Have you ever walked into one of Denver’s historic buildings and wondered what it looked like back in its heyday? You know, back before it was “updated” in the 50’s & 60’s. Here at the Highland Wedding Chapel, Denver’s newest same-sex wedding venue, we have been wondering the same thing about our space.
Originally built back in 1897, the Highland Wedding Chapel has undergone a couple of different “upgrades” in its 120 years. In 1922 a fellowship hall was added to the front of the building. Then in 1952, a Christian Education annex was constructed off the west side of the building. Sometime in the mid-1950’s the chapel was divided in half creating an additional gathering space known as the Community Room and a smaller chapel now affectionately known as the Highland Wedding Chapel. Possibly that same year, the beautiful Douglas fir hardwood floors were covered up with bright red carpet (most likely to match the red in the stain glass window) and “classy” white linoleum tiles. Man…I can only imagine how up with the times they felt. They must have been so proud of their upgrades.
Now here we are, 60 years later, removing all that fancy flooring hoping to bring the chapel back to its original glory. We weren’t sure what we would find under that red carpet and white tile. We hoped that the floor was in good condition and would be able to be restored. But we prepare ourselves for it to go one of three ways; 1) the floor is damaged beyond repair and needs to be completely replaced 2) there are some minor damages and only a few boards would need to be replaced, or 3) the floor is in good condition and can be restored without a hitch. We prayed for option 3. Earlier this year we had pulled up a small corner of the carpet and found that the hardwood underneath was still in good condition, so we had reason to hope. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t know the true condition of the floor until we removed all the pews and pulled up that carpet and tile.
On the morning of March 25th, we all arrived at the chapel ready to see what history had in store for us. What option would it be? Holding our breath we began pulling up the carpet. The watermarks on the subfloor made us nervous. We crossed our fingers, hoping that the water didn’t seep through. Then, as we started to pull up the plywood, the beautiful chestnut stain started to peak through. The more we removed the more amazing the floor looked. We just kept thinking, “ HOW COULD THEY HAVE COVERED THIS UP?”
A few hours later, after some pretty serious demolition, we discovered that a majority of the floor was still in wonderful condition. There are a few blemishes but we feel confident that the floor will be able to be sanded and restained.
If you are interested in reserving our newly restored chapel for your upcoming wedding please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.