St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish
St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish was born on November 18, 1883. In 1886 construction of the Church building began at the corner of West Sixth Avenue and Galapago Street, the site upon which St. Joseph’s Church has stood continuously until today. The building was completed in November of 1889.
Most of the parishioners of St. Joseph’s were working people, Irish and German immigrants, and many of them worked on railroads. In the early 1920’s the unions struck the Rio Grande Railroad. The railroad succeeded in breaking the union and laid off many of its workers. Their difficulties were lived and shared by St. Joseph’s Parish. Despite the poor economic conditions, the parish association was obviously successful because by 1923 the parish was again financially stable enough to have paid off the building debt and to collaborate with the Redemptorist Fathers in construction of a new rectory building. The rectory of 1923 still stands today and is a detailed replica of a medieval monastery, the only one of its kind in the state of Colorado. It is one of the few remaining Works of the famous Denver architect Jacques B. Benedict. Like the church building and the school building, it stands as a living testimony to the strength and spirit of the people of St. Joseph’s Parish, and the greatness of their vision.
December 7, 1941, changed forever the fabric of American life. Just as mothers and fathers across the world sent their sons off to war, so did St. Joseph’s send her sons off to war. The war years were busy for the parish. St. Joseph’s Church became a center for USO activities. War bond drives were regularly held in the Church basement.
By the late 1950’s the influence of Hispanic families in the parish had increased substantially. A Spanish mission was preached in1959 and the parish began a regular Mass in Spanish. To this day, the parish has remained primarily Hispanic in population.
St. Joseph’s participation in First Friday Art Walks will give free tours of the art and architecture of the building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Among the members of St Joseph’s, there are still multiple cultural backgrounds which will be showcased as part of the Art Walk. A taste of one of the cultures of St. Joseph’s will be provided to Art Walk visitors, with music, a tasty sweet bread and beverage of that culture.
623 Fox Street Denver, CO 80204