Lincoln/Broadway Self-Guided Walking Tour

Stop 11:  South Broadway Christian Church

Topic: The church’s beginnings as a tent church and a bit about the story of John Sutton who built it. 

Click on the link below to listen to read the content below:

Stop 11 - Story.m4a

“South Broadway Christian Church owes its existence to a rather unique set of circumstances. In 1888, John Sutton and his wife, Henrietta, lived near South Broadway and Bayaud Avenue. They were members of the Central Christian Church, located about two miles north at 20th and Broadway. Henrietta loved flowers and was in her garden that summer when she tripped over a wire and fell, injuring herself so severely that she soon died at the age of 54. John Sutton was so bereaved he approached the Reverend Bayard Craig, pastor of Central Christian Church, and asked him to build this church in memory of his wife and offered to give his life savings. On January 16, 1890, thirty-eight people assembled at 50 West 2nd Avenue, drew up and signed a resolution and covenant and formed a new church. They called it South Broadway Christian Church. The growth of the new church was phenomenal and John Sutton erected a large tent (they called it a "Tabernacle") near his home on South Broadway.”¹³ 

For the next 2 years church services were held in the tent and attendance grew to between 500 and 600 people. Heating in the winter months was provided by pot bellied stoves. When it rained the people brought umbrellas as the roof was not waterproof. During this time plans were made to build a permanent structure at the corner of Ellsworth and Lincoln streets and construction was started. On June 28, 1891, the cornerstone was laid with Colorado Governor John L. Routt officiating at the ceremony. One of the articles placed beneath the stone was the bible of Mrs. Henrietta Sutton.”⁹ “The $12,000 given by John Sutton had long been used up and he responded by giving all of his assets, nearly $30,000 and almost half of the total cost, to the new church.  He made one request, that he be given the use of two rooms in the tower of the church where he could live out the remainder of his days. John Sutton died ten years later. He was affectionately known as "Uncle John" and was referred to as the Father of South Broadway Christian Church.”

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Stop 12 - Introduction.m4a

1904 Map showing the Tent Church while the Church was being built.  Source: 1904 Sanborn Map of Denver 

Source: 1934 Church History Slideshow - “Semi-Permanent Tent Erected to north of John Suttons House…” - Personal Collection of South Broadway Christian Church 

Source: 1934 Church History Slideshow - “The Inside of the tent seating capacity over 250” - Personal Collection of South Broadway Christian Church 

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