Colorado Historical Society Helps Preserve the Historic Ward Church

Pat Cypher, Ward. Through Historic Preservation Grants, the Colorado Historical Society and the Union Congregational Church of Ward have collaborated to help save the Historic Ward Church. Built 120 years ago, when Ward was a booming gold-mining town, the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an important vestige of mining history in Colorado. Sitting high on a hill above the downtown area of Ward, The Historic Ward Church survived the great Ward fire of 1900, when most of the business district of Ward burned. Today it serves as a community center for the Town.

The picturesque Church is one of the most-painted buildings in Colorado. Georgia O’Keeffe even painted the Church Bell when she stayed in Ward in 1917. Today the church bell still rings to signal fire emergencies or announce births, deaths, weddings, wakes, services and special events.


In 2015, the Historic Ward Church received an important $ 10,000 grant from History Colorado to assess the church building and to develop its Preservation Plan. Funded through casino tax revenues, the Colorado Historic Society distributes thousands of dollars in grant monies annually to further historic preservation throughout the state. In Ward, critical problems with the church foundation, back wall, and side wall were identified. In 2017, The Historic Ward Church is once again applying to the Colorado Historical Society for partial funding to help make the needed repairs to ensure its long-term survival.


“Preserving the Ward Church is of great interest to the community. It represents the strength and resilience of our tiny mountain town”, said Karelle Scharff, Mayor of the Town of Ward. “Everyone uses it and everyone loves it. With help from the Colorado Historical Society, this work will help preserve our church for generations to come and it has helped us to document the unique history of one of the oldest gold-mining camps in Colorado.”


Becky Martinek, Treasurer of the Ward Church added, “Through our fundraising events and contributions, we have almost reached our goal of the 25% match for our new Preservation grant application to the Colorado Historical Society. But we still need donations to help preserve our historic church. And we would love to have people visit . . . or even paint our church.”


For more information, contact Pat Cypher: or call her at (303) 459-0341.