About Our Lady of the Mountains
The history of Our Lady of the Mountains dates back to the early days of the history of the Estes Valley. Masses were first said in homes in the area, going back almost 100 years. Various priests came to visit and vacation but also to lead area Catholics in worship.
About 1915, little St. Walter’s Catholic Church was completed on a hill overlooking the Stanley Hotel and the intersections of Highways 36 and 34. This little church came about with the help of Reverend William Howlett of Loveland who raised funds and traveled to Estes each Sunday to say Mass. Just as in these times, more and more visitors came – some even standing outside because the inside of the small Church was filled. More masses were added and a rectory built in 1932. With no heat or insulation in the Church – winter masses were held in the Estes Park High School auditorium beginning in 1944 . It is reported that eighteen (18) people attended that first mass.
In 1946, ground was broken for the current Our Lady of the Mountains parish. Using native timber and stone from the McGraw Ranch, construction began in 1947, and the church officially dedicated on June 9th, 1949. Building costs were in excess of $100,000 and it seats approximately 300 people. A local architect has called it the most beautiful and quintessential mountain church.
Over the years as the valley population grew, and as more visitors come to visit the area, we have found it necessary to add offices and an ‘expandable’ worship space. The area now experiences some three million visitors per year. Thankfully, visitors have been generous in helping us to maintain and sustain this parish. We are considering various alternatives for expansion. If you are able to help us, please remember us in your prayers – and thank you for any restoration or expansion donations.
Our current pastor is Reverend Joseph Hartmann. Father Joe came to Our Lady of the Mountains in June 2009. The parish staff and parishioners welcome you to worship in this holy and beautiful Church.