Aspen Community Church is located at the intersection of East Bleeker and North Aspen streets in Aspen, Colorado, United States. It is a stone building erected in the late 19th century. In 1975 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the only house of worship in Pitkin County to be accorded that distinction. When built, it was originally the home of a Presbyterian congregation. Several decades later, when Aspen's population had declined considerably from the era when the church was built, the church merged into a Methodist congregation in the city, part of an agreement by which a Methodist church elsewhere in Colorado became Presbyterian. The church building, restored in the early 21st century, is largely intact from its original construction.
The church is on a 1.3-acre (5,300 Sq mi) lot at the northeast corner of the intersection, a block north of Main Street (State Highway 82). It is just outside downtown Aspen. The surrounding buildings are primarily residential; although there is a large commercial plaza a block to the north along East Hallam Street. The level terrain of the city's commercial core begins to slope gently toward the Roaring Fork River. The building itself is a three-story structure faced in rough-cut peachblow sandstone topped with a hipped roof. Gabled sections cross in the middle of the side elevations, with supporting buttresses. A large cylindrical bell tower is located at the southwest corner.
Construction began on the church in 1890. At that time, Aspen had experienced rapid growth in the preceding decade, from a rough campsite to a bustling city of thousands due to the Colorado Silver Boom. The Richardsonian Romanesque church by Frederick Albert Hale, designer of the First Congregational Church in Pueblo and the Aspen and Cowenhoven blocks downtown, used the same distinctive orange peachblow sandstone, quarried in the nearby valley of the Fryingpan, a tributary of the Roaring Fork, as other Aspen landmarks like the Wheeler Opera House and Brand Building. A thousand people attended the church's dedication ceremony in 1891, the conclusion of ten months of building that cost $20,000 ($525,000 in contemporary dollars). There the cornerstone vault was filled. The Aspen Daily Times was the first to liken the building to a fortress or castle.
Programs and services
The church holds services every Sunday morning. Services for the Latin American community are held on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. One of the Aspen chapters of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meets in the church almost daily. Yoga classes are held monthly. Small groups devoted to particular topics, both religious and nonreligious, meet in congregants' homes weekly. The church is also available for weddings, including receptions, and other special events and community groups. Music is also a regular activity at the church, since it is an excellent venue. Piano lessons are held almost daily. During the Aspen Music Festival every August, student recitals are held, free of charge and open to the public, three days a week. Recitals are also held by local and visiting musicians year-round. In the summer the church holds two music camps for children, one religious in orientation.