Foothills Art Center

Address809 15th Street, Golden, 80401
QuadGolden, 1965 (1994)
SectionS27, T3S, R70W
Elevationc. 5600
SourceNorman, C., "Golden Old and New," p. 39; Scheunemann, T., "The Foothills Art Center: The Crowning Glory of Golden's Courthouse Hill," pp. 1-2, 11-18, 33-34, 49.
OtherFirst Presbyterian Church of Golden
Initialdate1997-04-24 00:00:00-06
Latestdate2012-12-17 00:00:00-07
HistoryThis building was built to help provide for the Presbyterian congregation's spiritual needs in Golden and the surrounding areas. The city of Golden dates back to 1860, and the church building was built 12 years later in 1872. It was the first permanent building erected in the area that was to be known in future years as "Courthouse Hill." That name stems from the construction of the Jefferson County Courthouse on Washington Street at the intersection of 15th Street, almost directly across Washington Street from the church in 1878. In 1892 a residence for the minister was built on the same block just northwest of the church. For five years, 1862-1867, Golden was the capital of the Colorado Territory until the territorial legislature decided to move the capital back to Denver. In 1898 a bell tower was added to the church. The plans were drawn by Professor Horace B. Patton of the Colorado School of Mines. The builder of the addition stayed as closely as he could to the original building materials so the tower would not look like some glued on addition. The construction of the tower and renovation of the church to accommodate the tower cost a total of $2,500. The congregation outgrew the church in the 1950s and built a new church. They leased the old church to the Unitarians. The Unitarians used the church on Sundays and opened it to the art community during the week. Irma Wyhs, a watercolor artist and member of the Unitarian church, was asked to conduct a watercolor seminar for interested artists in 1961. From that beginning came the Michiona Watercolor Society, and as it and the scope of the Annual Golden Sidewalk Watercolor Art Show grew, they realized they would need a place of their own, and the church building suited their purpose. In April 1968 they contracted to purchase the old church and rectory for $30,000. The Foothills Art Center opened in April 1968. The Center grew quickly and a second floor gallery was added in 1980. In honor of the architect, Alan Peterson, who contributed his talent to design the gallery, it was named the Peterson Gallery. It did not take long for the Center to use all its space and have to look for more. To solve that problem, the Center bought the adjacent building at 1510 Washington Street. This building is known as Foothills II. The Foothills Art Center was awarded a National Register of Historic Places designation in March 1991 (5JF.418)