Located at the intersection of Eleventh and Goff Streets in Eads, the Eads Community Church is the oldest, largest, and best-preserved religious building in Kiowa County. Construction on the building began in 1923 under William Stickney, but it was not completed until 1951 when John James Wallace revised the design in the Jacobean Revival style. Now affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the Eads Community Church continues to serve the town as a site of worship as well as a center for community and social activities.
Initial Phase: 1920s
The site of the Eads Community Church has served a religious function since 1909. Prior to the construction of the building that stands today, the town of Eads boasted a small white Gothic Revival church that was one of three churches in Kiowa County. By 1920, however, the town of Eads had outgrown the original building, so the townspeople began discussing the construction of a new building that could accommodate more churchgoers and serve as a community-gathering place.
In July 1920, William Stickney of Pueblo arrived with plans for a new church on the site of the 1909 building. According to Stickney’s calculations, the project would cost the town $35,000 in labor and supplies. Construction began in August 1920 with men digging out 2,000 cubic feet of dirt for the basement. By July 1921, only about one-third of the new church’s basement had been completed. Because of lack of funding, construction came to a halt, leaving the church incomplete. Of the $30,754 promised by Eads’s citizens, the church only received 24 percent, which had already been spent. As the economy worsened, fewer people could meet their pledges and construction stopped.
Eads’s agricultural economy was hit hard by a prolonged economic downturn starting in the early 1920s and lasting through the 1930s. Thanks to community volunteers, construction continued in fits and starts through the 1920s. A fire destroyed the floor, some of the walls, and what little roofing had been done; the damage was covered by insurance so repairs were made and the church reopened in December 1923 with an all-day service. The basement facility hosted a wide array of community events, including sporting events, club meetings, weddings, and holiday events. The basement was used almost daily until the construction of the Eads School Gymnasium in 1929. The church’s relatively small size remained an issue for community members, though economic hardships made expansion impossible.
After World War II, the townspeople renewed their interest in completing the church. Like much of the country, Eads experienced an economic boom following the war. In 1949 retired builder William T. Holland approached the Eads Community Church with an affordable option for completion, and the church asked John Wallace of Colorado Springs to step in as architect. Wallace produced a Jacobean Revival design that is reminiscent of an English village church. Deriving from English Renaissance buildings of the seventeenth century, the Jacobean Revival building includes patterned brickwork, distinctive parapet gables, rectangular multi-light windows, and a flat roof tower with castellated parapet.
With renewed enthusiasm for the project, residents of Eads rallied to volunteer their services for the second phase of construction. Retired brick mason John Hostetter offered his skills and was responsible for the building’s multi-colored and much-celebrated brickwork. The first services in the newly completed church were held on October 28, 1951. After some additional work through the winter months, the thirty-year dream of having a complete community and worship space was finally realized.
In 1969 the Eads congregation combined with the Evangelical United Brethren Methodist Church, forming the United Methodist Church of Eads. The church continues to hold services and host community events, representing the communal spirit of the town. The church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in August 2013.