St. Mark's Episcopal Church910 E 3rd Ave, Durango, CO 81301
History: As early as 1877, A C.M. (Parson) Hogue, one of the great characters in Colorado and Episcopal Church history, was conducting services in Animas City as part of a circuit which came to include Telluride, Red Mountain, Ouray, Silverton, Mancos and Rico. When Durango was founded in 1880, Parson Hogue held the first worship service of any kind on December 26, in the old Delmonico Hotel. Immediately, Parson Hogue set out to build the first church in Durango a small wooden structure with a sawdust floor located on Second Avenue across from the present-day Courthouse Clock Tower on one of the lots given by the Town Company to any denomination that would build. Parson Hogue carried a great deal of the wood from the lumber yard on his back and with his own hands put the frame up and enclosed it. Parson Hogue is reputed to have entered the saloons and gambling houses wearing a cassock and six shooters where he held services for the miners and installed the "Parson's" Box where gamblers would donate contributions to help build the new church from their winnings. Parson Hogue came to be loved by miners and by the city fathers alike, he was an example of one who lived a disciplined Christian life and also was an example of the Episcopal Church's strong missionary commitment (at its height at this time). When the great fire of 1889 destroyed the Church and much of the downtown, Fr. Horatio Gates went east for funds to rebuild. A new Church (our existing building) was built in 1892 on the Boulevard along with the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. A Pilcher Pipe Organ was installed in 1906 for $1,600. In the teens and twenties, St. Mark's was a strong church in the Diocese of Western Colorado. A second priest was on staff to for "Indian Work" in Ignacio, Aztec and Farmington. St. Mark's hosted a diocesan convention in about 1919. During the depression, only three priests were employed on the Western Slope In Durango, Montrose and Glenwood Springs and they traveled extensive circuits by train, horseback or model A. In 1957 the Parish Hall was added. Breaking ground in 1957 The Episcopal Church Women served many dinners to help raise money to pay for the building. The hall was one of the few buildings suitable for public dances, dinners and events. Many proms, pancake days and community dinners were held and the St. Mark's Christmas Bazaar became a community tradition. St. Mark's became a partner in Camp Illium in the early '60s and we continue to use and support this Church camp facility near Telluride. In the 1980s and 90s, St. Mark's was involved in the starting of the Manna Soup Kitchen, The Community Clinic and offered a homeless shelter in the Parish Hall until it was taken over by the Volunteers of America. At the time of the Centennial of the Main Sanctuary in 1992, a major restoration was completed and a new Shudi Pipe Organ was installed. Restoring the windows in 1992. In the fall of 2004 another major renovation, this time to the Parish Hall, created a beautiful new space for parish and civic functions a modern and functional kitchen and new office and classroom spaces.