Located in the valley of Kiowa Creek, the pioneering town of Kiowa was established in the early 1860s, as a stage stop along the southern branch of the Smoky Hill Trail. The town grew steadily, slowly consisting of a courthouse, two general stores, two blacksmith shops, two saloons, two hotels and a post office. However, by the turn of the century, Kiowa could not boast of a single church. Seven years later though, two would prevail.
The story of the Kiowa Creek Community Church (Kiowa Presbyterian Church) began when during the latter part of March 1907, services were held in Reilly’s Hall (upstairs of the Kiowa Bar, 2023). At the close of the service a petition was circulated asking Denver Presbytery to create a Presbyterian Church in Kiowa.
The organizational meeting followed just a few weeks later on April 28, 1907, again upstairs in Reilly’s Hall at 2:30pm. Let by Reverend J.W. Pressly, pastor of the Elizabeth Presbyterian Church, the elders elected and ordained that day were J.R. Close, Thomas James and J.D. Hart. A.G. Rinnert became Church Treasurer and W.S. Hunter was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The first Clerk of Session, J.R. Close, recorded “a congregational meeting which authorized the erection of a new church was held May 12, 1907.”
The ground on which the Kiowa church was built upon was donated by Frank Long, a former Elbert County Treasurer. The cornerstone was laid October 22, 1907, and the building began with cement blocks made by Roy Deu Pree. Carpenters, Eric Backlund and Frank Willis offered their services as well. The picture window on the south side of the church was presented by Thomas James in memory of his wife Elva Grace James. The bell was contributed by W.D. Reilly. Dedicated on July 19, 1908, the day long celebration included three services that provided messages from prominent ministers, special music and even a pot luck dinner.
Years later in 1950, under the leadership of Carl Ohlson and Louis Bostrom, work began on hand excavating a full basement under the church. Complete with a new furnace, Sunday School classrooms, a kitchen, bathroom facilities and an outside entryway, the project was completed in early 1951.
With authorization from Denver Presbytery, the Kiowa and Elizabeth Presbyterian Churches merged into St. Mark United Presbyterian Church on May 12, 1963. Twelve years later, under the leadership of Reverend Munn Hinds, the Elbert Presbyterian Church united with Kiowa and Elizabeth, creating St. Mark Presbyterian Church (USA).
A complete renovation of the sanctuary and basement took place during the winter of 1979-80. Upstairs, the walls were insulated and paneled in rich brown wood, the ceiling was repaired and acoustically textured, and the floor was completely carpeted for the first time. In 1988 construction began on the Fellowship Hall, directly north of the original church, and the Kiowa Food Bank opened on the main (middle) level of the building in the early 1990s.
In 2001, the three congregations of St. Marks Presbyterian Church (Kiowa, Elizabeth and Elbert) voted in favor of dissolving their unique ministry relationship and each church proceeded on their own, with the Kiowa congregation renamed the Kiowa Creek Community Church (KCCC) at that time. Twenty years later, KCCC voted in 2021 to leave the Presbyterian Church USA, and is now an independent, Bible-based, non-denominational congregation.
-Excerpts taken from Kiowa Creek Community Presbyterian Church – A Century of Service, (2007) J.C. Martell