Interview with Canon Winfred Douglas’ Widow - Ann Douglas
February 10, 1966
Mrs. Douglas speaks in detail about the very beginnings of the town of Evergreen, how it came to play an important role in the development and history of Colorado and how the Church of the Transfiguration cemented itself in that history.
Historical Time Line for the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration Evergreen Colorado
1859 Thomas Bergen builds a way station serving in what is now Bergen Park for gold seekers on their way to the gold fields.
1866-70 Bergen’s son-in-law, Amos Post, operates a general store at what become known as the “Post” which would later include a livery and the Babcock hotel (the current location of St. Raphael, Sister’s Cabin and the chapel). Construction of a saw mill along Bear Creek across from the current Church of the Transfiguration. Bunkhouse built for saw mill workers across the creek from the saw mill.
1871 Grampa Stewart buys bunk house and enlarges it into the Stewart Hotel. Rev. Francis Byrne holds church services in the dining room of the Stewart Hotel.
1872 St. Mark’s in the Wilderness built at the current site of the Evergreen cemetery (the first Episcopal church in Evergreen). Corner stone laid by Bishop Randall (first Bishop of Colorado territory). This church struggled to survive and was later traded to the Methodists in 1883 who moved it to main street.
1892 Dr. George Bancroft builds home as summer retreat (now part of the current church campus and used by EChO).
1893 Mary Neosha Williams holds lay services in a tent at Camp Neosha (now Hiwan Homestead museum).
1894 Douglas made minor Canon for St. John’s Cathedral by Dean Hart. He arrived sick, went to a sanitarium where he met Dr. Josepha Williams.
1896 Douglas marries Dr. Jo.
1897 Mary Neosha Williams buys Stewart Hotel and converts it into a small chapel. Old altar from St. Marks of the Wilderness installed in the chapel. The altar had been rescued by the Bancrofts when it was discarded by the Methodists after they moved the church to the current site of Little Bear. Douglas comes to Evergreen.
1897 First service held in St. Marks (Christmas Eve.) by Rev. Percival Hickman. 86 children with many adults in attendance. Douglas probably co-served.
1898 Wall removed in the Stewart Hotel to enlarge the chapel. First baptisms (John & Ellen Sherwin). Rev. Percival Hickman vicar (1898 - 1902).
1899 Chapel was dedicated under the name of “Mission of the Transfiguration” by Bishop Spalding. Charles Winfred Douglas is ordained. Mary Bancroft suggests the name “Mission of the Transfiguration”. “St. Mark’s” is retained for the building name though.
1900 Courses for Holy Orders and spiritual retreats held at the mission for the past three years. The beginnings of The Evergreen Conference. Participants stay in St. Marks.
1904 Thornton B. Rennell becomes vicar (1904-24). He was the cousin of Mary Neosha Williams and an ex-engineer. Adds heating system to the old hotel and extensive campus plumbing.
1906 Douglas trains Sisters of the Nativity at Fond du Lac in chant. He becomes their choir master (he held this position for 35 years). Was transferred to Fond du Lac diocese via letter of “dimissory” and didn’t return to Evergreen until 1934.
1907 “Summer Church School of Liturgical Music”. First formal Evergreen Conference session. Sisters of St. Mary present a “Roosevelt” pipe organ to Transfiguration, necessitating the re-configuring of St. Marks. Chancel re-floored and rood screen added.
1911 Bell Tower installed, designed by Rev. Renell and Dr. Josepha Douglas (wife of Canon Douglas). The structure was erected by Jock Spence and featured an iron cross from the Church of the Redeemer (NYC). Anne Evans donates the cast “The Entombment of Christ” which was placed in front of the Altar (from St. Clements Phil).
1913 Women’s Guild raise money to remodel east end of the old hotel for a Guild Hall. Several partitions removed, ceiling raised and a stage erected at one end of the room. Space now used for church services, civic events and conferences. Mary Bancroft donates Font in memory of her sister (Anna Chloe Bancroft).
1914 Mary Neosha Williams dies (mother of Dr. Jo).
1917 Bishop Johnson organizes Summer School for Clergy held in St. Marks and the parish house. First public library organized as a shelf in a grocery store most likely located north of the tavern on the Post (later to become St. Raphael). Later, the books with some additions were moved to the back of the church. Julia Douglas (Canon Douglas’ sister) organizes this library and becomes Evergreen’s first librarian.
1918 Dr. Jo has stone library erected behind the Mission. Julia Douglas moves into the cabin attached to the library and becomes the librarian. The stone library serves as Evergreen’s public library until the county built a larger one in 1974 on Rt 73.
1919 Dr. Jo donates a tract of land on the north side of Bear Creek for the erection of a conference center. Part of the tract was donated to the diocese.
1920-24 Three main buildings (Hart, Williams and the Meeting House) constructed for the Evergreen Conference on the north side of Bear Creek (known as the upper campus). Tunnel constructed for “necessary pipes” to the library and attached cabin where Julia and Mary Douglas Seamans reside.
1924 Whitney built for Mae Scotland Young (cousin of Dr. Jo) as a summer residence.
1925 Dr. Jo establishes annual trust fund for the Transfiguration campus. Bancroft property donated to the Evergreen Conference. Four conferences occur that year.
