Our Building & History
Central to Denver’s Future Since 1860.
Our historic building in downtown Denver was built in 1892, but our impact on the heart of our city predates that, and continues to grow and evolve.
From our very beginning 160 years ago, Central Presbyterian Church of Denver has been a home for community and for service. It began in the late 19th century with English classes for Chinese immigrants working in Colorado’s railroads and mines, continued with the founding of Presbyterian Hospital for low income Coloradans in the 1910s (now Presbyterian-St. Luke’s hospital), and today is exemplified through the New Genesis Transitional Shelter in the lower level of the church housing over one hundred homeless men each night, and the Central Visitation Program on the third floor which provides children with supervised visits with their noncustodial parents each day of the week.
Central’s sanctuary, built in 1892, has recently become a popular concert venue for over 40 concerts a year which attract over 16,000 concertgoers. By partnering with the Denver Philharmonic in the building of the Antonia Brico stage, Central’s 1000-seat performance hall has grown into a home for more than twenty music organizations annually since the stage’s completion in 2016.
Central’s Reuter pipe organ (Opus 1395) is a 3-manual, 50-rank instrument that was installed in 1962 by the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas. The pipework of the un-encased great and pedal divisions is located in the center, with the enclosed swell pipes on the right and the enclosed choir pipes on the left. The beautiful hand-painted façade pipes are non-speaking, and along with the swell vox humana, the pedal 32’ Bourdon, and the choir Nason Flute, are retained from the original 1893 Farrand and Votey (Opus 130) that it replaced.
- The Reverend A.T. Rankin moves to Denver and places an ad in the Rocky Mountain News announcing religious services for Presbyterians on the banks of Cherry Creek.
- The first service is held in a new church building at the corner of 18th and Champa.
Railroad Union Mission
- Central founded and maintained the Railroad Union Mission as outreach to the railroad workers in downtown Denver.
School for Immigrants
- Central ran a school that offered educational and spiritual support to Chinese immigrants, many of whom came to Denver to work on the expanding railroads.
An Iconic Building
- A new church designed by F.E. Edbrooke, who also designed Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel, is built on the corner of 17th and Sherman.
A Hospital That Welcomes All
- Presbyterian Hospital is opened for the relief of “sick and disabled persons of every creed, nationality and color”
Perseverance in Hard Times
- During the depression years, Presbyterian Hospital was in danger of closing due to lack of funds. Central contributed the funds planned for its own building to keep the hospital open. Not until 25 years later did the church finally expand its own facilities.
Metro Caring Comes to Be
- Metro Caring founded with Central Presbyterian, First Baptist of Denver, Trinity United Methodist, St. Paul’s Lutheran and St. Paul’s United Methodist
Sheltering the Unhoused
- The City of Denver asks Central to be a location for a cold weather homeless shelter that would eventually become New Genesis
- Central Visitation Program established: Central Presbyterian Church provided “seed” money to start CVP and continues to provide office space and five visitation rooms in its convenient, downtown building.
The Denver Phil Finds a New Home
- Denver Philharmonic makes Central their home including remodeling Central’s chancel for the Antonia Brico Stage to accommodate a full orchestra.
Strengthening the Heart of Denver
- Strengthening the Heart of Denver capital project – supported by many individuals and organizations throughout Colorado – is completed. The project enhances Central’s building for the benefit of its non-profit tenants and the broader Denver community.