In 1900, Father LaJeunesse and the parishioners of Saint Joseph began work on a church made from the buff and grey sandstone found in the nearby Stout, Noney Frye and Lamb quarries. On August 4th 1901 Bishop Matz dedicated the rusticated stone church, whose soaring spire and gothic portals have become a landmark at the beginning of Mountain Avenue Historic District in Fort Collins, Colorado.
In order to double the church’s capacity, it was remodeled in 1960 by Architect William V. Robb, who led the faithful restoration of Saint Joseph’s stone exterior. The old steeple was repaired and new stone crosses were installed on the roof gables. The interior was given a more modern look with furnishings by the Santa Fe Studios of Church Art in New Mexico. A thirteen foot high bas-relief of Saint Joseph standing with the boy Jesus presides over the bookmatched marble and terrazzo floor interior. Ninteen stained glass windows depicting the Divine Mysteries illuminate the expansive, vaulted ceiling.
Saint Joseph Catholic School is also a lesson in fine design. The Spanish colonial revival edifice of wire-cut, rusticated tan-faced brick with red sandstone trim was opened in 1926, and occupies spacious landscaped grounds north of the church on Howes Street. This elegant school is distinguished by its curvilinear parapets, balconettes, grand baroque double staircase entry beneath an oriel window, and a colored tile mosaic of the lamp of learning.
Later additions to the school included a gymnasium, technology center, science lab, expanded library and additional classrooms to accommodate pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade enrollment. But the original east wing has not changed significantly since 1926, and retains almost all of its historic integrity. The school remains a focus for Catholic education in Northern Colorado.
One of the challenges facing the parish community is preserving these beautiful structures. Fortunately, through the tireless efforts of many gifted volunteers, generous donors, and the support of both parish and school families, our buildings are in great condition. In 2012, the 1926 wing had a new, energy efficient heating system installed, and we commenced work on stabilizing and renovating our unique architectural elements, beginning with the west entry stairwell. The interior of the church will also be spruced up with new paint, reconditioned pews, a renovated meeting hall and new cabinetry for the sacristy. If you would like to join us in our endeavors, please contact our parish offices.
You might also enjoy our history page.