avenue, and leads directly into the main room. The windows are of stained glass, and the interior fittings are plain but elegant. The church is altogether too small for the needs of the congregation, and plans for a very extensive enlargement are now under consideration."
|Early Construction, cir. mid 1870s|
|Interior of Grace Church at Christmas, cir. late 1870s|
In 1893 several members of Grace Church organized a separate church known as St. Stephen's. The congregation met at the Antler's Hotel Pavilion and later the Congregational Church until it was able to build a church in 1895. Grace Church, despite expansion became very crowded. The idea of combining the two parishes was discussed for several years, but it was not presented publicly until the 50th anniversary of Grace Church in 1922. At that time Grace Church invited St. Stephen's to a joint worship service. Rev. Chauncey H. Blodgett of Grace Church and Rev. Arthur N. Taft of St. Stephen's suggested that "one good sized church building of simple but beautiful interior" could be achieved if the congregations merged. The two pastors worked out a reunification plan and recommended that a new building be erected. On 19 December 1924 the new parish was formed, with Reverend Taft elected rector and Reverend Blodgett elected co-rector. The actual merger of the congregations came on 1 January 1925 when a new building was completed.
|Grace Church, cir. 1900|
|Interior, cir. 1900|
After the congregation left this church for their new facility, the remaining part of the building was used as a storeroom by various businesses. In 1929 a part of the church was turned into a restaurant known as the Chapel Inn. In 1937 John, Pete, and Vera Ceresa opened the Village Inn Restaurant in this location, with one room with a capacity of 120 persons. The room was described as "attractively finished in old English design with beamed ceilings and pastel decorations. Within six months of opening the demand caused the Ceresas to add a second room. A lounge and grill were added in 1940 and O.K. Barnes completed pastels with raised relief depicting scenes from around the world. During this period the restaurant attracted large numbers of tourists. The Gazette commented, "The Village Inn has become well known for its sea food menus." The restaurant added a Coronado Tavern in 1942, which featured murals of Coronado's expedition. A new entrance with canopy was created on the south. The 1941 city directory indicates that the Old English Dairy Confectionery, operated by C.B. Frink, was also located in the former church.
|The Villiage Inn|
In 1941 most of the original Grace Church was demolished to make way for a bus station. During the process, workmen found a tin box behind the original cornerstone which contained pages of a Bible and damp, undecipherable fragments of a newspaper.
In August 1946 Mr. and Mrs. James N. McCullough leased the restaurant from the Ceresas. James McCullough served as mayor of Colorado Springs for four years. The business was described as a coffee shop dining establishment and cocktail lounge. The cocktail lounge in the basement of the restaurant was damaged by fire in 1946. The Village Inn Corporation was established by the McCulloughs and the restaurant's chef, John Cimino, who had been trained at the Broadmoor. An advertisement for the restaurant in the 1951 city directory stated, "Noted in the Pike's Peak region for its fine food, courteous service, home-like atmosphere and moderate prices." The Village Inn Bakery and Dairy and the Village Inn Restaurant were listed at this location in the 1951 city directory.
In 1956, Mr. and Mrs. Jim P. Mola of Eugene, Oregon, and Mr. and Mrs. Merton Anderson of Denver purchased the restaurant business from the McCulloughs for about $200,000. The McCulloughs retained the lease on the building, purchasing it in 1958 for $110,000. The 1960 city directory listed the Pub Lounge and the Village Inn Restaurant here. In 1961 Frank Rolla, his father Joseph, and sister Ann Atwell purchased the business from Molas and Anderson. The Rollas had operated the Swiss Chalet Restaurant at 117 E. Pike's Peak Avenue during 1936 to 1945. The Rollas owned and managed the Village Inn from 1961 to 1978. Joseph Rolla served as the chef for the restaurant, which won several awards. It was said that downtown businessmen gathered "religiously" for lunch and dinner here. The 1965 city directory also listed All Points Travel service in the building, operated by Frank Ulrich and Richard M. Livermore.
The building was eventually converted into a nightclub and bar, bearing the names "Eden," "13 Pure," and "Syn." The nightclub closed in 2010.
The nightclub closed in 2010