Amazing: 160-Year-Old Church is the Oldest One Still in Use in Colorado
In an uncertain world, it can be comforting to know about something that still lasts. The state of Colorado has been around for one hundred and forty-seven years, yet some of the places and landmarks date back even further.
Colorado's oldest church has been here since before the territory became a state, and would you believe this church is still in use today despite its location in one of Colorado's tiniest towns? Keep going for a closer look at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church in Antonito, Colorado.
Where is Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church?
Antonito, Colorado, is home to about 640 people as of the 2021 census. It's located just down the road from the Colorado/ New Mexico state line in Conejos County.
The community of San Luis (founded in 1851) is recognized as the oldest in Colorado. The community of Antonito sits just 38 miles west of San Luis and is home to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church, which completed construction in 1863.
The Original Church Was Completed in 1858
The original house of worship built at the site in Antonito was an Adobe structure completed under the supervision of a French missionary named Joseph Machebeuf. The Our Lady of Guadeloupe Parish replaced the Adobe site in 1863. The church was dedicated in December of that year.
The entire church was almost lost to fire on Ash Wednesday of 1926. All that remained after the fire was the front of the church with the two towers. A decision was reached to rebuild the church on the original site using what was left of the original frame and marble altar. This allowed Our Lady of Guadeloupe Parish to keep its distinction as the oldest church in Colorado.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish Church in 2023
Talk about stuff that lasts, Sunday mass is still held weekly at 7:30 am and 11 am in the church. If you are traveling down Highway 285 through Antonito the church is visible from the road and is worth a chance to see some Colorado history for yourself.