Sunday, November 11, 2007

Longmont, Then and Now #4: Coffman Street, 1909

Moving off Main Street, from the previous three "Then and Nows", one block west to Coffman Street.

A very nice picture of Coffman Street in Longmont, looking south on a summer day in 1909, almost one-hundred years ago. In contrast to other historic Longmont pictures, where there are more trees now than then, it appears like there was a planned attempt to line Coffman Street with Plains Cottonwoods, which was probably a good short-term idea for the community in providing some shade, not so good long-term.

At first, I didn't know what intersection this was at, or even if this picture was looking north or south, but the Church structure on the left provides the essential clue.

The Church of Christ, also known as the "Christian Church", was dedicated on February 1, 1903 in Longmont, located at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Coffman Street. The total cost, including the land purchase and construction costs, according to the Longmont Ledger, was $3,780. Translating to a modern GDP-based calculator yields about $1.5 million dollars in today's value.

The church in 1903:

Can you see the same structure, in the original picture above, six years later in 1909? The Church of Christ goes back in Longmont history to 1892, when pastor E. F. Harris of Girard, Kansas took helm. Pastor T. J. Van Horn of Tina, Missouri was next, in 1901, until around the time that this church was finished in 1903. Pastor Van Horn is reported to have "departed for another field". Pastor William L. Denslow from Mentor, Ohio was in place for the founding of the structure above, in 1903, but it is not clear what ever happened to him, a few years later.

Coffman Street today, looking south, from about the same point (on a beautiful, unseasonably warm November day in Longmont):

And a closer look south down Coffman Street:

And now, for the very relevant tie-in to today in Longmont: The "Christian Church" discussed above is actually the lineage of today's LifeBridge Church out on Colorado 66, north of town, which has been much in the news lately, for their expansion plans over at the Union Reservoir area, east of Longmont. That is all I'll say on this issue, but you can see a later picture of the church on Coffman Street in their history section.

Today, the Longmont Christian School occupies the site of the original church, at 550 Coffman Street:

I'm wondering if the contrasting masonry work that you see in the following pictures, was intentionally preserved from the original structure:

and the tower in the middle, with the cross:

According to the LifeBridge history site, the original church lasted sixty-three years, which would have taken it to 1965-1966, timeframe at which a new church was constructed in the Coffman Street block between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. LifeBridge eventually moved to the current location in 1991.

One more look at 550 Coffman Street, today:

A summary of the informal "Longmont: Then and Now" series so far:

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