Located near Kiowa Creek, about 30 miles southeast of Denver, Colorado, the pioneering town of East Kiowa was established in 1859. In the early days, the town’s businesses sold goods to gold miners at Cherry Creek as well as to farmers and ranchers who settled the area. A route of the famed Pony Express followed the Smoky Hill Trail through the town then named “Kiowa”. A stage line served the town until the railroad came. The town grew steadily, eventually consisting of a courthouse, two general stores, two blacksmith shops, two saloons, two hotels, and a post office–but not a single church.
By March 1907, a worship service was held in an unlikely place–Reilly’s Hall, upstairs in the Hitchin’ Post Saloon. At the close of the service, a petition was circulated, asking the Denver Presbytery to create a new Presbyterian Church at Kiowa. On April 28, 1907, an organizational meeting was held, led by Reverend J. W. Pressly (Pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth). The meeting elected and ordained the following elders for the new church: J. R. Close, Thomas James, and J. D. Hart. A. G. Rinnert became the new church’s Treasurer, and W. S. Hunter became the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. On May 12, 1907, a congregational meeting authorized erection of a new church building. The Denver Presbytery’s Board of Missions granted $900 for construction. The ground upon which the church was built was purchased from Frank Long for $100.
On October 22, 1907, the cornerstone was laid. Construction began, using cement blocks made by Roy DuPree. Eric Backlund and Frank Willis offered their carpentry services. In memory of his wife (Elva Grace James), Thomas James contributed the stained-glass picture window located on the south side of the church. W. D. Reilly contributed the iron church bell, which still rings each Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m.
With great joy, on July 19, 1908, the church celebrated a day-long dedication which included three services, featuring messages from prominent ministers, special music, and a pot-luck dinner.
In 1950, under the leadership of Carl Ohlson and Louis Bostrom, work began on excavating (by hand) a full church basement and installing a furnace system, Sunday school classrooms, a kitchen, bathroom facilities, and an exterior entrance. The project was completed during the winter of 1951.
On May 1, 1963, the Denver Presbytery authorized the merger of the Kiowa Presbyterian Church and Elizabeth Presbyterian Church into St. Mark United Presbyterian Church. In 1975, the Elbert Presbyterian Church merged with St. Mark United Presbyterian Church to become St. Mark Presbyterian Church.
In 1979-80, the sanctuary and basement of the St. Mark Presbyterian Church at Kiowa were completely renovated. Upstairs, the ceiling was repaired and acoustically textured. Walls were insulated and paneled, and the floor was completely carpeted (for the first time).
After 1982, the Fellowship Hall was added. Located behind the church, the two-story Fellowship Hall houses the church office, the pastor’s office, the food pantry, and other rooms downstairs as well as a stage, kitchen, bathrooms, and sanctuary upstairs.
Now independent from its sister Presbyterian churches at Elbert and Elizabeth, the historic Kiowa Creek Community Church continues to serve Kiowa and surrounding communities. The church serves as a place of fellowship and worship for those who seek the love, grace, and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.