1926 Special conferences for women added to the curriculum.
1929-30 “Our Lady of the Hill Country” chapel dedicated by Canon Douglas (now the dining room of St. Raphael). St. Raphael’s Mission House established by the Sisters of St. Mary in Peekskill N.Y. as a summer retreat house.
1932 Ann Woodward named Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the Evergreen Conference. Stations of the Cross carved by Henry Herzman are hung in the church for Easter. Herzman also carved figures for the rood screen and later the scene of the Nativity on the door of the tabernacle.
1936 Julia Douglas dies. Volunteers Jane Kemble and Octavia Peyton continue her work in the stone library.
1938 Dr. Josepha Douglas dies. Camp Neosha (Hiwan) sold to Darst Buchanan. Canon Douglas gets Union Pacific RR to relinquish mineral rights. Douglas gives Sisters of St. Mary carved monk figures and altar used in his chapel at Camp Neosha.
1940 Anne Woodward marries Canon Douglas.
1941 Rev. Mordecai Lewis Marsh, Jr., arrives as a curate to Canon Douglas. Receives $75/month in summer and $90/month during the winter.
1943 New Hymnal developed by Canon Douglas completed. Fr. Marsh made vicar of the Mission.
1944 Canon Douglas dies. Conferences celebrates its 20th anniversary and continues under the direction of Anne Douglas.
1946 Evergreen Conference is incorporated.
1948 Anne Douglas gives property to the Mission for a vicarage. $4,000 spent on improvements to the Mission. Guild Hall and kitchen renovated, children’s room added, stone steps and retaining wall for the library added, summer living quarters added to St. Marks, heating plant in church and stoves added.
1949 Douglas property is divided (Conference, Mission, Convent, Personal).
1950 Deed for vicarage is turned over to Mission (Marsh House).
1951 Vicarage completed. Fr. Marsh and family in residence.
1954 Douglas Memorial Organ dedicated on the feast of the Transfiguration. Old Roosevelt organ reconditioned and moved to Conference Meeting House (later moved to a church back east when the conference moved to Winter Park).
1957 Mission gained parish status. Fr. Marsh becomes first rector of Church of the Transfiguration.
1959 Library moved to new location on Rt 73. Julia library reverts back to the Evergreen Conference.
1961 New Chapel of St. Joseph & Mary dedicated by Bishop Minnis for the Community of St. Mary. Chapel had been the house of Jock Spence and was moved to make room for the rerouting of Rt 74.
1962 Ground broken for new (current) Transfiguration church. Brooks Morris does stone work behind the altar. Hicks family does all the excavations, Richard Hedstrom architect.
1963 New church dedicated. First service held on Ash Wednesday.
1964 Six shows on Sunday afternoons featured as “The Evergreen Summer Festival of Fine Arts”, including the Royal Canadian Pipes and the Westminster Ballet, with processions through downtown Evergreen culminating in the Field Festival Eucharist on Conference Grounds. Fr. Marsh departs to become Archdeacon of the diocese, replaced by Charles Blakeslee. Rogation Day processions started.
1966 Anne Douglas purchases top of town firehouse and has it moved to current location of Douglas Hall. Known as “holy smoke”, it was used as a men’s dormitory. Clyde Dollar conducts historical architectural survey of St. Marks.
1968 Dedication of the church front doors, designed and built by Brooks Morris and Gordon Plume.
1971 Church women make banners for Transfiguration. Ten month long Centennial celebration occurs.
1973 Handbell Group established.
1979 Bell Tower rebuilt by Army Corps of Engineers. Designation of Historic District.
1980? Property ownership changed to state Douglas heirs own upper campus and Church of the Transfiguration own the lower campus.
1982 Upper campus deeded to Diocese.
1985 Fr. Blakeslee retires after serving Evergreen for 20 years. He and Anne continue to live in the rectory in Hiwan Hills. Diocese undertakes major renovation of both Hart and Williams houses in the upper campus.
1987 Sister Mary Paula, the last working sister of the community retires. Deed is transferred to Transfiguration. Rev. William MacMillan becomes chaplain of St. Raphael with wife Barbara in charge of the retreat house. Evergreen Christian Outreach housed in Whitney House.
1988 Fr. Bryan resigns to go to church in Vista, California. Fr. MacMillan assumes responsibility.
1989 Fr. Jack Stapleton becomes rector. Conference property purchased by Episcopal Renewal Ministries. Meeting House sold to the Evergreen Chorale. Evergreen Christian Outreach expands to Bancroft, old barn along with Whitney. Douglas Hall now being used as a parish hall.
1990 Fr. Charles Reischman becomes Director of Youth for Transfiguration.
1991 Fr. Blakeslee dies. Columbarium Project initiated.
1996 Ground broken for the Columbarium project.
1999-2005 St. Marks renovation with grants from History Colorado
2000 New Church plan started, later aborted.
2003 Main Church reconfiguration: Kitchen, class rooms, etc. Episcopal Day School of Evergreen established (EDSE). Janet Reznik founding director.
2009-12 “Church in peril” status made for Transfiguration. Removed by 2012.
2014 Bell Tower reconstruction (2nd)
Last update 04/26/2019