The next stop on our bus tour was the Christ Episcopal Church in Aspen. It is a lovely church that includes reception space.
“Christ Church had its birth in the hey-day of the silver boom, when the main business of Aspen (as Ute City had come to be called) was the mining of precious metal, not catering to skiers, celebrities, and second home owners. Christ Episcopal Church was established in 1881, and its first church building was erected at the corner of Second and Bleeker Streets, where a contemporary private residence now stands.
After the silver market crashed in 1893 and the boomtown atmosphere began to wane, the community of Aspen changed rapidly. Miners lost their work; merchants who had catered to miners had to shutter their businesses; and the population – which had been as high as 15,000 at the peak of the silver boom – dwindled. As the population shrank, ultimately falling to fewer than 1,000 souls, the numbers of Episcopalians decreased sharply. Due to the disappearance of its congregation, Christ Church was closed soon after World War I, as was its companion church – St. John’s, located in the east end of town. The era between the end of the silver mining industry and the arrival of the ski industry after World War II is known locally as “The Quiet Years.” Ranching was the main business in the valley, and the town of Aspen served the needs of the ranchers and the very few miners who had hung on, scratching out a meager living and hoping for good times to come again.
Aspen was “discovered” in the late 1940’s and good times did indeed come again, but they had nothing to do with the mother lode of silver that continues to lie beneath the surface of the mountains that surround the town. Along with the rapidly growing ski business, the newly founded Aspen Institute, and the Aspen Music Festival and School, there arrived an influx of new permanent and part-time residents —drawn to the skiing, the cultural attractions, the laid-back atmosphere of the rustic old mining town and the beauty of the Roaring Fork Valley. Lodges, hotels, clubs, restaurants and other new businesses were set up to meet the needs and wants of the new-era Aspenites.
As the town began to grow again, of course some Episcopalians moved to town, and a handful of the faithful pioneered the re-establishment of an Episcopal Church in Aspen. A mission congregation was begun in 1956 under the short-lived tutelage of the Rev. Donald Shissler. Within a short time the newly ordained Rev. Richard R. Palmer arrived to take over responsibility for the fledgling congregation.. A house on Hopkins Street downtown became the place of worship until the present church building was built on property donated by the Rowland family at the corner of Fifth and West North Streets in 1962-63.”
If you are interested in using Christ Episcopal Church for your wedding, keep in mind that there are restrictions such as one person in your family or bridal party must be Episcopalian. In addition, pre-marital counseling is a requirement. For more information on weddings at Christ Episcopal Church go here: http://www.christchurchaspen.org/weddings.html