Edward S. Lyon and William Griffith arrived in the area now known as Lyons in 1880. The two men were permanent settlers who were seeking land. Lyon purchased 160 acres with the intention of raising cattle, but then discovered the potential for quarrying sandstone and limestone.
As more people were settling in the area, Lyon began to worry for the local youth. He had built the schoolhouse in 1881, but he felt that there was a need for a permanent pastor, “because the town has many saloons and the kids have to have some spiritual upbringing.” Reverend H. E. Thayer, a pastor from Longmont, began gathering a congregation, and a church was organized on March 8, 1889. On October 27, 1889, a meeting of selected laymen and ministers from surrounding Congregational Churches was held at the Lyons School House. On that day, the First Congregational Church of Lyons was officially established, with Reverend S. A. Williams from Los Angeles as the first official pastor. By the end of the first year, the church had 17 members, including A. P. Weaver, Mrs. Milton Tucker, Mr. and Mrs. T. J. Thorne, and Edward Raymond Thorne.
As the congregation grew, Williams, Thayer, and Reverend Henry Harris, who was brought from Michigan by Lyon, decided that the town required a permanent church building. Construction began in 1894 and was supported by the members of the church and town. Harris and Thayer led the project, with the assistance of Alex Chisholm, Charles P. Wilcox, and E. E. Norton.
Between 1895 and 1945, the turnover rate for pastors was high. Twenty-three pastors served the church during that time, with an average of about 18 months per pastor. This may have been due to the fact that these years encompassed the two World Wars as well as the Great Depression. Money for the pastors’ salary was difficult to collect. Between 1942 and 1945, there was no regular pastor. The church was held together by its members and laypeople, and supported by the Ladies Aid Society and the Sunday School. These two organizations operated without interruption, and played an important role in continuing the First Congregational Church of Lyons. The Ladies Aid Society provided financial aid to the church, while the Sunday School offered a religious education center.
Reverend D. I. Hammond served at the church in 1945, as well as 1948. He began improvements to the church by redecorating the sanctuary and painting the walls. Reverend W.O. Rogers took over in 1948 and had a new heating system installed.
Over the years, clergymen and members of the church continued to improve the building. The Old Stone Church is one of Lyons’ iconic historic buildings, and services are still held there every Sunday.
1. Pace, Alfred C. A History of the Lyons Sandstone Quarries, 2006. 1
2. Benedict, Diane Goode, Birth of a Quarry Town: 1800s Lyons, Colorado, 2002. 89
3. Weaver, Frank D. Old Stone Church. 5-6
4. Benedict, Diane Goode, Birth of a Quarry Town: 1800s Lyons, Colorado, 2002. 89
5. Weaver, Frank D. Old Stone Church. 7
7. Ibid. 8