Presbyterians in the San Juan Mountains

August 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Darley MountainDarley MountainDarley Mountain from Oh Point on the Alpine Loop. This is Darley Mountain, viewed from Engineer Pass. 

In the 1870s, George Darley was a missionary who wanted to raise a Protestant (in this case, Presbyterian) church and evangelize in the San Juans, so he snowshoed back and forth over Engineer Pass in the middle of winter, Lake City to Ouray and vice versa, several times. Unlike another, who did this feat, he only had an appetite for the Lord. So once in town, he quickly formed, founded and built the first church on the Western Slope in Lake City in 1876. Once established, he went to the six month old Ouray and did the same, giving the first sermon in a saloon in the winter of 1877, and then built the church in the fall. After serving as the first pastor for his new church in Lake City for several years, he left and pastored churches in numerous Colorado towns. 

The church, along with Lake City nearly died with the mining decline and the Depression but bounced back around the 50s, as Lake City became a tourist destination and apparent Texan colony. The church still stands today; my dad was the pastor for several years. The church in Ouray disbanded and merged with Ridgway a few years ago though. 

Anyway that's why this mountain is called Darley Mountain, if you were  curious. Hope you enjoyed the history lesson of Presbyterians in the San Juans. 

Also if you like this kind of post, let me know by commenting or sharing, thanks!


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New images from Michael Underwood, a photographer living in Lake City, Colorado.

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